Playwrights turn to Kickstarter to fund exploration of alcohol's impact - Brooklyn


Aug. 17, 2015 10:07 am

Playwrights turn to Kickstarter to fund exploration of alcohol’s impact

An experimental theater company is using Kickstarter to build an audience. Its “Bacchic Project” draws on the works of Euripides (ancient Greece) and Emile Zola (19th-century France).

The directors: Rachel Lucas, Jonathan Taylor and Hayley Sherwood.

(Courtesy photo)

More and more, Kickstarter is about building a community as much as it is about raising money.

One example of this is The Bacchic Project, an ongoing campaign to put on an experimental play about drinking, based on The Bacchae by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides; and L’Assomoir, a 19th-century novel about alcoholism in the Parisian working class by Emile Zola.

The project is the work of Rachel Lucas (Queens), Jonathan Taylor (Brooklyn) and Hayley Sherwood (Boston). The trio created a new experimental theater company, In The Water Theater Co., which will put on The Bacchic Project the first week of October, in Bushwick.

The play is not yet written. That will happen over the next month, as the trio and six performers live together in Taylor’s family’s home on Block Island, R.I., and work in the barn. During the monthlong retreat, the group will create the play together each day and rehearse.

“We’re going to be pulling from the text sources and the actors themselves and pulling from anything that’s applicable,” Taylor, the creative director, explained. “There’s a prohibition documentary by Ken Burns that I’ve been pulling from. It’s not about creating one narrative, it’s really about creating an experience where anything comes to the table.”

The trio met in college at the Boston University School of Fine Arts and have all been working in the theater world in the few years after their graduation. This marks their first entrance into creating their own works, however.

“It’s really exciting,” Lucas said. “I’ve picked up things from my jobs, thinking things like, ‘Oh, I’d like to do that for my actors when I have my own thing.'”

Jonathan Taylor

Creative Director Jonathan Taylor in movement class. (Courtesy photo)

Although they have their own friends and social networks, the company is looking for ways to increase their visibility. A few months ago, Taylor read an article on a theater site about using crowdfunding.

“There was a wonderful article talking about crowdsourcing campaigns and how good they are for building a community and having people invest in a community,” he said. “It forces you to collect your thoughts in a fully packaged way and put yourself out there.”

So far, 54 people have backed the project, which is about 55 percent of its $4,000 goal funded with five days to go. Though the company will live for free at the Block Island home, many of the actors live overseas, and In The Water would like to be able to pay for their travel as well as food for the month.

Support by Aug. 22


Tyler Woods

Tyler Woods is the lead reporter for Brooklyn. His work has previously appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, CT Financial News and the New Canaan News. There's little he loves more than great tweets on


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