Tiny Dynamite announces a socially-distanced season, including a “Theater-By-Mail Experience”

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
Feature photo by Sara Outing

Tiny Dynamite, Philadelphia’s home of the beloved theater series A Play, a Pie, and a Pint, is thrilled to announce that we have pivoted to socially-distanced content with a season of A Play, a Pie, and a Pint “In Place.” The all-original season begins with the world premiere of A Breath for Us, a play-by-mail conceived by playwright Jarrett McCreary and designer Sara Outing. 

A Breath for Us is a unique storytelling experience for this moment, told through six packages sent to audiences in the mail. Set in an alternative timeline, A Breath for Us unfolds the relationship of two young Black women, Josie and Ruthy, during the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1960s. Part alternate history, part love story and, throughout, a celebration of Black joy in tumultuous times, A Breath for Us is a deeply moving experience that invites you to get lost in its world.

Over the course of six mailed packages, audiences are invited into Ruth’s world as she becomes a key figure in establishing Kimunmoto, a free Black nation-state within the United States. In each of these packages, there is a letter written by McCreary and hand-fabricated by Outing to Ruth’s best friend Josie, as well as artifacts from the world in which Ruth is writing: literature from the Hundred and One, buttons with activist slogans, newspaper clippings, trinkets from Ruth and Josie’s childhood, and decoders that reveal secret messages. 

In June 2020, Tiny Dynamite commissioned Outing to create work in response to the pandemic and to the urgency of the summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. Tiny Dynamite’s objective was threefold: to respond to this unprecedented historical moment, to create income and creative opportunities for artists who excite us, and to experiment with new artistic forms and collaborative structures. The company was interested in decentralizing the director in theatrical world-building; what would be the result, they wondered, if they empowered a designer to take the lead in envisioning a theater piece? 

Tiny Dynamite asked Outing, a longtime collaborator, to create objects that expressed her artistic impulses of the moment. Sara created objects from an alternate timeline she imagined for Black Americans, one in which Fred Hampton, one of the most famous leaders of the Black Panthers, was not assassinated by police in 1969. Over the summer, Sara had conversations with Philadelphia playwrights and chose Jarrett McCreary to respond to her objects with text. Their shared creation, A Breath for Us, is a play-by-mail – a story told in six packages of letters and mementos between two young Black women, during the tumult of the late 1960s. 

“Theatremakers have a chance right now — everyone has a chance — to untether from normalcy,” adds Outing.  “Despite being confined at home, the internet has expanded our vision. The physical boundaries tying us to a specific venue, or audience, or network of influence, have been nearly erased. We turn instead to the social and moral currents that have always influenced our lives and our work, and that now fully define it. I’m riding that current into whatever comes next.”

Its first mailing to 50 participants, beginning at the end of February, immediately SOLD OUT. Given audience demand, Tiny Dynamite has committed to a second mailing, beginning JUNE 2021 (June 16th to July 16th).  Tickets (starting at $40) are available on the website: tinydynamite.org

Sara Outing is the designer behind Tiny Dynamite’s delightful and surprising props and sets for many of our shows, including The Art of Swimming and The Complete Works of Jane Austen, Abridged and the 2016 festival season. Sara’s work has also been seen at Theatre Horizon, Lantern Theater Company, Bearded Ladies Cabaret, HERE Arts Center NYC, Orbiter 3, 1812, and Act 2 Playhouse. Outing is also a puppet designer and puppeteer, who recently completed a residency with the Black Puppeteer Empowerment Grantee Cohort at Puppet Showplace Theatre.

Jarrett McCreary is playwright and arts educator in the Philadelphia theater community. Journeying through almost every section of theater, from acting to administration, Jarrett has been well versed in what works best for a collective of creators in and out of a script. Jarrett was a part of the 2018/2020 member of the Interact Core Playwrights. His play “The Children of Edgar and Nina” also saw its first professional production with The Neighborhood Theater in Chicago IL, February 2020. His stories are black, they are queer, they are magical, and they are vulnerable, and the hope is to use these plays to dive deep into conversations about human connection.


A PLAY BY PHONE: We Can’t Wait
On demand via phone March 14 – March 20, 2021
By Paige Zubel
A world premiere, commissioned by Tiny Dynamite
FREE; suggested donation $15; reservations available at tinydynamite.org
Static, a far-off voice; it is a long distance call—Jae, reaching you from the other end of the universe. Jae has a series of intergalactic transmissions to share, from different pockets of the galaxy: the experiences of lives and cultures in a time of isolation. And Jae has a challenge for you: can you make a beacon to bring us all back together? We Can’t Wait is a pre-recorded phone adventure for one audience member. You’ll choose the order in which you experience the story, while following guidelines to craft a unique artifact all your own. Perfect for teens and pre-teens, fans of fantasy and sci-fi, crafty types, and folks looking to flex their creativity at home.

A PLAY BY MAIL: Georgiana Recovered in Time
First mailing sent on April 29, 2021
By Natalia de la Torre and Meghan Winch
A world premiere, commissioned by Tiny Dynamite
$60; tickets available at tinydynamite.org
Georgiana Darcy was refined and polite – or tried to be, anyway. A thwarted elopement threatened to tame her wild heart, but all the good breeding in the world can only go so far. Join us for a handcrafted story of love, distance, and what it means to bridge the two – all set in the world of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. Over the course of 10 mailings, you’ll be immersed in two love stories, get a peek into what comes after the novel for your favorite characters, and receive handcrafted treasures – including some for you to make yourself!

May 12 – May 16, 2021
By Ian August
Directed by Kathryn MacMillan
Featuring Jessica Bedford, Kimberly Fairbanks, and Charlotte Northeast
Honorary Producer Rebecca Bradbeer
A world premiere, commissioned by Tiny Dynamite
Streaming live via Zoom
FREE; suggested donation $25; reservations available at tinydynamite.org
A comedy about trust, friendships, and the perils of planning a wedding shower. Created for this moment, Social Distances puts you (and the other audience members) onscreen in a Zoom happy hour alongside Elaine, Jana, and Sally, three friends in their 40s trying to navigate the challenges of their online and in-person relationships. The play splits up the audience into smaller groups for private confessionals from each character, and with 27 possible paths through the story, no two audience experiences will be exactly the same!

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