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The Accountant

Trey Lyford

World Premiere!
When you take stock, does it all add up?

Venue

Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 North American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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DescriptionAbout the ArtistInterview

Trey Lyford has a masterful sense of staging.” Philadelphia Magazine

I was delivering mail at a temp job and came across this dimly lit office with a small lamp softly illuminating an old clerk. He was surrounded by papers stacked floor to ceiling. It felt like he was some kind of gatekeeper to a world that time forgot. I’ve never been able to shake that image.” Trey Lyford

In the forgotten office of an aging clerk, the tedium of everyday life transforms into a comical and haunting world of futility, remembrance, and regret. The Accountant is a visual theater piece inspired by the disorientation that death can bring into our lives and by Samuel Beckett’s rumination on impermanence, Krapp’s Last Tape.  

Co-creator of festival favorites all wear bowlers (2005), Amnesia Curiosa (2006), and Elephant Room (2011), Trey Lyford characteristically blends physical theater, vaudeville routines, illusion, and slapstick to celebrate the beauty fluttering in the details of everyday life and the poetic humor embedded at the epicenter of loss. When you account for the many moments that make up who you are, does it all add up?

Created in collaboration with performers Ben Bass and Coralie Holum Lyford, composer Cole Kamen-Green, and designers Eric Novak, Tara Webb, and Robin Stamey. 

Interested in being a part of The Accountant? Visit his website to participate in an online component called (re)collection. (re)collection is a culling and compiling of memory.  Our memory in all its fits and starts.  It is an attempt to collect the audience’s responses to imagery that may or may not bring up moments from your past. Learn more at https://www.treylyford.com/recollection.html.

The performance on Sept 7th at 8pm will feature ASL interpretation and audio description.

$29 general / $20.30 member
$15 student + 25-and-under

75 minutes

Conceived by Trey Lyford Created in collaboration with the Company Composer Cole Kamen-Green Set/Kinetics Eric Novak Costumes Tara Webb Sound Trey Lyford Creative Consultant Conor Lovett Performed by Trey Lyford, Ben Bass, Coralie Holum Lyford Lighting Design Robin Stamey Associate Producer Michaela Moore Public Relations Bryan Buttler Media Relations

Special thanks to Roger I. Ideishi, Kyle Lemieux, Meghan St. Thomas, Rachael Geier, Suli Holum, Bob Holum, Judy Hegarty Lovett, Julian Crouch, Rob Thirtle, Chris Green, Vanessa Solomon, Greg Kennedy, Pete Simpson, Kristen Sieh, Kristin Marting, Kim Whitener, Howard Fishman, Matt Saunders, Murph Henderson, Bill Bissell, Josie Smith, Nichole Canuso, Geoff Sobelle, Steve Cuiffo, Patricia Cooper Lyford, Glenn Perlman, Martin Stutzman, Courtney Riggar, Clayton Tejada, Scott Greer and Jennifer Child

Photos by Jenna Spitz (featured and below), Paula Court (above)

 

Major support for The Accountant has been
provided to Trey Lyford by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

Festival Producers: Edward & Anne Wagner
Festival Co-Producers: Shelley Green & Michael Golden


About Trey Lyford

Trey Lyford is a theater artist and co-artistic director, with Geoff Sobelle, of physical theater company rainpan 43, for which he has co-created works such as all wear bowlers (2005 Fringe Festival) and Elephant Room (2011). Lyford also develops and produces works as an individual artist and as an associate artist with the Obie Award-winning company The Civilians. His work has been presented at Center Theatre Group, St. Ann’s Warehouse, HERE Arts Center, Arena Stage, ATL’s Humana Festival, FringeArts, and La Jolla Playhouse, among others. Lyford holds an MFA from the University of California, San Diego. He has been honored with a Princess Grace Award and has received support from New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Capital, and New England Foundation for the Arts.


FringeArts interview with Trey Lyford

FringeArts: What was the initial inspiration for The Accountant?

Trey Lyford: The piece has been a long time coming . . . I originally thought of the show when I was temping in New York City in my early twenties. I was working at a pretty normal office, with glass-fronted offices that surrounded a pool of partitions for all the assistants in the middle. I was walking around delivering mail and one of the offices was completely dark and had an old man hunched over his desk. There was a lamp and he had stacks of paper surrounding him, floor to ceiling. It was right out of a Dickens novel and totally out of place in the modern office building. I have no idea what he did, or what his title was, but he felt like he had a secret doorway into another world under his desk. I have never been able to shake that image.

I came back to this idea (and also to one of my favorite Beckett pieces, Krapp’s Last Tape) when I starting hitting middle age. This isolation really began to speak to me when my life was hit with five important deaths within two years. The people who were sick or dying and the people who they left behind all had to take stock, look back at their lives and put it all together somehow. I was in awe of that space. The moments of total clarity, beauty and sorrow.

FringeArts: Why did you call this “The Accountant”?

Trey Lyford: It seemed to really say what it was for me. It tells you what kind of character is at the heart of the piece but it also references the idea that he is accounting for his life. Trying to find meaning and living in the memory of it all.

FringeArts: What are some of the performance “forms” you are playing with?

Trey Lyford: Well this is tricky because I use kind of whatever I can to play with rhythm and imagery. It has a fair amount of clowning in it, but the dark, simple kind — not so much the red nose circus kind. I am using humor and awkwardness to tell the story of a life buried by frustrations and lost hopes. I have often used the term “soft slapstick” meaning the rhythms and the structure are similar to traditional bits, but there is a kind of existential void surrounding them. I still find that funny.

The second thing would be physical theater. I use all kinds of imagery and expression through physicality. This breaks the more naturalistic setting of an accountant’s office and brings it into the surreal. For me that lets us understand the mind of the accountant (more than his story). It’s about the state of memory and longing and the image based work seems to feed that more.

There is a bit of magic in it. I’ve gotten to play with illusion a fair amount in my work with Geoff [Sobelle, Lyford’s collaborator on Fringe Festival shows all wear bowlers (2005), Amnesia Curiosa (2006) and Elephant Room (2011)]. We have always been interested in the way illusions can provide a sense of wonder and amazement in a moment when you are not relying on language alone. I try to use it sparingly, but it really helps me put the world in a dream logic — you know, when you have a dream and your sister’s face morphs into an ice cream cone, except simpler than that. A little magic can go a long way.

Lastly, I’ve been inspired by old vaudeville routines. They find their way into the piece in a delicate way, but I have always adored them for their full out we are just here to entertain you! There is something so needy and frantic about that, but also so nostalgic. I use found routines, and imagined ones, throughout the show.

Excerpt. Read the full interview on the FringeArts Blog.