Alley 38 is an outdoor performance during which the audience walks to different locations within a four-block radius. The performance takes place throughout the corridor the city titled “Alley 38” on their planning maps. Led in small groups to spaces within and around Alley 38, audiences experience performances about place and identity while in the “natural” environment of an urban landscape.
Directed by Erika Wilhite and Joseph Fletcher
|Arianne Ellison||Justine Cunningham||Kathy McGregor|
|Jordan Scott||Bill Rodgers||Caden Worley|
|Tobias Wray||Cassie Self||Erika Wilhite|
|Joseph Fletcher||Emily Bohannon||Jonathan Perrodin|
A special thank you to: Walton Arts Center, Lisa Mabrey, Carolyn Guinzio, Ozark Natural Foods, Rodney Wilhite, Josh Tillotson, Sabine Schmidt, Morgan Hicks, Jenny Grigsby, Annie MacCumber, Gina and Richard Berquist, Sonia Davis Gutierrez, Len Williams, John Haque, Sharon Gieb, Julie McQuade, John Elderidge, Washington County, and the City of Fayetteville.
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“A fantastic and memorable performance tonight, theatre like we’ve never experienced it. We all loved it.”
“I was transported last night. Thank you so much for being in this area! Looking forward to your next production very very much!”
” x 1000. Phenomenal.”
“Hey! Alley 38 was incredible! I was mesmerized. Thank you for that adventure!!”
“Congratulations and thank you everyone who helped make Alley 38 a magical place for 7 nights. You invited folks like me to pick up our suitcases and follow you through the streets and by-ways, stairwells and porches of life. All the while you took spaces and filled them with gestures and words, stories and poetry, music and imagery, moments of the absurd and the sublime. And in doing so you made them places of laughter and learning, entertainment and emotion. You reminded us life sometimes frees us from boxes, sometimes it gives us language and love and sometimes it takes from us memory or freedom or family or friends. But you also showed us that if we look closely at the moments and the people that come in the betwixt and between of our existence that maybe, just maybe, amongst the baggage we carry with us, we might find sacred treasures worth keeping and that help us move on.”
“We have a brilliant experimental theatre happening in our area right under our noses. I encourage you to expand your understanding of art beyond the paintings on your wall or the music you listen to. I urge you to seek out and support The Artist’s Laboratory Theatre. These beautiful people work their tails off so that YOU can walk away with an experience, a thought, or a better understanding of something much larger than yourself. It’s sometimes a strange thing to wrap your head around or to understand in the moment, but we can all agree that you cannot leave without it staying with you. Try it. Go see Alley 38
before it’s gone.”
“Incredible night… so excited to see this level of experimentation happening here in Fayetteville.”
“Dear Erika, Cast and Crew,
Thank you for an enlightening theatrical experience. I was reminded that all theatre is about a journey. A journey you take with an audience guided by a slew of people behind the scenes from the creative sound, set and light designers to the actors and director who have a story to deliver. “I chose to get caught up in the details” as I watched my group of theatre goers trustingly follow their actor (I really loved the way everyone moved when our lead actor moved away from a space that had become a place for us) I was caught staring at the way ivy had twisted around a drainpipe in the alley, an odd shaped oil spill, or the way peeling paint feels. The Details became part of the show. Kaspar taught me to not just notice the mundane but embracingly analyze it. More than just making the insignificant…significant, but finding the rhythm of art around us that we take for granted maybe.
As I carried my baggage with me like everyone else I forgot where I was, but there was a feeling of comfort also. I was a willing
participant in a very natural artistic production.
I was born in Fayetteville with one departure in the 80’s to pursue acting in Los Angeles. Fayetteville has always been home, and respect was paid. A realistic set because the walls of this production were my own town. Cars and sirens usually a nuisance to theatre created ambience and reminded me of the outside world. Life is Theatre, Theatre is Art and Art saves lives. Thanks for allowing me to explore my heart and other’s place in it. I applaud your courage and choreography of images.”
‘Alley 38’ A Fascinating Stroll Into Heart
by Becca Kathryn Martin Brown
It is almost certainly the strangest walking tour you’ll ever take. Along the way, you’ll visit a garage, an alley and an old porch.
You’ll sit in camp chairs, folding chairs, bean bags and on steps. You’ll climb a parking ramp, learn a language, chase a runner and mourn the dead.
And you’ll do it all in “Alley 38,” an area on a downtown Fayetteville map and an existential theatrical production by Erika Wilhite’s Artist’s Laboratory Theatre. Don’t get hung up in the details — or do. It’s up to you.
If you choose the simpler path, you’ll follow a “tour guide” to five locations, where you’ll meet over half a dozen interesting characters: Myrtle (Kathy McGregor), a small-town journalist who writes of the mundane comings and goings that make a place a community; Len (Bill Rogers), a survivor of the nation’s most toxic community, Picher, Okla.; two of the young but perhaps not innocent inhabitants of Hotel Berlin (Arianne Ellison and Jordan Scott); and you’ll indulge in the morbid humor of what might be a post-funeral dinner (with actors Erika Wilhite, Justin Cunningham and Tobias Wray).
Your guide will be either Kaspar Hauser, based on the true story of “the boy in the box,” a character beautifully portrayed by Caden Worley, or the Runner, who managed her seizures by running (played by Cassie Self).
We were escorted by Kaspar Hauser, a poignant choice for me as the mother of a nonverbal child. Kaspar takes playgoers to his box, where life was a series of meaningless repetition, but along the way, he learns the magic of words, a joyous breakthrough that calls attention to the pleasure that can be found in the simplest things, like a leaf. If you choose the more complicated path, you can consider how his lessons might apply to your life and ponder what’s in the baggage you carry with you.
I loved every scene and, because of the place I’m in in my life, found each a little painful. Len talked about simpler times — riding bikes, playing cards, gathering in the kitchen — that seem to be gone forever. “It’s a very empty feeling” to see your home vanish, he said, “like you’re being erased from time. You can’t put your emotional arms around it.”
Myrtle too spoke of simpler times — church attendance, an Easter bonnet contest, the arrival of a grandson on a visit from college and the purchase of a new vacuum. But within her newspaper columns were her own losses — a death in the family, her illness.
And Dia de los Muertos, although an absurdist dinner with the Mad Hatter and Mary Poppins as conceived by Tim Burton, pointed out that “funerals are never for the dead.” They’re celebrations of life, yes, but when they’re over, survivors must cope with the reality of death. (Watch for a tribute to a lost member of the arts community, missed dearly by those involved in this production.)
The premise of “Alley 38” is place, but more accurately, I think it’s a chance to consider what makes a home. The answer, in the final gathering atop the old Hilton parking garage, seems to be love.