Co-Productions with Kitchen Dog Theater

Co-Productions with Kitchen Dog Theater

Cry Havoc Theater Company and Kitchen Dog Theater will co-present CHTC's Shots Fired with a new work this summer.

The collaboration to bring these two shows to audiences this summer marks the first official partnership between Cry Havoc and Kitchen Dog. “When I founded Cry Havoc Theater in 2014, Kitchen Dog was the first theater I approached about a possible collaboration,” said Richards Bim. “I’m a huge fan of the stories they tell, the quality of their productions, and their commitment to cultivating new voices in the theater. I’m honored and grateful for their partnership and commitment to bring Shots Fired back and for their invaluable support in the development of The Great American Sideshow.”

“Given both of our companies’ proclivities for new work and timely, provocative subject matter, this partnership seemed like a natural fit to me”, says Co-Artistic Director Tina Parker. “I was very moved by the performance of Shots Fired I saw this past winter and it is my sincere hope that KDT can help increase visibility for this amazing young company.”

Student Actors Take On The July Shooting of Five Dallas Police Officers

Student Actors Take On The July Shooting of Five Dallas Police Officers

Now, Cry Havoc Theater works with self-generated plays.

Primarily, yes.

Other theaters use that procedure — locally, for instance, Cara Mia Theatre has done it. But you’re the only company that regularly does this with teenage students. So who are these students and how do you get them to cooperate?

Well, they actually enjoy the creation process. They get more input than if they were just handed a script. So we hold auditions at various high schools around Dallas. We also hold public auditions. And generally, they are active in their theater programs at their schools. And so they are excited to do something that they can’t do in school.

Fired Up

Fired Up

The teen ensemble of Cry Havoc Theater Company creates the compelling ensemble piece Shots Fired, about the Dallas police shootings and responding through art.

I won’t spoil the clever way in which it is staged at the Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, but let’s just say that it’s interactive with the audience, but not obtrusive. They use their interviews to get at big issues brought up by the shootings: Black Lives Matter, the clear majority of good cops vs. the much smaller number of bad ones, how the gunman was killed with the bomb, and what it means to rage against the machine. Remember, just days before the tragedy there were police shootings of black men in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, which sparked the Dallas demonstration.

Their Shot

Their Shot

Mara Richards Bim, director of Cry Havoc Theater Company's Shots Fired, on how the teen ensemble interviewed officers, protesters and others after the July 7 Dallas police shootings.

Mara Richards Bim, founder and artistic director of Cry Havoc Theater Company, is committed to providing talented young Dallas teenagers a voice on the stage. Working with young writers and actors, the company produced last year’s fascinating devised theater piece, Shut Up and Listen, as well as Good Kids, a critically applauded work showcased at the Festival of Independent Theatres.

Now Bim and co-director Ruben Carrazana have created a new work based on the violent outcome of a July 7, 2016, peaceful protest rally in Dallas in response to recent police shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers. An African-American Army Reserve veteran ambushed police officers assigned to the rally, killing five and wounding nine officers.

TheaterJones talked with Bim about the process of making Shots Fired, a response based on interviews conducted in the fall of 2016 by local teenagers.

Cry Havoc Named One of the Best New Theaters

Cry Havoc Named One of the Best New Theaters

Cry Havoc Theatre, which had an excellent collaborative shows with youth actors, Shut Up and Listen, and one of the best productions in the Festival of Independent Theatres with Naomi Iizuka’s Good Kids. This week they offer another collaborative work, Shots Fired, about the Dallas police shootings.

For Shots Fired, Teens Conducted Interviews About July Police Shootings

For Shots Fired, Teens Conducted Interviews About July Police Shootings

July 7, 2016, is a day North Texans will always remember. During a peaceful protest against recent police shootings that left black men dead in Louisiana and Minnesota, a heavily armed man opened fired on police officers working the protest in downtown Dallas. Five officers were killed. Nine were injured. Several civilians were wounded in the attack.

Cry Havoc Theater Company, a relatively new company that focuses on giving teenagers a voice, was in rehearsals for their summer Festival of Independent Theaters show when the attacks happened. The teens were overwhelmed by the story and the shootings. Cry Havoc artistic director Mara Richards Bim decided then that their next show would be a devised piece looking at race relations in Dallas.

Theater in the Raw: Mara Richards Bim at Cry Havoc Theater Company

Theater in the Raw: Mara Richards Bim at Cry Havoc Theater Company

In many of your projects at Cry Havoc, you rely on the teenagers you work with to develop their personal stories into theater, have you found this comes natural to them?

Part of the reason I created Cry Havoc was so that teenagers would have a voice in the issues that affect their lives. In giving them creative space to express themselves freely, yes, their personal stories and the development of those stories have come naturally. Some are better writers than others, but all welcome being asked how they feel about and see the world. In pieces where we’re devising rather than relying on an existing script, we spend time experimenting, writing and editing. Sometimes, one character’s monologue the audience hears in the final product is a compilation of what several teens have written. Just like anything in life, the more we work with them in this way, the better their writing becomes and the easier it is for them to go out on a limb and experiment in the creation of new work.

FIT Review: Good Kids

FIT Review: Good Kids

Cry Havoc Theatre uses teen actors for a fantastic production of Naomi Iizuka's Good Kids, about rape culture, at the Festival of Independent Theatres.

In 2012, at a high school party in Steubenville, Ohio, a drunk girl was raped by several jocks. It was filmed on a cellphone, posted across social media and watched—but not reported—by many teenagers, male and female.

That incident is dramatized by Naomi Iizuka in Good Kids, which Cry Havoc Theatre produces for its first entry in the Festival of Independent Theatres, directed by Shelby-Allison Hibbs (who, for disclouse purposes, writes a column about new work for TheaterJones).

Iizuka deftly mixes documentary and fiction, with narration to the audience and everyday interactions between the students leading up to, and the aftermath of, the crime. “We don’t just know the truth, we see it unfold,” one student says about watching it on cellphones, a statement that also captures the essence of the storytelling style.