Big Changes for DAT

From November 12, 2011

Hi Friends!

We have some big changes happening here at DAT.

If you haven’t seen already, the website is getting a supreme overhaul! Mary K is studying Arts Management at UMass, and thanks to her strategic planning class, we are filling up the pages with new text. Jesse has been working around the clock to make the updates a reality. So give the new site a spin, and please excuse our dust as things continue to get updated.

We’re going to Slovakia!! We are taking a team of highly talented artists through Slovakia for ten days in January to explore the culture and terrain and gain inspiration for personal projects. We are very excited!

Ecuador is in high demand and this summer we are preparing to deliver! Projects will include a Passenger Project to the Galapagos, a Teaching Artist Residency to Quilotoa, and a Mask Dance Intensive. We’ll keep you posted with new info!

Edinburgh! We’re heading there for the Fringe Festival!!! So many updates are on the way!

We’re getting puppets! It’s going to be amazing!

Ahhhhhh! So much excitement! Check out the changes and stay tuned for more!

And, if you haven’t ‘liked’ us on Facebook, please do so. It’s the fastest way to hear breaking news 

Fundraising Goal Help- ACTion: Ecuador

From March 3, 2010

Hi everyone,

We’re in full swing getting ready for ACTion: Ecuador 2010.  All you in-kind donors out there, get ready for the new in-kind list, coming in the next few weeks.  We’re talking with community leaders to find out exactly what they’d like us to target (but SOCKS and INSTRUMENTS are going to be huge, so start collecting).  You did a great job last year and we’re looking forward to seeing what we’ll bring again this year.

To ACTion Artists who might be raising funds, and sending them in:

Here are some easy ways to meet your goals. If you have people interested in making credit card donations, I highly recommend collecting them on your own personal “Chip In” page.  It’s really easy to set up, and done through PayPal, so it’s totally safe and secure!

Here is DAT’s ChipIn- great way to get your funds in on time using a credit card.

We are getting so excited!  The casts are really coming together nicely, and play to announce them on March 18th.  Can’t wait to see what you create!

Let me know if you have any questions or need anything at all!

Good Luck,

Mary K

P.S.  Have you joined the Facebook Fan Page yet?  Great way for Traveling Artists and Fans to get updates!

The night the lights went out in Quito

From December 3, 2009

Jesse and I have been having a great time networking in Quito and setting things up for next year!  We love coming back to a place that feels so familiar.  We’re staying at the Grinn House (Pronounced GREEN House), where our artists stayed last year, and eating at the “fish place” and the Mongolian BBQ- places we know and love.  But, one thing is different this time around..

Electricity Cuts!

Quito gets a lot of rain-  47.5 inches Average Annually- so they have installed a hydro-electric system.  It’s pretty cool, and very smart in my opinion, that they’re using their natural resources.  Unfortunately, because of global warming, their rain fall has severly plummeted in the last few months.  J and I have found ourselves in two extremely heavy rainfalls since we’ve been here, but that still doesn’t seem to be enought to get the power working again.  Luckily, in most of Quito, water is heater and food is cooked with gas, but still many businesses run on electricity.

We spoke at length with our travel agent, Lorena from Tierra del Fuego, about how the cuts effect her and her business.  Different districts have different cut times, for example The Grinn House gets cut from 8-10am.  Lorena’s business is in a district which gets cut from 7-9am and her home district cuts from 6-11pm.  This means she is effected by the cuts twice!  There was no choice for her but to find a generator– which, of course, in the height of electricity cuts is impossible.  She actually called out to her employees in the Galapagos who found ONE, the last one in the shop, for her.  They cost from $900 to $1000 bucks.  She said the government is currently purchasing a bunch from Colombia and Peru and getting them shipped in, so hopefully that will relieve some of the strain.

We also had to visit DAT’s emergency dentist, Dra. Karla, because Jesse was having a lot of pain which resulted in a wisdom tooth removal.  Dra. Karla’s office is in a district which gets cut between 10 am and 5 pm.  Can you imagine?  Her office is only open from 9-10 am and 5-7 pm!  How can she get any work done, I asked her?  In order for us to get cleanings, a filling repair for me and his extraction- we have literally been there 4 times!

But, what is there to do?  Simply wait for the lights to come back on.  Jesse and I might grab a rain stick at the market and do a little rain dance in Quilotoa!

Quito- Market Day

From December 2, 2009

This is our third time in Quito and when you walk down the isle of market stalls, things begin to look the same.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s full of little gems, it just gets harder and harder to find something new and interesting.

We bought a christmas tree at the market

I actually think there’s a hump.  You keep climbing and climbing until all of a sudden, all the normal market things blend together and you start to only see new things.  (For example, we bought our x-mas tree today.)

