Demotic still

demotic 2004
     about the project

In November 2006, the Baltimore Theatre Project presented the East Coast premiere of Demotic, a mixed-reality performance work that offers a wild ride through America's political psychosis. Only one actor appears on stage, but she communicates with live musicians as well as with a group of virtual performers on the Internet who improvise text throughout the piece. Vivid projections, together with digital technologies such as voice synthesis and sound mashups, bring this groundbreaking interactive performance to life.

Partly improvised, partly scripted, Demotic was created anew each night in front of the audience, pulling back the curtain on the creative process. The piece explores the multiplicity underlying American experience and identity, especially as it is now shaped by the Internet, our new town hall. The result is an inspired riff on American stereotypes, political corruption, loss by disaster, distraction, and conspiracy theories.

"Think of it as a different form of music," says director Robert Allen. "A kind of covert national anthem."

Demotic was conceived and produced by artist-writer Antoinette LaFarge and director Robert Allen and created by LaFarge, sound artists Maria de los Angeles Esteves and Jeff Ridenour, and performer Tracey A. Leigh. Demotic was produced at the Baltimore Theatre Project on Nov. 2, 3, 4, and 5, 2006. An earlier workshop version of Demotic premiered at the Beall Center for Art and Technology (Irvine, CA) in July 2004. (More about the Beall performances can be found in our 2004 show section.)

"Demotic 2006" was made possible by an ARC grant from the Durfee Foundation, a Beall Center Residency, and a DRIF grant from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.