What is "One Day in the Life of Henri Shnuffle" about?
The audience follows Professor Henri Shnuffle through one day in his life. Memories, disease, dreams, and dementia. They will get to know and understand Shnuffle, as well as, his best friend-cat Existentialisme and his dream lady Princess Lala - everything will be explained by the Narrator. A four-person cast:
- Professor Shnuffle
- Princess Lala/Livana
So, why Professor Shnuffle for a day?
To draw attention to, increase empathy for, and debunk stereotypes about the elderly. Elderly make up 12% of the population in the U.S. and issues relevant to them are generally ignored. The audience will be mixed generationally. Aiming to create a community and forum for discussion.
And what makes this play different?
The play is immersive & interactive.
The actual performance will challenge normal standards of theatre. The audience will not be separate from the stage, but instead, positioned on it, allowing them to interact with characters and enjoy a more intimate theatre experience overall. The setting of an apartment will be fundamental for the basis of a concentrated exploratory experience. The audience will also be spoken to directly and taught by certain members of the cast. By establishing this learning environment, the audience members will become “students” of Professor Shnuffle. His years, age and wisdom will entitle him to teach the audience about his life through a process of immersion.
The play is integrated theatre.
We define integrated theatre as performance based in co-design and the combining of elements to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole. Using immersive theatre tools to allow the audience to interact more fully with the performance and performers. And a radical redefinition of a theatre company’s structure – a space where designers are as important as the producers and cast. All of which will be integral to the creation of this imagined reality.
The play focuses on all five senses.
The audience will touch Shnuffle’s belongings. The audience will see a realistic portrait of his home, puppets of people in his life, and eccentric costumes. The audience will hear music from diverse, international musicians, each commissioned to make a single song for the play – using the sounds of a decaying apartment, unusual instruments (accordion, violin bows on guitar, clocks) and scattered French dialogue. The audience will taste and smell a dish designed specifically for intermission, and prepared by Shnuffle.
The play is traveling (and could come somewhere near you).
Our impact will be measurable in the number and diversity of the audience members we reach. Therefore, we plan to visit nursing homes, community centers, and schools with a revised and applicable version of the play so it is accessible to audiences of all ages, socio-economic levels and location. If we receive adequate funding for a summer of travel (see below) we plan to visit San Francisco/Berkeley, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Washington D.C. and New Orleans.
The play follows an elderly character.
Sprat’s traveling production will create honest media portrayals of the elderly to increase knowledge and understanding. Because elderly are largely ignored an emphasis and opportunity for compassion will generate a new portrayal of what it means to be elderly in the U.S. If one person sees the play and treats their parents, grandparents or strangers with more sympathy we will be successful.
Who are these Sprat Theatre Company people?
We are a multi-generational group of writers, actors, designers and theatre enthusiasts who believe the playhouse can provoke community discussion about the actions required to bring about change.
- Writer/Director: Ryan Elisabeth Reid
- Stage Manager: Clinton Sosna-Mann
- Administrative Assistant: Derek Spaldo
- Set Design: Kelsea Murphy
- Interior Design: Carolina Valdes-Lora
- Graphic Design: Stephanie Kim
- Web Design: Gabriel Morton
- Lighting Design: Hilarion Banks
- Sound Design: James Jackson
- Casting Director: RC Shen
- Production Assistant: Alysia Braxton, Joy Horden & Kate Mack
- Illustration: Mattie Barringer & Guang Xu
- Costume Design: Hyunji Kim & Amanda McGowan
- Video Design: Hanna Wellish
- Early Story Consultant: Jack Hattori & Josh Furst
- Musicians: Corey Austin Crellin, Charles Belpois, Damien Dawahare & Walter Kuhr
- Food & Beverage Design: Adam Bruce
- Photography Consultant: Samantha Bolton
- Research: Helen Madsen
What is our timeline for getting this thing done?
Auditions: February 16th
Designer’s Week: March 1st – 7th
Rehearsals: March 15th – May 4th
Dress Rehearsals: May 10th, 11th, 12th
Premiere: May 17th
Performances: Weekends, May 17th to June 1st
Ok, why should I support this project?
1. Support a unique, new perspective on theatre.
2. Support the elderly & be part of the discussion about how to change the way they are treated.
3. Allow for us to have this preview performance and then expand from there to touring the country at other theatres, community centers, and nursing homes.
$6,000 goal = 9 weekend performances in NYC, May 17th – June 1st
$12,000 goal = Summer travelling tour throughout the U.S., June – August
$16,000 goal = Continued performances in NYC following the opening
Risks and challenges
The show is already in motion, a cast is being assembled, and we are imagining & manufacturing designs. As long as the goal is met, the show WILL go on!
If properly funded, the immediate concerns will be met. We do, however, face the longterm challenge of getting the word out effectively which would allow for an extended performance run. Because, the audience size is small, it allows for smaller numbers than a typical theatre. But, for a successful project long-term, a continued interest must be there.
In addition to collaborating with organizations like the AARP, we plan to organize efforts online and through the communities we hope to perform in (i.e. nursing homes) as a venue for publicity.
- (30 days)