Our Options Have Changed Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Contact: Rachael Hip-Flores, rachael@fluxtheatre.org

Flux Theatre Ensemble presents the World Premiere of
Our Options Have Changed

an interactive audio experience on your phone
lead artists: Corey Allen, Emily Hartford, and Will Lowry

with additional direction from: Heather Cohn and Lori Elizabeth Parquet
lead programmer: Phoenix Rahmani | sound design: Renee Yeong 


On June 14, 2022, Flux Theatre Ensemble will launch Our Options Have Changed, an interactive audio experience, created by lead artists Corey Allen, Emily Hartford, and Will Lowry, based on an idea they developed with Jason Tseng. Our Options Have Changed is accessed by cell phone and available 24/7.  The project is directed by the lead artists, with additional direction by Heather Cohn and Lori Elizabeth Parquet. Renee Yeong is the sound designer. Our Options Have Changed was designed to run on the software platform Twilio and the lead programmer is Phoenix Rahmani, with additional programming from Lowry, Tseng, and Taylor C Jensen. 

In Our Options Have Changed, a series of crises have put a country on the brink of social collapse. A beloved wellness company named All for One has risen to power by helping people cope through their ‘holistic hopeline.’ But when audience members call the hopeline and navigate the menu, they may find hints of turmoil, beneath All for One’s tranquil surface. In this telephonic choose-your-own-adventure, each participant will have a unique experience. Some may just enjoy the interactive wellness activities; others may go down to the rabbit hole in a search for the truth. Either way, they’ll engage with a diverse group of characters, all trying to make sense of a broken world. Callers can make multiple calls and spend as much, or as little, time as they like on the hopeline. All in all, Our Options Have Changed offers over three hours of potential experiences to uncover. Audiences can also experience the world of the production on Instagram (@holisticwellnesshopeline) and on TikTok (@ouroptionshavechanged).

“We began brainstorming the project when there was no sense of how long we’d be unable to gather indoors to make art,”  said Corey Allen, Lead Artist and Creative Partner of Flux. “We were curious if given the chance, how receptive an audience would be to engage with a work delivered entirely through a phone, one that could be accessed any time, as many times as the caller wanted. We wondered what elements might lure in such an audience and set out to create an expansive yet intimate, one-on-one experience that offered a story with a rich fabric of characters, but left the level of engagement to the listener’s discretion. In that way, it functions a bit like a streaming service, giving the caller the ultimate power to self-select their experience and commit as much or as little as they see fit.  We hope OOHC will shift the spectacle/spectator dynamic and engage its participants in a singular way and, though callers will likely interact with the project on their own, we hope the experience spawns conversations between callers and creates community— the very  things we felt bereft of in the early days of the pandemic.”

“In making Our Options Have Changed, we are asking you to connect with us, in this oh-so-strange space and time,” said Lead Artist & Organizer and Creative Partner of Flux, Emily Hartford. “We invite you to make one choice, then another, and see where you land. The experience is: a place of respite / an unsettling confrontation / a secret mission / an act of revolution / a hand reaching out in the dark / a mystery to be solved. What, exactly, do you need today? We think you might find it here.”

“This project was born from our engagement with the Orchard Project’s 2020 Liveness Lab, inspired by the question of how we can connect and provide for one another in a world forcing isolation.” said Will Lowry, Lead Artist & Organizer and Creative Partner of Flux. “From this core idea of connecting in order to give something or receive something, the Hopeline developed into a sprawling multi-faction world with exercises of creative engagement, reflective monologues, charges for action, hidden puzzles, and over a dozen characters. Given the options available, every caller’s journey of experiencing this world is likely to be unique.”

Continuing the award-winning audience and community-building strategy of their last eight productions, no financial transaction is required to attend a Flux performance. Instead, attendees reserve a “Living Ticket” and are welcome to donate based on Flux’s open budget and commitment to reach living wages for all artists and staff. For their work with the Living Ticket, Fractured Atlas gave Flux their Arts Entrepreneurship Award. Living Tickets are available at fluxtheatre.org/our-options-have-changed

The Lead Organizers of Our Options Have Changed are Emily Hartford and Will Lowry, and the Lead Artists are Hartford, Lowry, and Corey Allen. The creative team includes: Sound Designer Renee Yeong; Lead Programmer Phoenix Rahmani; Programmers Taylor C Jensen, Will Lowry, and Jason Tseng; Directors Corey Allen, Heather Cohn, Emily Hartford, Lori Elizabeth Parquet, and Will Lowry; Writers Corey Allen, Sienna Gonzalez, Emily Hartford, Rachael Hip-Flores, Will Lowry, Corinna Schulenburg, Mercena Schulenburg, and Jason Tseng; Sound Engineers Ned Hartford and Will Lowry; and Actors Corey Allen, Becky Byers, Neo Cihi, Heather Cohn, Katrina Gaedcke, Sienna Gonzalez, Emily Hartford, Ned Hartford, Rachael Hip-Flores, John Lenartz, Will Lowry, Morgan McGuire, Ricky Miller, Sophie Miller, Vincent Oliver, Lori Elizabeth Parquet, Anna Rahn, Kia Rogers, Corinna Schulenburg, Mercena Schulenburg, Alisha Spielmann, Isaiah Tanenbaum, Matthew Trumbull, and Stephanie Willing.

