Temporary Occupancy To Premiere Digitally With The Philadelphia Fringe Festival


Temporary Occupancy, a new immersive digital creation, will receive a limited performance run with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Performances are from September 10 through the October 4.  Temporary Occupancy is accessed through a single website.  Tickets are $12 and available through the Fringe Arts Festival.  Tickets can be purchased at fringearts.com, and by phone at 215-413-1318. All performances are on the Die-Cast website die-castphilly.org.

Temporary Occupancy is a digital piece that opens up the privacy of the hotel room for public display. There is something so secluded in the very nature of a hotel room. It is a place where normal life is disrupted and a new temporary and isolated existence is suddenly born. The many lives that have existed in this room quietly accrue like ghosts. But yet, the vivid present is all that matters for the person who has taken temporary occupancy in a place that is designed to never be a home.

Temporary Occupancy uses a single hotel room as the location for a series of ten short pieces. Each explores a different moment of suspended life of each occupant. One features a couple on their first night back together. They set their relationship boundaries using almost an exclusively physical language. The story is experienced by the audience through the eye of a camera held and passed between them, dropping the audience deep within their physical relationship.  Another sees a man alone speaking haltingly to himself, doubling back and repeating sentences until it becomes apparent he is practicing giving a personal and emotional speech to a soon-to-arrive family member.  Another story features two men who are in the same place but not at the same time. A dance of duality that shows where these two men intersect and where they deviate. Each of the stories has its own style. While one may be heavily verbal, another will be much more stylized, with movement telling the story. While stylistically different, the lives shown are all connected by more than the physical room they share.

Temporary Occupancy was originally commissioned for a public works festival slated to be performed in person in a Miami Beach hotel. May 2020. When Covid-19 hit and live performances became impossible, the members of the Die-Cast team began to imagine the piece as a digital performance. Having already created a digital performance work called Mad Deep Dish for last year’s Fringe, as well as a digital piece called Phyre this past April, the company had some experience working remotely and creating digitally. Writing prompts and recorded physical explorations were shared on a private Facebook group in the early summer months with no certain plan as to exactly where the piece would end up.

Die-Cast Co-Founder Brenna Geffers received a call from an old friend who now runs a theatre company on the West Coast. Having seen Mad Deep Dish, artistic director and previous Philadelphia artist, Mat Wright, wanted to know if Die-Cast could create a digital piece for his audiences, as the closure of their physical theater building made in-person performance impossible. With that, Temporary Occupancy found its first home with the ArtsWest Playhouse.  Collaborating with artists both in Philadelphia and Seattle, Temporary Occupancy will premiere for Seattle audiences in August before opening for Philadelphia audiences in September.

“It has been a peculiar opportunity,” says Geffers “Connecting with friends and collaborators who live on the other side of the country, creating something together over zooms and sharing movement sequences self-recorded in small bedrooms, imagining an outcome that is hard to predict, it is all both completely strange but also thoroughly  normal.” As for whether or not the piece will ever make it to Miami as originally planned “Who can say,” says Geffers. “Who can say anything about our art form for sure? We are in a period of change, and that is the most important thing to focus on right now. Adapting and trying to make it better.”

Temporary Occupancy will debut in Seattle on August 19 and Philadelphia on September 10.  Temporary Occupancy was created by Die-Cast Co-founders Brenna Geffers and Thom Weaver as well as Anthony Crosby, Colleen Corcoran, Jahzeer Terrell, Keith Conallen, Steven Wright, David Strattan White, Andrew Carroll, Meg Rumsey-Lasersohn, Niya Colbert, Sean Lally, and Chris Sannino. All work and performances were created with strict shelter-in and social distancing guidelines in place.

The Philadelphia Fringe Festival is a 4-week long, city-wide celebration of innovation and creativity in contemporary performance. Each September, the Festival explodes into every nook and cranny of Philadelphia with more than 1,000 artistically daring performances, including national and international performances curated by FringeArts, and works that are produced by independent artists and promoted by FringeArts.

About The Company:

Die-Cast was founded by Brenna Geffers and Thom Weaver in order to explore new relationships between the visitor and space. Die-Cast incubates work within spaces that are often inaccessible to audiences or are not thought of as performative spaces.  We look to fill those spaces with the work and have the work shaped by the space in turn.

We have invited visitors into derelict ballrooms, historical mansions, and even schooner ships. We have created work for digital spaces, allowing audiences to choose their own adventures using chatbots and Buzzfeed quizzes. We have been nominated for the prestigious Harvey Award for Best Adaptation of A Comic Book alongside Hollywood Blockbusters. We are iconoclasts in our hearts and have never worried about the hero’s journey.

Die-Cast believes in the Collective Creation process.  Artists have fluid boundaries and all are authors of each piece in some way to ensure that every project is a unique expression of the exact bodies in the space. We believe that a deep sense of kinesthetic awareness and groupthink are essential to creating new work as a collective.  We seek a deeper collaboration in order to work towards a Total Theater dynamic.

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