The newest thing in the market is the giant shell in which the tagua seed is found.  After being astounded by the amount of these giant shells we were seeing, we finally had to take a photo.

I see this as one of the benefits to really dedicating a large amount of time to a particular culture.  We’ve spent a lot of time here, but I think any of our artists would say they learned more than if they had only traveled here as a backpacker.  When you take 3 weeks (in ACTion: Ecuador’s case) and commit your time and mind to experiencing a new culture, that’s really the time when you find those little gems.

Mary K with the Tagua Shell

ACTion: Ecuador 2010

From November 7, 2009

Are YOU Ready for ACTion?

Jesse and I sure are!  We’re here in beautiful Medellin, Colombia researching a DAT project, but we took the day to reformulate the ACTion pages on the website.  After ACTion ’09, we asked everyone to fill out surveys about things they loved about the ACTion ’09 project and things we should change for next year.  Now that we’re all up to date, let me tell you some of the exciting plans for ACTion:Ecuador 2010.

More time to explore Quito

Quito is the thriving cultural capital of Ecuador.  Jesse and I will be heading there in a few weeks to begin exploring a selection of museums and art exhibits.  Before leaving for Ecuador, you will work with you director and cast to create an itinerary of cultural exploration.  This will 1- get your cast focused pre-trip by beginning to think about how you’d like to approach your work and 2- help you make the most of your time in Quito.

More Masters Classes in Quilotoa

This beautiful Andean community is where you will learn from world renowned teacher, Wolf- etc, the art and history of the mask dance.  Wolf will help us choose our wooden masks by by sharing with us the meaning of each animal or human character and will then help us with a fitting of foam and elastic.

Changes in Quilotoa include a shorter stay (as we finished the community center last year) to enable us more service time in our second week destinations; one-stop-lodging, we will stay together with our casts in conjoined cabins; a mixture of group prepared means; the mask workshop will now include a mask; in addition to mask dance, you will have two more masterclasses led by DAT company members: First the “Teaching Workshop” led by DAT’s Director of Education, Christen Madrazo, in which you will learn teaching techniques DAT’s staff have developed and used in Zimbabwe and Ecuador and have the opportunity to share techniques that you have learned as well.  You will then utilize these teaching skills with Christen’s supervision and guidance in Quilotoa, but then your skills will be put to the test on your second week adventure.  Second the “Playwriting Workshop” with DAT’s Resident Playwright, Jason B. Williamson, who will challenge your cast to create a dynamic piece by teaching you the basics of play structure.  Jason will give you practical skills that you will utilize during your creation process.

More Service in Mindo

Mindo can be a very intense part of the trip, particularly if your cast isn’t far along in the piece, but for many artists last year, Mindo was lacking a key element, more community time.  Christen, the teaching host, has been working with schools in Mindo and the teachers are thrilled to allow us into their classrooms.  Each director will work with Christen to balance rehearsal with school time, and -of course- adventure and relaxation.

More Mindo updates:  Playwright and Dramaturg, Jason B. Williamson will be in Mindo and will work with you and your director to clean the piece, help with polishing and tighten the script and execution.  Artistic Director Jesse Baxter will also be here to help with last minute bumps in the play and to make sure you’re ready for New York City.


We understand that many artists spend a lot of time researching their second week adventure so we’ve added more days to this portion of the trip.  Here are some more improvements we’re making to the second week adventures:

Esmeraldas- The Coast

This years Esmeraldian Adventure will include more teaching and service days and a trip to a new local beach, which will be determined on our next few weeks during the ACTion ’10 preparation.  This section will continue to include a workshop with Hugo Arias Bones, Artistic Director of Esmeraldas based Teatro La Catanga, a theatre company committed to informing the community of social issues through theatre.

La Selva- The Jungle

DAT has had a long and happy relationship with the La Selva Jungle Lodge, a beautiful eco lodge committed to environmental sustainability while sharing while sharing the jungle with nature enthusiasts.  We first found the lodge through their foundation who is working to aid the El Pilche community.  While we will continue to work at this lodge, we will be adding a second lodge to our jungle experience.  This will mean the La Selva artists will fly to Coca, visit one lodge, spend one night at a river hotel in Coca, and travel to a second lodge before flying back to Quito.  Details on this new lodge coming soon.

Galapagos- The Islands

During our last trip to San Cristobal, Galapagos’s oldest inhabited island, we had the great pleasure of working with Hacienda Tranquilla.  In addition to overall community involvement, this amazing foundation is working to reintroduce the islands endemic (natural) species, including the poison apple tree, a main dish for the Galapagos turtle.  More days in the islands allow for more time working with the local and international volunteers, exploring local stories and the island itself by boat, on foot, by truck, and on horseback.

