EMPIRE TRAVEL AGENCY
“…Gloriously inventive and appallingly fun.” They went on to note “...what this play does, perhaps better than any piece since Deborah Warner’s “Angel Project,” is use the city itself as a set...‘This trip,’ says one travel agent, is ‘a journey through the mysteries of the city to help you find more.’ Take it.” - NYTIMES
The lucky four spectators meet at a pay phone in the Financial District, where they receive instructions on where to go next; there, and at each subsequent location, they encounter members of competing factions (gangsters, modern-art sharks, shifty Canadians) who try to cajole them into working on their behalf to secure the magic dust—and, perhaps, to save the metropolis from decline…a marvel of coordinated inventiveness. - TIMEOUTNY
“Irresistible!” - THE NEW YORKER
“Do whatever it takes to catch Woodshed Collective’s EMPIRE TRAVEL AGENCY...With Empire Travel Agency, [Woodshed] produced another enthralling site-specific adventure that fully immerses you into a world of mystery and suspense...The acting is idiosyncratic and impeccable, and the ensemble keeps everything speeding forward into curiouser and curiouser situations. In a way it never stops—certain New York City locations are now, for me, permanently imbued with magic.” - GOTHAMIST
Empire Travel Agency is a unique theatrical experience that takes an intimate group of travelers on a surreal quest through lower Manhattan. The experience begins at a payphone in Lower Manhattan, at which point the audience is whisked away into the night and into a bizarre blackmarket where various factions compete to leverage the future of New York. You see, the city is in danger of being stripped of the cultural vitality that makes it the most beloved metropolis on earth because a mysterious, mystical substance behind its centuries of success is at risk. This ambrosia promises Real Estate tycoons vibrant visions of the future of the market, Art Dealers a crystal clear sense of where the taste of the world is heading, and any power broker a chance to hedge the future.
Empire Travel Agency gives audience members the chance to save New York City by embarking on a chase to find the recipe to this substance, the holy grail of illumination and inspiration, and preventing this elixir from falling into the wrong hands. Our audience will be taken on a tour of lower Manhattan where they’ll confront an odd and ever evolving group of characters on this quest to preserve New York City’s survival.
Empire Travel Agency is a story about our current place in history, and our collective and personal anxieties about the future.
CONCEIVED AND DESIGNED BY WOODSHED COLLECTIVE
TEXT BY JASON GRAY PLATT
DIRECTION BY TEDDY BERGMAN
PRODUCTION DESIGN BY GABRIEL HAINER EVANSOHN
DETAILS DESIGN BY KATIE FLEMING
SOUND DESIGN BY WILL PICKENS AND MIKE FELD
COSTUME DESIGN BY BECKY LASKY
LIGHTING DESIGN BY MIKE INWOOD, AMANDA CLEGG LYON, AND GILLIAN WOLPERT
TECHNOLOGY DESIGN BY EAMON O’CONNOR
ORIGINAL MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS BY MATT CITRON
PRODUCER, AMY ASHTON
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, MIKHAEL TARA GARVER
This project is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and has been made possible through the generous support of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Subsidized studio space provided by the A.R.T./New York Creative Space Grant, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
PRESS and REVIEWS
This production has been made possible through the generous support of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
This project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.