September 22 - October 8

at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

 Masks Required

Featuring

Our Black Death: Plagues, Turnips, and other Romantic Gestures

by Lindsay Carpenter

Directed by Marcus Kyd
The Bubonic Plague strikes and it’s the end of the world as we know it. As society is turned on its head during the mother of all pandemics, two village women take a chance on love. One takes on the mantle of alewife, and the other takes a job at the castle where the local (self-quarantining) nobleman is blindsided by his attraction to a peasant. All the while, their neighbor - a novice spellcaster - tries to  capture her heart’s desire. Wills clash in this fight for love under the ever-present threat of Death’s scythe. 
Masks required at the show. Thank you.
plaguemask

Buy Tickets Now

for Our Black Death by Lindsay Carpenter

Select number of tickets first, then click “checkout” to choose which show you want to see. (We know that’s a bit wonky; we didn’t design it. 😉)
Tickets are inexpensive because we like you. Enjoy!
chawMAP


Exploring Shakespeare: Julius Caesar

New Class with Esther

Sundays OR Mondays Sep 11 — Nov 21
7:00-9:30 pm EST 

Company member Esther Williamson is delighted to offer another round of her popular Exploring Shakespeare series. This time it’s Exploring Shakespeare: Julius Caesar. In this ten-week Zoom-based class, participants will read the play aloud together, stopping along the way to investigate all of the tools that Shakespeare uses to communicate. We’ll look at rhythm, rhetoric, and hidden clues for actors. We'll dig into themes, character development, and production considerations as well. This class is intended for all types of language enthusiasts. Actors, playwrights, directors, educators, and free-range word nerds are all welcome. Classes start September 11, 2022 and participants can choose between Sunday or Monday nights. More information here.

Where:  Everywhere (via Zoom)

For: Shakespeare lovers, actors, educators, public speakers, anyone who likes words
Register now


Taffety Punk & Mudroom Films present

The Surround

a short film by Emily Marquet & Erin Mitchell Nelson

The Surround
Directed by Emily Marquet, Movement directed by Erin Mitchell Nelson

Performances by Omar D. Cruz with Ben Ashworth, Sam Boo, De”R”ray “Ravo” Brown, Erika Brosnihan, Omar D. Cruz, Rafael A. Escobar, and Adrian Kamal. Choreography by Erin Mitchell Nelson with Omar D. Cruz. Music by Ryan Nelson. Director of Photography: Emily Marquet, 1st Assistant Camera: Jack Salmon, Gaffer: Colegrove Heller,Key Grip & Colorist: Peter Chun. A massive thank you to Andy and Amy Neal, and to Ben Ashworth and Finding a Line.


Taffety Punk & Mudroom Films present

Beauty Pill

"At a Loss"

Official Music Video

Beauty Pill's Sorry You're Here LP available on Bandcamp.
Order your copy today.

Also available at at discerning record stores
and on most streaming and digital platforms

"At a Loss"
Music by Beauty Pill
Directed by Emily Marquet
Movement directed by Erin Mitchell Nelson
Performances by Safi Harriott and Kathryn Zoerb

Based on choreography originally created by Paulina Guerrero, Lise Bruneau, and Liz Maestri, with additional choreography by Erin Mitchell Nelson, Safi Harriott, and Kathryn Zoerb.  Assistant Camera: Jack Salmon. Gaffer: Margaret Avery. Production Assistant: Linda Lombardi. Lighting Technicians: Chris Curtis, Katie McCreary, and Danny Cackley.  Shot on location at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop in Washington, DC.

030_press_suicide%20chat%20room

It's the two year anniversary of the last live performance of our original dance play

suicide.chat.room

and the simultaneous release of Beauty Pill's

Sorry You're Here

Photos by Teresa Castracane

scr jump
scr kimmy
scr down

The source material for the show was taken from years of posts from internet groups focusing on suicide.

Please know you are not alone.
If you are having thoughts of suicide please call
the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.
For more information on how to help yourself or a loved one please visit
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
or
https://afsp.org/find-support

Everyone in Beauty Pill and everyone in the Taffety Punk Theatre Company want you to live. Please live.