*Note: we will only open 2 of the 16 casts for Galapagos, 12 artists in total, during Groups 1 and 2.

Lagos- The Petrified Forest

This new stop on our ACTion exploration is currently being developed and will only be open to ACTion ’09 alumni.  This years cheapest trip option at $3,000, it will only be open to 2 casts of returning artists (12 actors total.)  Details coming mid-January.

Stay tuned for more updates as Jesse and I travel throughout the country solidifying plans and contacts.


From September 14, 2008

Hi again from DAT, we’ve got a lot of exciting things happening right now.

1st- we hired the first two Directors for the Action Project. We’re so excited to welcome Jennifer Wren and Jon Campbell to our team of traveling artists. Many many details on these two amazing artist to come.

2nd- we’re gearing up for the College Tour. Jesse and I leave on Monday (tomorrow) to start our journey and will be in Denver on Tuesday, and Boulder on Thursday, and then back to Denver the following week. We hope to talk with at least 7 programs (school or theatre companies) while we’re there and have meetings set up with 4 (we have plenty of time, we’ll be there from the 17th-26th of September). If you know any schools in Denver, or in any of the places on the College Tour that you think might be interested in meeting with us and learning about the program, let us know.

Also- if you know of some schools in places we won’t be going, send us some contact people and we’d be happy to send along some brochures to you to talk to the schools or for us or we’ll even just send the brochures to them.

This is a different kind of project than DAT has ever done. It’s going to take all of us to band together to make this a huge success. In doing so we will not only effect DAT’s traveling artist staff, and the lives of the 128 Theatre Students who come on the trip, but we will also make a huge change for the people in Quilotoa, Esmeraldas, El Pilche and Isla San Cristobal.

This project will help so many people, and if we all band together, it will be a success!

3rd- Are you reading this right now? Have you read other posts and looked at the cool photos?

Then leave us a comment!!!! Let me know who’s out there listening so I can gear my info to what you care about!

Thanks for reading, and supporting us, and helping us continue our goals of ACTing to EMPOWER VOICES!.

Looking forward to your comments,

Mary K.

Managing Director



From September 2, 2008

This is a blog for EVERYONE, although, we’re going to start talking about a topic that every WOMEN understands…


We’ve all been in a situation where we needed to use the restroom and there wasn’t a good option near by. Sometimes, you just can’t hold it.

Take Mary-

Mary’s a normal person, she drinks water and then she has to tinkle. Mary found herself in an uncomfortable situation one day while working with school kids in Ecuador. Mary needed to tinkle, and the nearby facilities were not up to… her standards of cleanliness. Let us add- Mary is very sensitive to bad smells, and couldn’t even overcome her sensitivities to use the toilet, so she decided to squat outside. This is the result, tinkle on her shoe.

Unfortunately, Mary forgot something at home. Something that would have saved her the embarrassment of walking around the rest of the day wearing a sprinkle from her tinkle. She forgot her Whiz!

The glorious staff at Whiz Freedom had donated this amazing product to Dramatic Adventure Theatre for the trip to Ecuador and the result is this: These four female traveling artists have discovered a product that will be in their lives forever!

Now, unfortunately, Mary was without her beloved Whiz while in Ecuador, but since our return, she hasn’t been without it for one day. Not only has she used it while in the bushes, but she’s also used it many times in her home city of New York.

“You would think a city as big as NY would have proper facilities,” Mary says, “but that’s not always the case. I’ve used my Whiz at port-a-potties and other dirty places, as well as restrooms where there isn’t enough space to sit down comfortably.”

Mary received her Whiz as a birthday gift and used it for 4 months before the team departed for Ecuador, but the rest of the girls took a little warming up.

Lydia was the first one to try. She used in the first week in Quito after we saw an adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. We didn’t think she’d do, she thought it was crazy, but she just bit the bullet, what was the worst that could happen? She’d pee on herself? Oh well. She went for it, and boy is she glad she did!

