Freedom Club

New Paradise Laboratories



New Paradise Laboratories' Freedom Club. Pictured: Mary McCool, Stephanie Viola, and McKenna Kerrigan. Photo by Nicole Adler.

New Paradise collaboratively created and developed the world premiere of Freedom Club, a sci-fi/historical riff on the American Civil War and a futuristic showdown inspired by the government's raid on white separatists at Ruby Ridge in 1992. Collaborators included Adriano Shaplin and the Riot Group, based in New York City. A language-based piece from a company that has specialized in movement-based work, Freedom Club represented a watershed experience for New Paradise Laboratories. Prior pieces from the ensemble had been decidedly allusive and metaphoric in structure and intent, while Freedom Club aggressively explored the company's responses to real-world concerns. Reflecting after the production, the company wrote, "We observed that the younger audience demographic—the very audience we have tried to develop for our work—responded strongly. They seemed to crave political engagement with their world but also strive to avoid the received political perspectives of their parents. For these folks, Freedom Club reverberated with a prophetic resonance." This production of Freedom Club was subsequently performed at the Connelly Theatre in New York City.