Make it Worg? Make it Spalshy!
The High Line
New York, NY | 2016
About the show
For six months, Whoop Dee Doo acted as artist-in-residence at Manhattan’s High Line Park through the Friends of the High Line Education Department to create 6 totally unique variety shows as part of the “Make It!” Summer series. The “Make It!” events were free and family-friendly, occurring once per month from May through September, each event with its own theme.
Inspired by the monthly themes, Whoop Dee Doo artists, a workshop group of carefully selected P.S. 33 students, and a roster of amazing local performers collaborated on props and performances that ranged in concept from “Sweet” to “Wild”, “Splashy” to “Slow”.
Afterschool workshops at P.S. 33 varied greatly from one week to the next. Some sessions provided the setting for introductory meetings between the students and performers (like when Half Moon Sword wowed the class with the perfect balance of historical facts and swords). Other sessions were used to teach costume- and prop-making methods. A few classes were even used as rehearsals (like when the students prepared for their debut as Butoh dancers from BDCE).
No matter the activity, the workshop brainstorms that followed were always highly productive, providing the basis for much of the shows’ content. Some brainstorm highlights include the New York City Housing Authority Chorus as beautifully harmonizing babies in their NYCHA Nursery cribs; a mysterious, cloaked longsword dance and autumn harvest ritual from Half Moon Sword; Control the Sound playing their music in full fish costumes in a giant aquarium; and three separate collaborations with Aalokam over a period of 5 months! There was a candy-collecting contest involving gigantic shoe that had stepped in an unfathomably large wad of gum! There was a slow dance contest hosted by an even more gigantic singing turtle! There were Audience naptimes, screaming goblins, even a mysterious muffin man!
To see these ambitious concepts to fruition, Whoop Dee Doo artists worked around the clock in a generously provided studio space at the historic Westbeth Artist Community.
As an added treat, the residency was extended one month so as to include Whoop Dee Doo in the Highline’s Halloween festivities. It was an ideal closing event for us – to be able to spend the most fun holiday at the prettiest park in the greatest city on the most hospitable planet. And we did our best to take full advantage of the opportunity with an 18-piece ghost orchestra accompanying the stunning voice of opera singer Megan Nielsen, a giant witch (who may have been the victim of false witchcraft accusations but it’s hard to know for sure), a mostly frozen but still entertaining laborer from one of the Highline’s refrigerated storage buildings from years past…and so so so so so much more.
Lydia Austin, Michael Boles, Danny Crump, Elise Dahan, Sarah Dahlinger, Sofia Dixon, Emma Dold, Mya Edwards, Eileen Emond, Rebecca Fayemi, Asia Freeman, Jeila Guermanian, Xiaoyang Jin, Seth Timothy Larson, Michael O’Malley, Hicks Oswald, Justin Oswald, Josh Pavlick, Anna Platt, Ashley Richards, Matt Roche, Erin Sheehy, Jaime Sunwoo, Josh Tonsfeldt, Gerard Tuitt, Monika Uchiyama, Jaimie Warren
Gonzalo Casals, Vice President of Programs and Community Engagement at Friends of the High Line
Katie Henry, School and Family Programs Manager at Friends of the High Line
Make it Worg, May, 2016: Bharathi Penneswaran, Aalokam, EXP, The Brandon Project
Make it Slo, June, 2016: The Academy of Hellenic Paideia, The NYCHA Youth Chorus, The Brandon Project
Make it Swet, July, 2016: Bollywood Axion, Aalokam
Make it Spalshy, August, 2016: Control the Sound, The Lost Keys
Make it Dilw, September, 2016: Half Moon Sword, Aalokam, Dance Adventure
Refrigerated Storage Educational Program, October, 2016: Megan Nielsen, BDCE Butoh Dance Group and P.S. 33 workshop students, Lester Kim, The Muffin Man, The Witch
The High Line | The High Line Family Programs & Make It Series | Families on the High Line: Interactive Performances | PS 33 Chelsea | Westbeth Artists Housing | Aalokam | The Brandon Project | Hudson Guild Community Center | The Academy of Hellenic Paideia | The NYCHA Youth Chorus | Bollywood Axion | Control the Sound | The Lost Keys | Half Moon Sword | Dance Adventure | Megan Nielson |EXP | BDCE | Lester Kim