Byte House

byte house On Sunday evening a monstrous display will take place in the Giant Warehouse on Catawba Street. Machine-like props and computer-like performers will take to the floor of the open building, accompanied by original music and video, in an attempt to combine these incongruent pieces and bring life to a new kind of performance. Its creators call it Byte House.

Jon Prichard’s Byte House, an interdisciplinary ensemble performance, draws inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and will examine the ways in which dissimilar parts can be brought together in one being. The performance will have dancers acting like computers as well as seemingly inanimate objects acquiring lives of their own, blurring the line between human and inhuman in this more modern take on the constructed monster. While Prichard has directed some of the routine, the dancers will also be improvising during the performance, though whether they turn into a collective monster or a friendlier creature remains to be seen.

The components of this performance, with its assortment of homemade props, variety of performers, and a mixture of music and sound, make it a worthy Frankenstein creation in and of itself. Prichard’s dance troupe Sinergismo, a Charlotte based performance art group that will also have members in the performance, calls itself “a group of dancers, artists, poets, and musicians using collaboration as a means to produce choreographic works.” All of the talent involved in Byte House is just as diverse. University of South Carolina music professor Greg Stuart wrote the musical overture for the production, 701 Center for Contemporary Arts organized it, and a cast from multiple backgrounds will be presenting it.

The performers who came to the open call auditions certainly didn’t originate in the same body either; they are members of Sinergismo, students in universities and Richland One schools, and professionals from the Columbia community. Samantha Elkins, who will play a role opposite to Prichard on the set, is a theatre teacher at A.C. Flora High School. How else could dancers of such varied backgrounds become one performing group except through the workings of some mad scientist, or in this case Prichard's technology-filled, dance-driven, sunset spectacle, Byte House?

The potentially disproportionate performance will be held Sunday, June 2nd, at 600 Catawba Street, Columbia, SC, in the Giant Warehouse located behind 701 Whaley and next to the Pacific Park baseball field. It starts promptly at 8:00 pm and will last until approximately 9:30. Also, viewing is free, so anyone and everyone are invited to participate in this artistic endeavor to create something wonderfully and horribly alive.

Entire ensemble: Jon Prichard, Samantha Elkins, Patrick Calhoun, Hannibal Davis, Wanda Jewell, Shannon Jones, Nancy Marine, Shirley McGuiness, Rosetta H. Penny, Patrick Rosenfeld, Anna Sykes, Alex Webster, Gretchen Jax, Alex Zsoldos, Amelia Binford, Brittney Prichard, Gene Bledsoe, and Abby Peltier.

by Joanna Savold, Jasper Intern