ALEX MALLORY is an MFA candidate in Directing at Northwestern University investigating human agency, violence, and identity through the adaptation and deconstruction of classic texts.

She has directed and developed work with Lincoln Center, BEDLAM, Culture Project's Women Center Stage, The Working Theatre, Classical Theater of Harlem, The Telling Project, the Veteran Artist Program, and as Co-Artistic Director of Poetic Theater Productions from 2011-2015.

Alex holds a BA in Drama from Stanford University, where she was received the Louis Sudler Prize in Creative Arts and the Sherifa Omade Edoga Prize for work involving social issues. Associate Member, SDC.

Introducing: The Metal Shop Performance Lab

The mission of The Metal Shop Performance Lab is to push the boundaries of theatrical encounter in process and performance. The Metal Shop aims to create greater reciprocity between artists and audiences, engaging fundamental questions about the nature of the relationships between performers, space, objects, and audience. Metal Shop performances are designed to provide meaningful experiences for the communities they serve, inviting individuals in the audience to permanently alter the project through their presence and participation. Metal Shop projects are long-term endeavors with construction processes involving designers and performers working together combined with public presentations during which we learn from our audiences and then return to the construction process. Every project is a living piece that grows and changes with every performance.

Why the Metal Shop?
Like metal, performance is wrought from the intersection of the past and the present, from materials and elements that already exist, continuously molded into new forms. It requires a metaphorical fire, that of passion and energy, to fuse the two together in order to create something new, and to melt pieces down to their core elements to be forged into new structures and identities.

Why start a performance lab?
I believe that the theater falls short of its potential to engage audiences. When I go to the theater I so often see theater being presented to its audience as a gift, an act which places the artist in a position of superiority, with the knowledge to be granted to its suppliant audience. I believe in the possibility of a theater that learns from its audience, rather than the other way around, and builds something new with the members of its audience every night. In order to create that, we need to experiment with design, creation, and storytelling.

Inaugural Project: [sprung]
a deconstruction of Spring Awakening
The Metal Shop Performance Lab @ The Frontier
April 18-May 10, 2020

Freely adapted from Frühlings Erwachen, Frank Wedekind’s 1891 expressionist play about teenage sexual awakening, [sprung] is a teenage girl’s coming-of-age odyssey through the thick curtains and heavy silence designed to keep her from understanding her developing mind and body. [sprung] is the story of a teenage girl’s desire for agency over her body: to understand it, to determine how it is treated, and to explore what it can feel. It addresses the complexities of the relationship between pain and pleasure, the collision between physical and intellectual perception, and the silence around women’s bodies passed down through generations.

We are exploring the use of fabric as a primary storytelling tool, investigating the power of touch, the confinement and freedom of clothing, the alteration of perception, oppression, pain, and pleasure. We are interested in the ability of an item of clothing or a swath of fabric to hold and transform meaning and how audience members might imprint their own experiences on the event through tactile engagement with those objects. Our development process will begin with four months of construction with the creative team and performers, followed by four weeks of performances for the public during which we will experiment with audience involvement and continue to cultivate those elements with the information gained from their participation.

Construction begins December 2019, first public presentation April 2020 in Chicago.