A Production of MAX (Media Art Xploration)
Presented in association with The Play Company
Let’s say you’re X. You have all of X’s talent and egotism, defensiveness and vulnerability. At least, the subtitles on your screen dictate that you do. You used to be the resident writer for a theater company. You moved to Hollywood, created a problematic TV series, and cultivated your Instagram activism. Sorry, you don’t like being called an Instagram activist.
The pandemic hit.
Your collaborators Onur, Kathryn, Meera, and Fatih want you back—maybe grudgingly. They can’t realize their project, giving voice to the behavioral peculiarities of this moment—where more than ever before, our digitized selves lead scintillating social lives and our physical selves sit and stare, red-eyed and envious—without your evocative words, your acute observations.
And they’re going to use one of your ideas, whether you participate or not.
MAX presents the English-language premiere of Onur Karaoglu and Kathryn Hamilton’s episodic hybrid video/performance work, Read Subtitles Aloud, a performance whose only live component is the viewer. Reading subtitles on the screen, the viewer enters as character X into a crumbling theater collective, becoming the main character in a story—of camaraderie, sex, betrayal, and the digital theater of life in a pandemic—that’s unfolding across 13 episodes. Pairing soap opera-ish relational roller coasters with the flattened, dulled realism of Zoom sociality, Read Subtitles Aloud speaks with humor and immediacy to a moment when our physical selves have leapt further into virtual modes of connection than ever before, when it’s hard to distinguish connection from isolation.
Performances by Onur Karaoglu, Kathryn Hamilton, Meera Kumbhani, and Fatih Gençkal, and special guest star Paul Lazar.
Read Subtitles Aloud features art direction by two-time Tony-winning scenic designer Christine Jones, costume and set curation by Zoë Hurwitz, lighting design by Bill Berner, and dramaturgy by Emily Reilly.
Based on Altyazıları Yüksek Sesle Oku, created by Onur Karaoglu
Produced by Onur Hamilton Karaoglu, Kathryn Hamilton, and Sister Sylvester
and Paul Lazar
Set and Costume Curation
Kay Matschullat and Deniz Tortum