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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Haymakers to debut at Man Bites Dog 

All photos courtesy of Allie Mullin Photography

About a year ago, Emily Hill was visiting Durham, N.C. with fellow Haymaker company members Akiva Fox and Dan VanHoozer. She found a $20 bill on the ground, and took this as the universe confirming what they already were starting to pick up on.

They were looking for a town that was growing. The kind of place where the community was positive and excited, the audience was diverse, where people liked to say yes. They ran through a long list of the usual suspects, Portland, Seattle, Baltimore and Philadelphia. They felt they would know the place when they found it. The energy in Durham rose up to meet them first through twenty bucks on the sidewalk, then Dan VanHoozer popped into the Manbites Dog Theater and was greeted with open arms.

The Haymakers say this has been the story throughout their year in Durham. Support and encouragement everywhere they turned, genuine generosity and warmth, a spirit that says: to assist you is to build our community, organically, from within. It started with Jeff Storer and Edward Hunt at the Manbites Dog Theater. The Haymakers found the same kind of help from artist Julia Gartrell on the design of their media material and logo. Likewise their promotional photographs, some of which accompany this piece, were taken by Allie Mullin in the same spirit. “How can I help?”

VanHoozer and Fox noted to the Clarion Content that in many places, including Washington, D.C. where they moved from, power is aggregated by saying no. The people in power try to deny access and opportunity to the up and coming, distrust, fear and negativity permeate the system. In Durham, they found, “everyone was so much nicer than they had to be.”

All photos courtesy of Allie Mullin Photography

And what is Durham’s reward?

This Thursday, October 20th marks the group’s first performance at the Manbites Dog Theater at 703 Foster Street, a three-week running showing of the self-written, self-starring, and self-produced work ‘Living with the Tiger’.

The play starts with a young couple in need of a change. Their mutual dream of owning a tiger lends to the group’s exploration of the ideals behind our ‘pursuit of happiness’ society, of the self-devouring urge for more and the constant chasing of these often fatal aspirations, of what happens when something is simultaneously captivatingly beautiful and heart-stoppingly terrifying.

“We like to start with something that grabs us by the throat, and punches us in the gut,” Akiva Fox said, when asked about what prompted the subject, “There are five-thousand domesticated tigers living in America, and only three-thousand left in the wild. A lot of these people [the owners] live in apartments, in cities, and areas where a tiger just isn’t meant to be.”

There are two sanctuaries for rescued tigers in the Triangle area alone, making this subject even more relevant to Durham than some might initially realize. These sanctuaries are home to tigers that were eventually given up by their owners, because they discovered, too late, just what they were getting themselves into.

“It shows you the good and bad side to the land of wonder,” Dan VanHoozer, who also works with the Playmakers Theatre Group, said. “Where is the end, satisfaction, if we’re always chasing?”

"Living with the Tiger," directed by Colin Hovde, at Manbites Dog, as part of the theater’s "Other Voices" series, will run three weekends, starting October 20th-23, and continuing on through Saturday, November 5th. For more information on the show, visit the Haymaker site at www.gohaymaker.com, or the Manbites Dog site for box office inquiries and other productions from the Other Voices series at http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/.

Look for a review in the Clarion Content next week.

Edit. note---Please forgive our misspelling of the Manbites Dog theater in the title of this post. Our error. Unfortunately, changing the title of the post now would break any existing links posted with the old title. We humbly beg your forgiveness. Manbites Dog Theater! Sorry.

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Durham is very, very lucky.
Please forgive our misspelling of the Manbites Dog theater in the title of this post… We humbly beg your forgiveness. Manbites Dog Theater! Sorry.

That's okay -- we forgive you, Clar Ion Continent. (And great article!)
Hi there-
Thanks for the forgiveness. Typos can be so embarrassing! Love The Upstager. Appreciate the shout out and link back. Looking forward to "Living with Tiger." Keep up the great work.
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