Theater: SPITE AND MALICE (Part of Post Theatrical)

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by Tony Frankel on March 10, 2021

in Virtual


A collective of 13 theater companies and individual artists from 8 cities across the globe have joined forces for Post Theatrical, a festival of works that use mail as a theatrical medium. The only Los Angeles-based project, the interactive fantasy SPITE & MALICE, runs March 22 – April 30, 2021 and is helmed by local award-winning writer/director Chelsea Sutton. Tickets for all 13 shows in the Post Theatrical Festival range from Pay-What-You-Can to $100. Complete details on individual projects within the festival are compiled and continually updated at Post Theatrical. The festival launched February 1 and will run through June 30, 2021.

Described by the New York Times as the “most ambitious initiative yet,” Post Theatrical was conceived and coordinated by Pittsburgh’s RealTime Interventions, and features a diverse range of works that use the medium of mail in a broad range of ways. This offers a sense of tactile connection to far-flung audiences in this time of isolation and screen fatigue. This “national wave” of projects vary wildly in form, content, and duration — these experiences have been intentionally built for increased audience access and inclusion beyond that which is possible in typical live theater. The work aspires to connect human beings of disparate backgrounds despite (and in some ways, through) distance.

Among the events is Spite & Malice, a theatrical fantasy adventure and interactive fiction that utilizes playing cards, audio drama, found objects, 1800-numbers and mail-based interaction to lead you through a tangled correspondence between the King, the Queen, and Jack, who are racing to win the longest-running card game in the universe. A rogue ex-player is breaking the rules as she searches the stars for her disappeared grandmother (for more information and to watch the trailer, visit Slipped Beyond).

“I grew up playing cards with my grandmother, so cards really do represent a whole universe to me,” says Sutton. “In the aftermath of her death, and in the middle of this heavy year for all of us, the way I’ve chosen to explore grief and luck and connection is through a magical realism lens aimed at the things she’s left behind.”

“The goals of Post Theatrical are to support participating artists in making new work both during this time and in response to it,” says RealTime Interventions Artistic Directors Molly Rice and Rusty Thelin. “The mail service arose from a need to communicate, like theater; and like theater, it survived all manner of disease and disaster. This Spring, Post Theatrical  will be celebrating that resilience.”

Spite & Malice features performances by Lisa Sanaye Dring, Anil Margsahayam, Liana Mesaikou and Kate Weinberg, and visual art by Mauro Flores Jr., Matt G. Hill. Lori Meeker, and Kate Weinberg.

How It Works

When to Join:
Sign up by March 21 for a March 22 postmark.
Sign up by March 28 for a March 29 postmark.
Sign up by April 4 for an April 5 postmark.
After that, well, looks like you’ve had some bad luck, my friend.

What You’ll Need:
The experience requires a mailing address (residential, business, or PO Box), an email address, a phone (don’t worry, we won’t call you), and internet access.

Things To Do:
After signing up, please read and respond to your ticket confirmation email for details. In it is a questionnaire that will securely share your mailing address with The Rulemakers. Fill it out. Don’t be scared. All good stories have questions to be answered, otherwise they can’t move forward.

What Will Happen:
You will receive an envelope in the mail from The Rulemakers. Its contents will direct you to absorb a world, complete tasks, send messages, visit portions of the story online, make a few decisions (none right, none wrong) and call a number or two. After you mail an SASE back into the universe, The Rulemakers will send you one last correspondence, postmarked no later than April 30.

Tickets are available now through April 4 for $25, which includes shipping costs.

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