Living surrounded by secrets is a weird existence. Ask any resident of Oak Ridge, TN, the city established in the early 1940s as a base for the Manhattan Project. The parents of writer/performer Jon Morris (Fuerzabruta, Cirque du Soleil, Theatre de la Jeune Lune) moved there and he was born there. The city's history and its culture of secrecy were inspiration for Atomic City, an international interdisciplinary theatre collaboration between Morris and the Danish physical theatre company Terra Nova, featuring award winning actors, dancers and musicians from the US, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Guatemala.
Atomic City is a tragic-comedy of two families (father, mother, and son; father, daughter, and son) who live in a secret city surrounded by a great wall on opposite sides of a fence. The families work for the same "Cause" and for the same person, the Gatekeeper, who uses the families' slight differences to breed suspicion, fear, and eventually hatred as they unknowingly help him build a bomb. Bohr and his wife may beam about such "homey" comforts as her delicious pecan pies, but Oak Ridge is only a Norman Rockwell world as it might have been written by the magical realist Haruki Murakami. Or rather, it's like Dr. Suess' "Butter Battle Book," where small conflicts escalate from small unimportant issues to grotesque exaggerations. The piece employs simple poetic scenarios mixed with total-theater experiences, beautiful choreography, live music, and interactive games. At one point, a water weapons arms race culminates in an interactive game of Battleship.
The artists define their stage-language as Interactive Choreographic Theatre, where different art forms do not stand alone but fuse to create the world of the play. Dance, theatre, video, text, and acrobatics all intertwine to tell the story.