Elevate 2014: Abby Joslin’s bringing theater to MARTA
In my ideal world, every public place should be an art space.’
Aerialist Abby Joslin’s the type of creative who doesn’t mind being in a room with all of the lights turned off. Joslin explores the concept of light and darkness in her forthcoming Elevate 2014 performance, Hours of the Darkest Night. While some of the acts were previously performed during this year’s Atlanta Fringe Festival, Joslin expanded on her original show, make it into a ground and aerial performance that will take over the amphitheater atop Five Points MARTA station. “We did it surrounding the Winter Solstice so it’s going to be spooky and dark,” Joslin says.
- Abby Joslin
- DAY ‘N’ NITE: Performers from Abby Joslin’s Hours of the Darkest Night will take over the Five Points MARTA station.
Following the same improv concept as the Fringe Festival, the Hours of the Darkest Night leaves some of the choreography to the creativity of the performers, making each performance different. Despite her disappointment at not being able to play with fire this time around, Joslin talks to Creative Loafing about the challenges of putting an improv show together, working with Elevate, and performing in new places.
Tell me a bit more about the show and what’s going be going on when you guys perform at Elevate.
We originally performed the show back at the Atlanta Fringe Festival in June. What we are doing this time around is adapting what we did at the festival and expanding it. The show explores the disappearance of light from the world and the unknown in general. What if the night just goes on forever and daylight never returns? And yet, without that long night and lacking that context, how can we properly appreciate the light? They are kind of important and make us human in a lot of ways. That’s the show, in a nutshell. We are putting together a mixture of ground and aerial performances for this. Sadly, we are not allowed to play with fire so there will be no fire. I was pretty sad about that. We are not 100 percent sure yet, but we are creating a giant spider web out of ropes so we can climb around it and play with it as part of the performance.
With people in the air and on the ground, how will the performers interact throughout the show?
We will be bringing a portable aerial rig. Assuming that we will have the spiderweb installation that I mentioned before, we’ll be able to use that as an aerial structure and also use the rig for some aerials as well.
The performance will be in a MARTA station, not a stage. How do you feel about that?
I think it’s going to be fun. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we will not have any lightning because we are going to be on a gigantic metal rig. But, I’ve done this with other places Downtown and we have had really good experiences with performers and we are working with musicians as well. We aren’t focused on having highly structured choreography for each second of the show.That’s the best thing about this type of production, it’s very collaborative and also this is something performers are creating together. We have a storyline and what we want to happen, but it’s up to the people making it happen. The musicians are very important to this. We are lucky enough to have fantastic musicians. We are not sure exactly which ones will be at Elevate yet because of the nature of improv, whoever is available will show up. So, it’s the same improv concept as the Fringe Festival. We will look into things we want to explore and we’ll play around with it ahead of time too. That was one of the fun things about doing the Fringe show is that every show we did over five days was different, using different music. The performers will show up and we know for the most part about the musicians, it’s just a question about whether they suddenly become unavailable or something happens. I’m not concerned about people not showing up to make it happen.
How was working with Elevate?
I’ve been constantly amazed by depth of palate that we have in the art community. We actually do have an amazing amount of talented artists and performers and people that are really quietly making a pretty huge difference in their community. To me, that’s one of the best things about doing Elevate. It gives the chance for those people to say “Look, here’s what I made” or “come get involved in the Atlanta arts scene.” There are so many opportunities and it’s really exciting to get to do whatever I was working on and go to a different part of town and do performances in places that you don’t necessarily think as art places. In my ideal world, every public place should be an art space.
Hours of the Darkest Night. Wed., Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. Five Points MARTA station amphitheater, 30 Alabama St. S.W. www.elevateatlantaart.com.