About the Nine
FAQ: Who is The Nine?
No one, actually. I'll admit, this is a trick FAQ, but it's important nonetheless. I can't qualify who The Nine is any more than I can qualify who subUrbia is, because The Nine is an artistic product, not an artistic organization. Part One: subUrbia is exactly how is sounds, the first part of The Nine; not the first show produced by The Nine.
This question is important because it plays into what The Nine is all about: theatre that is experimental, temporary, and free (that's detailed a couple of questions down, you'll get there). The Nine is not only about putting up nine productions that meet these criteria, it is also about meeting those criteria as a total work as well. Look at it as theatre's equivalent to a mini-series without the narrative throughline if need be.
As you move forward into reading about and attending The Nine, I ask you to keep one thing in mind. With each part, I will be working under the assumption that our audience is willing to look at one or more aspects of the theatregoing experience from a different perspective. Allow that same assumption to guide your approach to The Nine as a product in its entirety: forget everything you know about seasons and subscriptions and boards of directors and accept that you are watching a canvas be painted one section at a time. And when that one canvas is full, we will all, artist and audience alike, turn and walk away -- together, but leaving the canvas behind to slowly fade on its own time.
If you feel like you're getting screwed here and absolutely need an answer, the best question would be "Who created The Nine?", and, in terms of the project as a whole, that would be me -- Bries Vannon. Who am I and What makes me so damn important? Nothing really, I'm just the guy silly enough to put this on; but if you're having trust issues just shoot me an e-mail and I can certainly send a bio your way or drop some names. But I'm not going to waste that space here. The Nine is where the interesting stuff is at.
FAQ: What is The Nine?
The Nine is a nine-play theatrical cycle that will take place over the next several years. A mix of world premieres and established work, The Nine will approach individual aspects of how theatre is commonly made and viewed and bend them, break them, turn them inside out and then put them back together again.
FAQ: Yeah, but outside all that artistic bullcrap, what is The Nine?
Answer (in three parts):
1) It's experimental. At its heart, The Nine is an experimental project. Now, does that mean hippy-dippy performance art style nonsense? Maybe once in a great while, but we hope not. What it really means is that there are always new ways to approach problems, and we'll try to find some, whether that is an immersive 'reverse round' approach to staging (subUrbia), sound and image play in foreign language theatre (Caesar Antichrist), or bold new cuttings of well-known favorites (Romeo & Juliet). We'll start off easy and work our way towards the more 'out there' ideas, so hop in on the ground floor. You can never be too early, but you can certainly be too late, because:
2) It's temporary. Theatre is a temporary art form -- no show is the same, and once the run closes, it's gone for good. With The Nine, we're all about temporary. First of all, there are only nine shows. Unlike a subscription or season based company model, this has a very definitive starting and ending point. The Nine is not self-sustaining, nor does it have a long future. On opening night of Part One, The Nine will begin. On closing night of Part Nine, The Nine will end. And that's that -- everyone continues to go about their business, but only those who took part in The Nine (both artists and audiences) will ever be able to share that limited experience. Even further, each part of The Nine is limited to a nine-show run with a limited seating capacity. There will be no extended runs, no standing room only, no pulling in chairs for the waiting list. So make your reservations early, 'cause this shit is red hot and going fast, especially considering:
3) It's free. Yeah. It's free. Every seat. Every show. No suggested donation, no guilt trip, no pay-what-you-can, no pay-what-you-want. Freaking free. If you desperately want to give us money, we will accept donations for future productions, but there's no possible way to pay us for the show that you are seeing. Why? For the most part, it's because we believe in the free exchange of ideas. Art as a business model can still produce some fine work; we have no interest in launching into an anti-commerce screed. But this project is an experiment (see #1) in a purely artistic model. The Nine is not about selling tickets or recouping losses or attracting producers. The Nine is about putting up really exciting, really imaginative, and really good fucking work and then sharing it with you. And sharing is free.
Wanna know more? Ask Bries at TheNineChicago@gmail.com