Theater naturally asks for a certain degree of suspension of disbelief from its audiences. No matter how convincing the actors or how compelling the drama, the well-appointed parlor or bloody battlefield on the other side of the proscenium is obviously not real. That became a subject of fascination for the members of local experimental theater group Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, who decided to explore the art of the real with their ambitious new piece, “The Sincerity Project.”
“So often theater feels kind of fake,” says director and Team Sunshine co-founder Alex Torra. “You can feel a lot of the fiction going on if something doesn’t feel fully lived in or alive. So instead of taking on the task of trying to make something that’s not genuine feel genuine, we decided to start with the real.”
Through a combination of storytelling, performance art, physical theater, music and dance, the cast of “The Sincerity Project” will expose themselves and their lives, both confessionally and physically. And they plan to repeat that process in new iterations every three years for the next 24 years, giving committed audiences the chance to track their insights and their bodies over time.
“We’re trying to build a structure that allows us to always see real people right in front of us, always in relation to time,” Torra explains. “Sometimes that’s right now, in this moment, but as we move forward the hope is that there will always be a ghost of the past.”
The cast embarking on this quarter-century documentation of their lives ranges in age from 26 to 44, and includes a brother and sister as well as a pair of exes (who were still a couple when the process began more than two years ago).
Despite the 18-year span covered by the actors, their interests converged around the ideas of partnership and family, particularly the early stages of considering or actually having children.
“That seems to be a big gathering point for us right now,” Torra says. “But I think that every iteration of the show will reveal a particular aspect of people in this general part of their lives.”
As for Torra himself, he says he has “no idea” how he’ll change over the course of the project. “My job as an artist is to always be honest with myself about where I am artistically and what I’m interested in at the moment,” he says. “Everything in my life feels temporary right now. But I’m 35, so I’m getting to a point where I’m starting to look for the things that will be around longer than just right now.”
‘The Sincerity Project’
140 N. Columbus Blvd.
Pay what you wish, $30 suggested