Director Marcus Kyd's liner notes to the LP, on why and how this show came to be:

This music is the heart of a show, a dance play called suicide.chat.room. It exists because of the hard work and generosity of many people.

We were alerted to the existence of internet suicide pacts and user groups in 2007. The news alarmed us. Our disquiet lead to questions. Our questions prompted us to work. At the time we could not accurately describe what we were making. We knew only that the subject was important to us. Almost everyone in the ensemble had lost someone they loved to suicide. Ultimately, we were driven to make this work to honor them.

As artists we often have to shine a light in dark places to find answers. We trusted we would find a story worth sharing—a story where music, movement, and text were intertwined. The goal always was to foster empathy and understanding through characterization, action, and catharsis. Maybe that is the goal of all theatre.

When we started the internet was a very different place, but it was full of just as much noise as now. We didn't need to create user accounts to see most of what we were looking for. The majority of the posts were just there, out in the open, surprisingly easy to find. And, because of the internet's propensity to throw nothing away, most of what we read was from the past. We found groups with short histories, groups with long histories, and groups that were forced to disband because they were overwhelmed by trolls. We found that no one used their real names and that they often posted via a means that blocked others from finding their location. In spite of such surface defenses, these virtual communities were above all very welcoming. Under the assumption that only those who had lost hope of ever having hope would enter such a group, the users had a profound openness to newcomers.

"Sorry you're here" was an honest way of welcoming someone in. It was a way to say, "You are not alone. And we will listen." If we were to reduce the motivations for making this show to one word it would be that.

Listen.

We wanted to amplify these words to help others listen.

We found words that were all too moving and even more that were wonderfully mundane. Our questions were endless, the answers elusive. 

What is this space that is not a space? What is a voice in this silent medium? What is community when the members of a community are essentially anonymous?

At some point we separated selected posts from the original threads and removed the user names. We then had only a randomly assembled set of fragments. We matched fragments with others and scenarios emerged. As actors, we looked for motives and obstacles. As dancers we looked for the desires that lead to physical impulses. As musicians, we looked for the unutterable: life moving through time. The text in the show is essentially unaltered, but the characters and events in the show emerged from these experiments. Beauty Pill created environments entirely out of music for us, and we moved through this haunting sonic landscape.

As the words merged with the dance, and these merged with the music, we finally had a collection of vignettes: like staged songs. Each of these segments explored a possible thread and each felt like it had a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sequencing these into a story seemed utterly impossible until...

We found that Kimberly Gilbert's character, lostbooks, had the makings of a through line: a newcomer who finds her way into the group and navigates her way through the trajectory of threads. lostbooks is at once a witness and a participant. It was important to us and to this story that she survive. Her last monologue in the show, the only text from the play on this record, is a coda that honors all she has learned and all she has witnessed. It ends with that most important human question "What do you want?"

In the show, just after this monologue, her last action is to greet a newcomer who says he has nothing left to live for. She says, simply and generously, "Welcome. Sorry you're here."

Thank you for listening.

Marcus Kyd
Artistic Director, Taffety Punk Theatre Co
Washington, DC

Beauty Pill, Sorry You're Here
Taffety Punk #64


suicide.chat.room  is a dance play conceived and directed by Marcus Kyd with choreography by Paulina Guerrero and Erin Mitchell Nelson, created with Elizabeth Abt, Tonya Beckman, Lise Bruneau, Chad Clark, Joel David Santner, Kimberly Gilbert, Gwen Grastorf, Paulina Guerrero, Micheline Heal, Paul Edward Hope, Emma Jaster, Liz Maestri, Erin Mitchell Nelson, and Matthew R. Wilson, and produced by Taffety Punk Theatre Company, 2010, 2012, and 2020.

Music written and produced by Beauty Pill founder (and Taffety Punk company member) Chad Clark, arranged/performed by Beauty Pill (Basla Andolsun, Chad Clark, Jean Cook, Drew Doucette, Devin Ocampo).

