Originally performed as one 24-hour performance, theater artist Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music was presented in Philadelphia as two 12-hour performances in June of 2018. Through participation, extreme duration, and a constructed sense of ritual, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated work upends audience expectations, stimulating emotions and new consideration for things Mac says are “forgotten, dismissed, or buried.” In these interview excerpts, Mac talks about how the unpredictability of this mode of theater can subvert the familiar and “kick people out of their 40-hour work week.”
Mac explains where a 12- or 24-hour duration can take viewers and why that’s a place worth visiting.
Theater artist Taylor Mac explains how durational work affects the audience experience. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on May 26, 2018.
Mac discusses how the open-ended nature of participatory theater can evoke new questions and modes of understanding.
Theater artist Taylor Mac discusses how participatory theater can evoke new modes of understanding. Filmed at The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on May 26, 2018.
Taylor Mac is an award-winning playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. In 2018 with the support of a Center Project grant, the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts staged the Philadelphia premiere of Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music as two 12-hour performances. The immersive work examines the complicated nature of American identity and features hundreds of popular songs from 1776 to present.