“When I first looked at my Whiz Easy in my travel backpack, I thought to myself, hmm I don’t think I’ll be using this,” Lydia says. “Sealed in its plastic pouch, the electric purple pee funnel just didn’t seem like something I would have the guts to try. Then, we landed in Ecuador. I thought, I’m adventerous, I’m confident in my womanhood, I can try something daring. So in a little dirty stall in Quito Ecuador, I ventured into new territory — I used my Whiz Easy. Admitedly, it was awkward at first with numerous questions and experiments to achieve the utmost efficiency. But with a few days, I felt like a pro. That little purple plastic wonder not only saved me from the tiny, shockingly unsanitized stalls of the cities, but more importantly, the countless variety of rainforest ground critters (particularly the Amazonian bullet ants whose bites apparently feel akin to a bulletwound). I have indeed entered a new phase of womanhood when I can pee like a man! Thanks Whiz Easy”

Leslie, with her WHIZ, on a hike in Mindo

Leslie was the next one to try. It took her until Quilotoa, three and a half weeks in. We were walking the mile or so it took to get to the school where we working. A group of girls went off the road a bit to relieve themselves. Leslie tried to use her Whiz, but just couldn’t take the idea of standing up. What if she peed all over her pants? She’d have to spend the rest of the day in them. She decided to squat. Later that day, she went for it, and not a moment too soon.

“I was apprehensive at first. I approached the use of this seemingly innocuous purple funnel with the same trepidation as one would exercise when jumping off a cliff or, say, confronting a gorilla. So much so, that I braved the dirty bathrooms, covered in germs—exposed my bare ass for the entire world to see whilst squatting amidst unknown plants, burrs, twigs in an unfamiliar country.

“When I found myself working with school children in the Andes mountains, where plumbing and running water (being a new fangled and recent edition to the community) made taking a tinkle an everyday battle with all that is germ-ey and unhygienic in this world. (That’s right, it was just like any other school in the world; kids just don’t flush…or wash their hands!) Though I was nervous at first, I realized, as I felt the warm liquid slide through the (very sanitary) whiz ez funnel in one perfect stream into the gaping hole of an Andean toilet, that it was the best invention ever and my new best friend. From that point on I carried mywhiz ez as a badge of honor. Whether in my bag walking through the streets of the capital or in my back pocket during a trek through the jungle, I was never without my plastic, purple friend. In fact, now that I am back in New York City, I find myself seriously considering carrying the whiz around on a Friday or Saturday when confronted with odiously long lines at the Ladies bathrooms. How easy would it be to just jump into the men’s line!” – Leslie

Rachel was the last one to experiment with her Whiz. Although she carried it with her everyday, it wasn’t until the Galapagos, on Isla Isabella, a whopping FIVE-WEEKS into our trip, when Rachel finally bit the bullet and tried out this crazy contraption.

“I decided to go for it and use my whiz easy after getting off a really bumpy boat ride. I walked down a planked path until I got to a secluded bridge and to my utter amazement, I succeeded in peeing off the side of the bridge without taking any of my clothes off. I try not to think about all the times I could have made my life easier with the whiz, and I try only instead to think about how happy I am to have it in my future.”- Rachel

Although it took a little getting used to, the girls had an amazing time with their Whiz Freedoms and are so grateful to everyone at the company for donating them and for supporting our project.

Thanks Whiz Freedom!

OOOOH, I just found a BONUS (Jonas). Here’s one of Mary using the WHIZ over the side of a boat:

when you've got to go, you've got to go!

when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go!

Uncle Tim

From August 15, 2008

I’d like to send out a big THANK YOU from the DAT team to our wonderful Translator/ Friend/ Guide/ Brother/ Problem Solver/ Crazy Uncle Tim!

Tim traveled with us throughout Ecuador, planning things, helping us talk to people, solving many a “crisis”, and just plain being fun to hang out with.

He popped into our trip and kept popping up, saving the day, for the whole 2 months we were in the country.

So, let’s try this on for size:

Muchas Gracias Timateo. Tu eres el mejor persona para ayudar nuestro grupo por todo tiempo estamos en el pais de Ecuador. Muchas Gracias por tu presencia en nuestro grupo. Te quierimos, y nada persona mas de Maria! Tu eres me hermano favorito, muchas gracias!

Hope that was correct! Thank you again so so much!

Contact DAT

Flight 360

From July 6, 2008

Here are some great show shots from our play!

The girls, backstage

The girls, backstage



ooh, the stars in Ecuador

ooh, the stars in Ecuador

Mi gut esta muy fuerte!

Mi gut esta muy fuerte!





You must look!

You must look!

The Doctor

The Doctor

eww- the first make-up in two months

eww- the first make-up in two months

And then there’s the AFTER PARTY! (aka- the “real” world)

Andy and Leslie

Andy and Leslie

Cleve and Rachel

Cleve and Rachel w/ Rach’s sister Jacqueline

Jeremy and Lydia

Jeremy and Lydia w/ a friend, Ashley, in the back

Jesse and Mary K

Jesse and Mary K

hanging out...

hanging out…

and having FUN!

and having FUN!

More photos of the show will be added to our photobucket page. For more information about the show, click “Flight 360“.

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