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‘Some Assembly Required’ opens, closes, and is reborn at Attack Theatre

Audiences for the performances at Attack Theatre Studios on Friday the 3rd and at the Silver Eye Center for Photography on Saturday the 4th each had their own unique experience with the Some Assembly Required.


Possibilities thrive when ideas can both flow and have a place to land. Attack Theatre again offers a series of experiences called Some Assembly Required. It’s truly something for everyone, but it is mainly a treat for adults who may need respite from their world of work through creative exploration.

Of course, children do this constantly with imaginative play and endless “pretend adventures.” On Friday evening at Attack Theatre’s studio, all the pieces are ready for the audience to participate in a creative journey with a cast of dancers and a cellist. The outcome of each performance is unique and won’t be recreated. And Attack’s co-founders and artistic directors Michele de la Reza and Peter Kope have notably led acclaimed Some Assembly Required “happenings” in Pittsburgh, New York, Monaco, and France. Read more

The company demonstrated how dance and visual prompts transcend language or cultural differences on Friday evening.

At the Attack Studio, audience members saw the open space lined with remnants of set pieces from past dance productions. How better to describe what happens when, as Attack puts it, “a collision of the planned and spontaneous” occurs?

Kope shares short verbal prompts with the audience for movement bits the dancers know. The audience is asked to move through the space and share impressions of the simple set scenarios—a chaotic stack of ladders, a vintage metal chair, and a tiny bench set in front of a decorative trellis. 

The collaborative exchanges between patrons, dancers, and Peter informed three “layers” of the experience—words, music, and movement. The guided creative journey was thrilling and invigorating. As “grown-ups” outside of the artistic process, we may not get to imagine and build a work. 

As always, the dancers of Attack Theatre possess a charm fueled by their talent and commitment to creativity. The troupe of five is put to the test to not only “perform” but to remember varied movements to create on the spot in response to artist and audience prompts ranging from “counterbalance” to “pixie dust.” Just imagine when “whiskey” is added to this fresh mix!

They are (in order of appearance on Friday) Melissa BurkeAnya EpsteinEthan Gwynn, Olivia Nellis, and Miranda Nichols. As they move, we are reminded of the trust and collaboration inherent in dance and theatre. They balance, lift, and weave familiar movements smoothly in new combinations. Their sweet cooperation continually intrigues the audience. We are hooked and want more.

The music? It’s solo and superb as Simon Cummings shares his cello artistry in short snippets that lead to a soundtrack for the entire journey for the second layer. His intricate solo is specific for this performance and displays virtually endless cellist techniques that may inspire the non-musician most. Cummings versatility includes percussion bits and playing the Cajon, a wooden box that adds sound and rhythmic layers. A member of Cello Fury, Cummings is a delightful and essential ensemble member here. Moreover, the company’s original cellist and composer, Dave Eggar, was in the audience, sharing his enjoyment of that rare perspective.

The dancers then present it all with the cello accompaniment. It is exhilarating for both the audience and the artists, as those present are part of something that is taking place only now.

Despite this limited run, Attack hints that SAR may return for another opening and closing—always on the same day. Stay engaged for Attack Theatre’s subsequent creative journeys for this company somewhat defines description. Get to know them better—you will not be disappointed!

Curiouser? Check out this work sample, “Assemble This,” which reveals some of the nature and history of Some Assembly Required. Explore excerpts of a two-week, multi-site performance series (10 events in five different galleries/museums in Pittsburgh).