People Walking Away


A new performance slated for preview in fall 2019 inspired by Antwerp, the first novel by Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño. An exploration of exile, detectives, fascism and the avant garde, dread, untethered ghosts of the Americas, machismo, forgotten heroes, literary fanboys, and the end of youth.

“Of what is lost, irretrievably lost, all I wish to recover is the daily availability of my writing, lines capable of grasping me by the hair and lifting me up when I'm at the end of my strength. (Significant, said the foreigner.) Odes to the human and the divine. Let my writing be like the verses by Leopardi that Daniel Biga recited on a Nordic bridge to gird himself with courage.”

Roberto Bolaño, Antwerp (translated by Natasha Wimmer)

With Richard Newman and Liza Bielby

Photo credit: Kat Schleicher/Alverno Presents

Photo credit: Kat Schleicher/Alverno Presents

The Radicalization Process


Layering historical accounts of the radical left in the 1960’s and 70’s with a master class in American method acting, socialist pageantry, and a gleefully obtuse re-production of The Living Theatre’s Antigone, The Radicalization Process stokes the embers of America’s past revolutions to ignite our radical potential. Audiences begin the performance sifting through a basement archive of a forgotten revolutionary, navigating histories true and false, real and imagined, before they make their way into the performance space, a safe-house within a house in 1970s Detroit. Imagery unfolds both mundane and shocking; a live-score is performed on analog synthesizers and everyday objects; L’Internationale is sung; an explosion occurs.

The Radicalization Process asks us to question our assumptions about what drives us to take action, how far is too far, and what role the imagination has in revolution. Also, it’s funny. Sometimes. Other times it’s really dark. But hey, that’s America!

Check out Rosie Sharp’s review of the piece in Hyperallergic

The Radicalization Process is an original performance by The Hinterlands premiering in April 2016, created and performed by Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, and Dave Sanders. Live scoring by Richard Newman. Scenic design by Shoshanna Utchenik, archive creation by Casey Rocheteau, and publication design by Benjamin Gaydos. The performance was commissioned by Legion Arts, Power House Productions and Alverno Presents with generous support from the National Performance Network, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the NEA Artworks program.

Performed at/with: Co-Prosperity Sphere/Illinois Humanities (Chicago); Ko Festival (Amherst, MA); Play House (Detroit); Flynn Center (Burlington, VT); Alverno Presents (Milwaukee); and CSPS/Legion Arts (Cedar Rapids) with a work-in-progress version shown at Goodyear Arts (Charlotte, NC)

Photo credit: Eric Ljung

Photo credit: Eric Ljung

The Circuit


Classic American Vaudeville meets the chaotic energy of the American sub-culture continuum in *The Circuit,* an ecstatic, audience-engulfing variety show for outcasts of the post-industrial age.

Called “the heart of American show business,” Vaudeville is remembered as the variety show that unleashed dancers, musicians, comedians, trained animals, female and male impersonators, acrobats, children, and lecturing celebrities onto a single bill. Vaudeville was the place where different parts of the American subculture first met, eyed each other warily, and commenced the give-and-take that defines the American experiment. With jitters and juggalos, candy ravers and riot grrrls, *The Circuit* checks in on this grand experiment one century later in this hilarious and strange new work that brings Vaudeville into the Internet age. Think the Marx Brothers meets David Lynch meets the New Dance Show meets Bikini Kill meets something you’ve never heard of. With door prizes. And Faygo.

Performed and created by Torri Ashford, Barney Baggett, Liza Bielby, Jon Brumit, Richard Newman and Haleem Rasul. With technician Dave Sanders. Scenic design by Zeb Smith; lighting design by Aaron Weissman, and sight-gag design by Shoshanna Utchenik. Directed by Richard Newman with Liza Bielby. Early versions created with the collaboration of Eleni Zaharopoulos and Leanne Turrell. Funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and National Performance Network Creation Fund. Co-commission by Alverno Presents and MOCAD, with additional developmental support from Power House Productions.

Performed at: Trinosophes (Detroit); Alverno Presents (Milwaukee); CSPS/Legion Arts (Cedar Rapids); work-in-progress versions performed at MOCAD (Detroit); 2012 Shanghai Biennale Detroit Pavillion (Shanghai); Network of Ensemble Theater’s Detroit Microfest

Photo credit: Amanda Reintjes

Photo credit: Amanda Reintjes

Photo by Kat Berger/Alverno Presents

Photo by Kat Berger/Alverno Presents

Manifest Destiny! (there was blood on the saddle)


A psychedelic Wild West Show inspired by the language of Cormac McCarthy and William S. Burroughs as well as the Spaghetti Westerns of the 1950’s and 60’s. Manifest Destiny! is equal parts Wild West Show and cultural scavenger hunt, juxtaposing the silence and stillness of the open range with the rowdiness and sweat of a barroom brawl.  Manifest Destiny! weaves spectacle, vaudevillian comedy, live music, cowboy poetry, campfire songs, puppetry, dreamlike imagery, and the smell of frying bacon into a highly physical, sensory collage. Using the script of Wild Bill’s original Wild West show like a prospector’s map, The Hinterlands have dug up a passion play for the North American frontier that both enlightens and entertains, shocks and delights.  Ritual, comedy, historical reenactment, feats of strength and skill, black hats, white hats, shootouts and sing-alongs: anything can happen once you set out down the trail.

Featuring Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, Eleni Zaharopoulos, Steven DeWater, and Dave Sanders. Directed by Richard Newman with Movement Direction by Liza Bielby; Design by Anthony Cerrato. Produced by Alverno Presents.

Photo credit: Carrie Morris

Photo credit: Carrie Morris



Isabel Funes is a precocious 11 year-old living with her absent-minded father and nutty kid brother. When a plague of nightmares hits, Isabel fights back ~ and life for the trio is changed forever. Dreamtigers blends shadow puppetry, object puppetry, and physical comedy into a breathtaking tale of slumber, alchemy, and dreams made real. Commissioned by PuppetArt Detroit in March 2012 and inspired by the work of Jorge Luis Borges, Octavio Paz and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dreamtigers is recommended for ages 6 to 106.

“…imaginative, subtle and eerie…” –JEREMY SCHALL, Knight Arts Blog

Created by The Hinterlands; Performed by Liza Bielby, Richard Newman, and Dave Sanders; Directed by Richard Newman; Puppet Design and Creation by Rolando Garcia and Carrie Morris; Production Assistance by Barney Baggett, Leanne Turrell, Scott Crandall, Torri Ashford


Isaac Newton is Our DJ


A participatory, site-specific multi-media techno birthday party for Isaac Newton's 366th big one held at MOCT in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in January and March 2010. Using the party intimacy of the rave as a catalyst, Isaac Newton is Our DJ examined our fear of and propensity for interpersonal relationships through parlor games, karaoke, sporting events, dance-offs, lectures, shadow puppetry, and classic bar interaction. Two eccentric physicist hosts teach and tweak Newton's Laws of Motion in hilarious battle for love and science.

Created by Liza Bielby, Brian Moore, Richard Newman