COREY ALLEN, Lead Artist, (he/him/his): Corey Allen is a NYC-based actor, writer and teaching artist from San Diego, California. He holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Drama from UC Irvine. New York City credits include: Am I Dead?, The Sea Concerto (Flux Theatre Ensemble), Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry (DramaLeague). Regional Credits: Shakespeare Theatre: An Oresteia, Macbeth; Huntington Theatre Company: A Raisin in the Sun, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Pioneer Theatre Company: Two Dollar Bill, A Few Good Men; Great River Shakespeare Festival: Othello, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Utah Shakespeare Festival: Cyrano de Bergerac, The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis: Alabama Story, The Fall of Heaven; Orlando Shakespeare Theatre: Best of Enemies. Film work includes: Halston, Lost & Found, Proximity. Television: Happy!, Mindhunter, Manh(a)ttan, Power. www.corey-allen.com 

EMILY HARTFORD, Lead Artist and Organizer, (she/her/hers): Emily Hartford is a theatre and film director, generative artist, performer–and proud Creative Partner of Flux. She is a 2022 Drama League Directing Fellow. With Flux, she directed Operating Systems, Rizing, short pieces in #SpeakUp: The Street Harassment Plays and Breathe Free, as well as assistant directing Salvage and Jane the Plain. Emily creates theatrical work and processes that foster highly collaborative, joyfully equitable spaces; pursue physical rigor and precision to evoke a visceral response; and revel in theatre’s impermanence. She has directed in partnership with institutions including Judson Arts, Abrons Arts Center, Primary Stages ESPA, Badass Lady Productions, and more. Emily is a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She is also a generator of devised/collaboratively-created theatre, including the full-length Metra: A Climate Change Play with Songs (with Ned Hartford). Her first short film, Type A, premiered at the Woods Hole Film Festival in 2021. www.emilyhartford.com

 WILL LOWRY, Lead Artist and Organizer, (he/him/his): Will Lowry is a multidisciplinary designer with an MFA in Design from UNC Greensboro and a BA in Theatre Arts and Computer Science from Furman University. He has been a Flux Creative Partner for over a decade, and for Flux he contributed scene designs for Rage Play, The Sea Concerto, World Builders, Am I Dead?, Marian (Or, the True Tale of Robin Hood), Rizing, Tartuffe (in conjunction with Lafayette College), Salvage, Once Upon a Bride There Was a Forest, Jane the Plain, Hearts Like Fists, DEINDE, Ajax in Iraq, and Lesser Seductions of History; costume designs for Sans Merci, Honey Fist, and Menders; and both scene and costume designs for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has created over 130 scenic, lighting, projection, and costume designs for theaters along the East Coast and beyond, including productions at Dupont Underground (DC), Mill Mountain Theatre (VA), Warehouse Theatre (SC), Playhouse on Park (CT), Birmingham Children’s Theatre (AL), Palace Theatre/Spirit of the Dance Productions (SC/UK), Curtain Call Theatre (NY), California Theatre Center (CA), Southeast Missouri State University (MO), Lafayette College (PA), College of Southern Nevada (NV), and the Sydney Opera House (AUS). He recently created the innovative digital production GPS at Lehigh University, where he serves as an Associate Professor of Theatre. Prior to Lehigh, he contributed to multiple Broadway and off-Broadway productions as a studio assistant, assistant to the costume designer, and graphic designer. His website can be found at will-lowry.com 

FLUX THEATRE ENSEMBLE produces transformative theatre that explores and awakens the capacity for change. As an ensemble-artist driven company, Flux believes that long-term collaboration and rigorous creative development can unite artists and audiences to build a creative home in New York. Hailed as one of “8 Young (and Mighty) New York Theater Companies” by Backstage, Flux Theatre Ensemble is a twenty-three time New York Innovative Theatre Award nominee, including wins for Operating Systems, Jane the Plain, Ajax in Iraq, and The Angel Eaters Trilogy. NYIT has also awarded Flux the prestigious Caffé Cino Fellowship Award for “consistently producing outstanding work.” In 2016, Flux was named a Fractured Atlas’ Arts Entrepreneurship Awards Honoree for its Living Ticket initiative. Flux is the proud recipient of two NYC Fringe Festival Awards (2007 Village Voice Audience Favorite Award for Riding the Bull; 2008 Outstanding Direction Award for Other Bodies), received a Citation for Excellence in Off-Off Broadway Theatre from the Independent Theater Bloggers Association, and is one of Indie Theatre Now’s “People of the Decade.”


#  #  #

Leave a comment