Special thanks to Caroline Borolla, Jason Aufdem-Brinke, Omar Cruz, Dischord Records, Josh Taylor, Ellen Houseknecht, Scott Hammar, Chris Curtis, Kelsey Mesa, Daniel Flint, Megan Rippey, Matt Tolf, Seth Rose, Sofia Scanlan, Ryan Carroll Nelson, Paola Rodriguez, the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, the Mead Theatre Lab program at Flashpoint, Sarah Coleman, Emma Fisher, Jenny McConnell Frederick, Mark Ramont, Gregg Henry, Christopher Marino, Maia DeSanti, Laura Gamse, Mindy Woodhead, Sean Peoples, David Polk, Danisha Crosby, Blake Robison, Round House Theatre Company, Karen Bilotti, Andrea Locke, Mehdi Raoufi, The Capitol Hill Community Foundation, the Cafritz Foundation, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Jill Strachan, Kent Gay, Julia Strachan, Gary Logan, Amanda Barber, Jacob Janssen, Kris Swanson, Catherine Ichniowski, Liane Kerry, Josh Chapman, Lexa Rio, Bandcamp, and the good folks at Jimmy T's.

We have some social-distance friendly material, like this new Beauty Pill record which we released just before the pandemic began. Available on all media, but we prefer bandcamp, because the artists actually get paid. Check it out

Beauty Pill's
"Sorry You're Here"

Order Now

Digital or Vinyl, or both!  
Available on bandcamp
and all digital and streaming platforms
We released Beauty Pill's score in conjunction with the ten year anniversary performance of our original dance play suicide.chat.room. Order yours today.
Art Vinyl2

"Sorry You’re Here is that rare record that doesn’t merely live up to unrealistic expectations, but in its best moments, exceeds them."
—Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK

"The record resists concise description, every song as eclectic as it is evocative, beauty brushing against brutality, the classical and the cutting-edge intertwined in infinite variations. "
—M. L. Rio, The Vinyl District

"Chad Clark reveals once again why he's one of the best composers working in DC, if not America, at the moment."
—Glenn Griffith, A Pessimest Is Never Disappointed

Company members Chad Clark and Erin Mitchell Nelson are featured on Bandcamp Daily. Read and listen here.

A comprehensive and thorough look at their work throughout the pandemic, Erin and Chad discuss Beauty Pill’s creative drive and last year’s three releases, including the score for Taffety Punk's dance play suicide.chat.room: Sorry You’re Here.

Company members Erin and chad featured on Bandcamp Daily April 7, 2021


There's a new way to give to the Punks!

Become a patron of the arts by joining our Patreon Community. Set up a monthly gift to keep these punks rocking throughout the year.

You can customize the amount
to any size you like —
from $5 to $∞.

As a monthly donor you will enjoy special messages from the punks, behind the scenes updates, and so much more. 

Please enjoy the video below.

This is a project we come back to from time to time. And it is a great preview for what is to come. Stay with us. There will be more and more soon.

Tulips

by Sylvia Plath

Read by Lise Bruneau
Choreography by Erin Mitchell Nelson
Music and sound by Marcus Kyd
Directed by Joel David Santner

You can always help.

Contribute today to keep these punks rockin'.

"The most vital of the city's small troupes."

—The Washington Post

A toast, from us to you

A year and a half ago, the cancellations started. The doors of theatres closed. Artists were sent home. Not one of us expected the doors would be shut this long.

We just want to offer this toast to you all: for your glorious patience, your diligence, your support, and your health.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Stay safe. Wear your mask. Get vaccinated when you can. We can't wait to see you again.


Taffety Punk's company members act, dance, and make music. Sometimes we do all three at once. 

Anti-racism

The American theatre has a long history of racism and white supremacy. That sucks. Taffety Punk is inspired by the punk rock ethics of anti-authoritarianism, anti-consumerism, feminism, collective organization, and DIY producing. Anti-racism should always have been on that list. We will rebel against white supremacy in the theatre, in the country, and in ourselves by maintaining a company that reflects and supports the community we live in. Every decision we make, about the stories we tell, the artists we champion, our leadership, and our methods, will be guided by the question: “Is it radically inclusive?”

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Taffety Punk Theatre Company

PO Box 15392 Washington, DC 20003 • 202.873.5330 •


Theatre in Residence at the

Capitol Hill Arts Workshop

A Place where the Arts Connect and Transform People

545 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003




© Taffety Punk Theatre Company
Logo by Ryan Nelson