When we visited Melissa Flower at Obsidian Art Space last week, she didn't want to divulge much about Hypocrite: A Sketchy Comedy, the new play she co-created and is now co-directing and—as of last night—performing in. But we managed to get some information out of her. Hypocrite is an original full-length performance piece that explores love and loss, the fallability of memory, and imagination.
Flower describes the work as semi-autobiographical. She and Dallas-based playwright and stand-up comedian Thomas Ward are the primary writers, but this production features many voices and inspirations, including the play's actors, a girl Flower attended conservatory with, and even some strangers. “I like to think that everyone I talk to has collaborated in a way," she says. "Because it’s memoir, it can contain a lot of different stories within it.”
The play, starring Flower, Thomas Ward, Lindsay Ehrhardt and Andrew Love, has minimal dialogue, no character names, no one director—each performer contributes—and no set. “We love the look of the theater itself. The pine wall at Obsidian Theater is stunning," she says, adding that they're "treating the theater as if it were a site-specific space.”
Flower's brand of theater is a study in temporal and spatial awareness, improvisation, innovation and investigation, flexibility and artistic autonomy. The play developed as the Obsidian actors explored these concepts. “All of a sudden we weren’t just doing theater," she says. "We were painting and singing, and we were able to jump into different art fields. It could all be in there.”
“It’s complicated and hard, but really rewarding and different.”
June 17–27. Wed–Sat 8 p.m. All performances are pay-what-you-can. Industry Night takes place Monday, June 22, at 8 p.m. Obsidian Theater, 3522 White Oak Dr. 832-889-7837. obsidiantheater.org