Hoi Polloi is a New York-based theater company founded by Alec Duffy in 2007 that combines music, text and design to create original work that strives to explore how we, as Americans, come together and how we fall apart. Our creative process is collaborative – we start with an idea that we want to explore and then build the piece in a rehearsal room together. Design is at the forefront of our work – with each piece, we strive to create an architecture within the theater walls that transports the audience. Recent work includes “Three Pianos” (The Ontological Theater, March 2010),  “Winter Journey” (PS 122, July 2009), “The less we talk: a meditation on group singing” (The Ontological Theater, April 2009) and “Dysphoria,” a piece a Buddhist group with utopian visions (Ontological, 2007). Our work has been hailed by the New York Times as “impressive” and “uncommonly entertaining.” Hoi Polloi’s productions have been supported by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Puffin Foundation, the Drama League and the Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel GeddesFoundation.

During their Swing Space Residency Hoi Polloi will bring together director Alec Duffy and playwright Sally Oswald, as well as a dozen performers, to create a new music/theater piece – one without a narrative or even content-based point of departure, but rather founded in abstraction and impulse. While we’re first creating the piece, we want to free ourselves from narrative obligations. We expect that themes and an arc will emerge from our collaboration, but we want to discover it along the way, rather than setting out with a theme or story as the point of departure.


Image credit: courtesy of the artist