For Presenters Dan Froot's "pang!" is an evening of three short plays based on the oral histories of real families from around the country who are hungering for change.

Thank you for your excellence and a truly impactful performance. I am forever changed.

Audience Member, Hartford CT, October 2019

"Pang!" is a versatile community-based performance project. It can be configured in different scales and formats, and can engage audiences and communities in a variety of ways.

Dan Froot and Company work closely with presenters to design project goals, community engagement strategies, and residency activities.

Scroll down to learn about three basic presentation formats, which can be tailored to individual venues, communities, and presenting organizations.

Full Production:

Five performers circulate amongst a forest of microphones, voicing dozens of characters, creating live sound effects at tables overflowing with strange objects, and playing a variety of musical instruments. Pang!'s three 30-minute episodes are performed as if the audience is inside a sound studio with a radio theater company who are performing a series of live broadcasts. Here's what it looks like.

This is the most fully produced of Pang!'s formats, with theatrical lighting by Christopher Kuhl. Cricket Myers's 32-channel sound design immerses audiences in a three-dimensional sonic world, as if they are "between the ears" of the families whose stories we are telling. By performing live "Foley" sound effects on stage, we expose the mechanics of creating that sonic world, creating a gap between what the audience sees and what they hear. Audiences fill that gap with their imaginations.

This fully mounted version of Pang! generally requires three days of tech prior to opening. We travel with five performers and two technical personnel.

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"Pang!" Unplugged

Four diverse and dynamic actors read three short, funny and hard-hitting plays based on oral histories of real families from around the country living below the poverty line. They voice dozens of characters in an evening of intimate, interactive, low-tech theater.

Sharing the stage with the actors are a handful of self-selected audience members, who watch the performance while seated at a homey kitchen table. Performance morphs into community forum as the table-mates discuss their own perspectives on the plays. Their conversation is amplified for the rest of the audience to hear, and eventually join.

This elegantly simple version of Pang! can be performed just about anywhere: in theaters, schools, food banks, etc. Technically, it's a cinch, requiring no theatrical lighting, little to no sound support, and very little setup or rehearsal time. Thus it is the most affordable, informal and adaptable version of Pang!.

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Make Your Own Episode of "Pang!"

Presenters can commission or co-commission Dan Froot and Company to create one or more new 30-minute episodes of Pang!, based on oral histories from their own communities. Those new episodes can be combined with one or two existing episodes to create a diversified evening-length program.

The process of creating an episode of Pang! typically takes 18-24 months. During that period, we conduct a number of short intensive residencies, offering workshops for local artists in Oral History methodology, developing partnerships with social service organizations, conducting 12 1-hour interviews with each participating individual or family. Then we adapt elements of each oral history into theatrical form (in consultation with the community participants), rehearse and perform the final work. It's an intensive, deep and longterm form of community engagement.

Aside from the performance itself, other products from each episode include a bound book-length oral history, and an audio podcast episode created from recordings of live performances.

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The Kitchen Table

Every presentation of Pang! includes an intimate conversation among audience members, facilitated by residents of the local community and, when possible, individuals whose stories are being portrayed.

Immediately after the show, six audience members sit together at a table between the seats and the stage. Dan Froot and Company are not at the table. The facilitator provides prompts to get the conversation going. In what ways did you feel invited into or kept out of these stories? In what ways does your own story intersect or diverge from these stories? Once the conversation gets going, anyone can leave the kitchen table, and anyone can replace them.

The Kitchen Table format is based on The Long Table from Lois Weaver's Public Address Systems, which she developed from decades of work as a founding member of the pioneering theater company, Split Britches. It is a highly effective mode of fostering cross-class dialogue around issues experienced by Pang!'s participating families.

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Wondering about how "Pang!" might appeal to your audiences and/or impact your community? Want to speak with other colleagues about their experiences of commissioning or presenting “Pang!”? Feel free to contact:

  • DAVID WHITE, Artistic Director of The Yard (Martha's Vineyard MA); drw@dancetheyard.org; ‭(508) 645-9662‬
  • STEVE RAIDER-GINSBURG, Director of The Autorino Center for the Arts (University of St. Joseph, Hartford CT); ‭steve.ginsburg@hartbeatensemble.org; (860) 548-9144 x111‬
  • BETH BOONE, Artistic and Executive Director of Miami Light Project (Miami FL); beth@miamilightproject.com; ‭(305) 576-4350‬

Dan Froot text/voice 310-766-4942


Photo: John Pemble