REALTIME INTERVENTIONS, Pittsburgh’s community-fueled, performance-based arts company, presents the world premiere of People of PIttsburgh: The Alchemist of Sharpsburg at City Theater’s Hamburg Stage on April 7-17, 2022. The show is a live, interactive exploration of the life of Candra, a Hindu-practicing, black-metal-listening game enthusiast and native son of Sharpsburg, PA.
This ﬁrst installment of People of Pittsburgh is written and “game-mastered” by RealTime Co-Artistic Director Rusty Thelin, who is teaming up with ceramicist, mixed-media sculptor and fellow gamer Emmannuelle “Manu” Wambach to tell this extraordinary Sharpsburger’s story. Since Rusty, Manu, and Candra are all life-long gamers, they’re blending elements of theater and game design to create an original experience in which the audience will unlock the secrets of Candra’s life by playing an original game together.
Although audience members can opt out of participating directly and instead take the role of observers, some brave “spect-actors” will portray characters from Candra’s life; maps will be consulted, dice will be rolled, and by the end of the show everyone–participants and observers alike– will have “leveled up.”
Says Thelin, “I knew within minutes of talking with Candra for the ﬁrst time that this was someone who contained multitudes. He has challenged my assumptions about religion, spirituality, and society in general, and led me to see the neighborhood of Sharpsburg in a new, more nuanced way. My hope is that the show will do the same for our audiences.”
People of Pittsburgh, expected to continue through 2022 and beyond, is RealTime Interventions’ newest live, performance-based series, after creating several new works online since March 2020. Each People of Pittsburgh show will be a theatrical portrait celebrating the personality, lived experiences and personal history of an extraordinary, ordinary Pittsburgher; and starting in 2023, the public will be able to nominate subjects for the shows.
The series marks a new level of collaboration for RealTime’s founders/core artists Molly Rice and Rusty Thelin, and is in many ways a love letter to the fellow artists and residents of the city they call home. Each show will unite artists from different artistic disciplines, challenging them to collaboratively craft a compelling work that captures a Pittsburgh-area resident, and encouraging innovations in form to match the unique content that makes up an individual’s life.
“The only criteria RealTime has for the shows are that the subjects are everyday Pittsburghers– not ‘Pittsburgh famous’ or widely recognized– and that the artistic team doesn’t limit itself to pure docudrama in the telling of the story,” says co-Artistic Director Molly Rice. “We feel that everyone, if you look closely enough, is a work of art, and the way a unique human being is depicted should be as original as the person themselves.”
The next People of Pittsburgh production is slated for September of 2022, will feature an amazing resident of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and will be creatively helmed by playwright/songwriter Molly Rice and visual artist Christine Bethea, with Rusty Thelin directing.
People of Pittsburgh: The Alchemist of Sharpsburg will be presented in City Theater’s Hamburg Stage Thursdays through Sundays, April 7-17. There will be two shows per day: Thurs-Sat at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. There will also be an opening night party on Friday, April 8 after the 9:30 p.m. show. More information and a ticket link is available at www.realtimeinterventions.org.