What the press has to say about JACK
Do You Know JACK?
Hoi Polloi opens their own new theater in Clinton Hill
By Eliza Bent. Wednesday, Jul 4 2012
There are many reasons for a company to stay itinerant in the theater world. Why sign a lease on a building when fundraising and finding the right audiences already present enough challenges? But Alec Duffy, artistic director of the Obie-Award winning company Hoi Polloi, is bucking the nomadic trend with JACK, a new performance venue in Clinton Hill… read more HERE.
For Theater Artists, It’s a New ‘Jack’ City
By MICHELLE MANETTI, June 19, 2012
If you think that art should be hidden away or put on a distant pedestal than you don’t know JACK. Alec Duffy, who runs the theater company Hoi Polloi, has now co-created a performance space and art gallery on Waverly Avenue in hopes of making the arts more visible.
“Too often, I’ve created work that has no connection to the neighborhood around it, mainly because it’s tucked away in a performance space that you wouldn’t know exists if you walked by,” said Mr. Duffy, a veteran thespian who has been in numerous plays and directed the highly reviewed “Shadows.” Now, he’ll do it at JACK, which is named after his grandfather.
The first performance will be on July 12, with a revival of Bertolt Brecht’s “Baal.” Mr. Duffy and his crew of dancers, musicians and poets will turn the space into a club-like atmosphere and re-enact the play about a drunken and dissolute poet, and his descent in womanizing, brawling and murder. The walls of the theater space are covered entirely in aluminum foil — which Mr. Duffy said will create a “transformative experience” that resembles nothing else.
“Our mission is to create new audiences for live performance, and the way to not do that is to present the same work that people already don’t go see,” said Mr. Duffy. “We want to lure people in by confusing them.”
What it is: Experimental theater troupe Hoi Polloi set up shop in a converted Clinton Hill garage earlier this year. According to artistic director Alec Duffy, who lives in neighboring Prospect Heights, the area is ready for a cultural center. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen the neighborhood kind of explode with bars and restaurants, but no real increase in any kind of cultural activity or spaces,” he says. “We saw an opening for the kind of work we were doing. And it’s exciting to us as an opportunity to potentially bridge [the gap between] audiences.”
What to expect: Duffy sees the venue as more than just a place for theater performances. “I really wanted a space that asks the question, can we create a space that has experimental art in its center, but also one that serves the community at the same time?” To that end, the group will engage with its surrounding area by offering classes for adults, as well as a writing-and-performance program for teenagers called the Jack Teen Arts Council.
What’s happening: Hoi Polloi staged its first production at JACK, Bertolt Brecht’s Baal, over the summer. The group is still locking in details for its next show, but until then, the venue will host music performances, film nights and other events. —Amy Plitt
Find the original article here.