Torn Space Theater preparing to bring FEAST to Silo City

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Silo City will soon be home to another site-specific performance piece from Torn Space Theater.

FEAST opens Friday evening in an area of Silo City that has not been open to the public before, an area of reclaimed natural paths in the shadow of the hulking industrial silos.

“For the first half hour, it’s fairly free form. The audience is able to traverse the paths and take in this new space on Silo City, then they’ll be ushered into the main performance area, which is centered around a large cotton wood tree,” explained Dan Shanahan, the artistic director for Torn Space Theater.

The writers created FEAST with that specific setting in mind, and in the days leading up to the first performance on Friday evening, crews were busy preparing the space.

They’ve had to build a table and seating arrangement for the audience around the cottonwood tree. They’ve also had to bring in electricity for speakers in that performance space and to create a soundscape in the natural areas beyond.

In Silo City’s heyday as a bustling industrial center, the setting for FEAST would have looked very different. More than a decade ago, Silo City’s owner brought in an ecologist to help turn the area back into a more natural space.

“Since about 2007, they’ve been slowly reclaiming the space, planting all of the trees you’re seeing, which has been able to bring a whole new bird habitat to this area, and so this is going to be the new area that we’re going to explore for our site-based performance this year,” Shanahan said.

The site brings together Silo City’s industrial architecture and natural elements to highlight major themes of cycles in FEAST, including birth and death, the changes in light as day turns to night, and the life cycle of a plant.

“So in Act One they celebrate seed, then in Act Two, the impetus for the seed to take root, in Act Three for the root to sprout, in Act Four for it to flower, and then in Act Five, the fruit,” said co-writer and co-director Melissa Meola-Shanahan.

“So in order to experience and embody that experience, we’re going to ingest each of those stages of a process of a seed,” she said.

The theater company has joined forces with the chefs from The Black Sheep, who are sourcing local foods to create an original meal and offering tastings throughout the FEAST performance for those with premier tickets.

“This is a new adventure for us, teaming up with a restaurant,” Dan Shanahan said. “I think our main objective is to create an experience for the audience that is unlike anything else they would normally encounter.”

“We think it’s interesting that Silo City once fed the eastern seaboard, housing all that grain, and now we can come back to this area and feast in a different way, a feast of the senses,” Meola-Shanahan added.

To buy tickets for FEAST, click here.

FEAST runs August 9-11 and August 16-18 at Silo City.

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