GONE, the first full length piece by The Oven, explored the experience of human trauma through the lens of human trafficking, specifically the sexual exploitation of children in the United States. Five characters walked you through their world, their experience, and their stories to give insight into the life of a trafficking victim/survivor. Through monologues, group choral pieces, chants, voiceovers and songs, the cast showed not only individual experiences of characters, but demonstrated a collective experiences of victims and survivors across the board. The piece, created with the structure of a cantata in mind, is a non-linear piece of theatre, where timelines and stories weave together in and out of consciousness. Meant to alienate and stun the audience, GONE used loud noises, direct address, bright lights and repetition to shock the audience into paying closer attention. Speakers from The Human Trafficking Task Force, the FBI SVU, Baltimore Safe House of Hope, and the governors office have participated in talk backs.
In COMMODITIES, The Oven continued to tell the stories they were telling in GONE, but through a bit of a different lens. With touring and performing opportunities presenting themselves, the company knew the show needed to be conceptualized and presented differently and more efficiently. Keeping only five small platforms, each with one chair, one LED light, and one actor, the company was able to continue telling the stories of trafficking survivors at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Women of the World Festival, the Artomatic Festival in Frederick, and a final run of the show back at the Theatre Project. The Bad Oracle, a local theatre reviewing group, awarded The Oven with their specialty award for small theatre in Baltimore for 2016 for COMMODITIES. "The Justice For All Award" was specially created to recognize The Oven as a stage working for Social Change in Baltimore.
WHERE I LIE
In May of 2017, The Oven premiered their third original devised play, Where I Lie, at the Baltimore Theatre Project. This show was born out of a need to express and talk about reactions to the outcome of the 2016 presidental election. With the new administration in place, the country felt like it was turned on it's head. With the social and political climate constantly in flux, what is it that makes us “American”? Is it our class? Our jobs? Our educational statuses? Is it the way we look? Who we love or worship? How we live our day-to-day lives? Or is it none of these things at all? In Where I Lie, The Oven explored how these questions influence the way we socialize through an in depth look into the lives of five Americans.