At some point, the need for humans to connect in person outweighs the convenience of connections made from afar. It's the point where MySpace and chat rooms leave off, and only the mingling of flesh and bone can give meaning to existence. Dance troupe Attack Theatre's latest production, Someplace, Not Here, examines that point of demarcation by way of the pitfalls of dating.
For this site-specific production, opening Fri., Sept. 28, the globe-trotting group chose a venue in its backyard -- specifically, a garage at 4801 Penn Ave., in Garfield (next to its studios), which last housed a robotics firm. Set-designer Dutch MacDonald will transform the garage into the "A bar," where six characters will come together on blind dates.
"These are people trying to connect in a world where communicating anonymously via e-mail, texting and dating sites is the norm," says Attack co-artistic director and performer Michele de la Reza. "The characters all have something missing in their lives; an inherent need to connect on a personal level."
Someplace, Not Here begins with its ending, then tells the story in flashback. A series of movement-based theatrical vignettes depict how each character ends up at the bar; a bar-room brawl; and a bathroom scene (set in the venue's actual bathroom). The bathroom scene is one of several that audiences will watch on large-screen monitors carrying a live video feed. Longtime Attack collaborator Buzz Miller will orchestrate the live and prerecorded video wizardry, with help from Matthew Kleinrock.
Things get interesting when each of the characters tells his or her blind date that they'll be the one wearing a green scarf -- only to discover that every patron in the bar is sporting a green scarf.
"With no one knowing who they are supposed to meet, the characters' interactions then become more about chance," says de la Reza.
Since its founding more than a decade ago, by de la Reza and choreographer and performer Peter Kope (who are also spouses), the troupe has amassed a résumé of original productions performed nationally and overseas, along with a reputation for collaborating with arts groups in other genres.
As in Attack's Games of Steel -- which premiered in 2005 and continues to tour nationally -- much of this new work's emotional thread is spun by music performed live. Composed, arranged and played (in person) by five of the six members of Pittsburgh-based indie/country band Local Honey, the Somewhere soundtrack includes several of the band's most recognizable songs, as well as some written especially for the production.
For 34-year-old Local Honey frontwoman and songwriter Becky Corrigan, the experience of working with a dance company has been eye-opening. "It is making us a better band for sure," says Corrigan. "You have to be really sensitive to dynamic and making sure it is perfect. When we play at a bar we are not so concerned with that."
Someplace, Not Here will also give audiences their first look at Attack's new company members, Liz Chang and Ashley Williams, performing Attack's characteristically clever, athletic and high-energy choreography. The bartender, meanwhile, is played by actor and barebones productions artistic director Patrick Jordan.
While the intimate venue seats about 120, six nights of performances should accommodate most who want to see the show. For those seeking VIP treatment, a premium-ticket option includes a pre-show mixer and preferred seating. But preferred seating or no, just as Someplace, Not Here depicts characters trying to connect, the troupe hopes to resonate with audiences on this universal theme.
Attack Theatre presents Someplace, Not Here 8 p.m. Fri., Sept. 28, and Sat., Sept. 29. Also Oct. 1, 2, 4 and 5. 4801 Penn Ave., Garfield. $18 ($22 at the door); $15 students/seniors; $35 premium seating includes pre-show mixer and preferred seating. 412-394-3353 or www.proartstickets.org