Single Carrot stages theater revolution
When members of Single Carrot Theatre put on Illuminoctem last November, they used a classic storyline — destiny brings boy and girl together, they fall in love at first sight and, despite adversity, are united in the end.
But the way the story was told showcased the group’s unique style. The play was completely wordless, and actors moved across stage with a mix of contemporary, interpretive and African dance moves. The beat of drums and an original composition by Jesse Case (Thtr’07) pulsed in the background.
The originality, edginess and energy of the performance perfectly represent the faces behind Single Carrot: 10 CU graduates, most of them theater majors, who decided to make their own rules in the theater world by starting a brand new company.
“We discovered that if we all came together we could create amazing projects,” company member Margaret “Giti” Lynn Jabaily (Thtr’05) says. “We wanted to give ourselves the opportunity we had been looking for.”
After graduation the group went through a list of 50 potential cities before settling on Baltimore. The city wasn’t already saturated with theaters, making it a place where they felt they could truly make an impact in the community. That desire is reflected in the theater’s name, Single Carrot, which was taken from a quote by French painter Paul Cézanne, “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”
“It stuck with us, looking at an everyday image of a carrot and having the idea that one day it could be looked at in a different light so much that it could start a revolution,” company member Elliott Rauh (Engl, Thtr’05) says.
The theater occupies a space in the new city-designated arts district, and three years after beginning the venture, Single Carrot has rocketed into the city’s performing arts scene. The company performs to sold-out audiences, has won accolades from Baltimore’s City Paper and Broadwayworld.com and even snagged the attention of the The New York Times.
Each company member plays lead roles, supporting parts and directs for different plays. Whether they’re reworking old classics or putting on original productions, they try to push the envelope and aren’t afraid to take on shows with violence or nudity.
With ambitious plans to offer more performances and theater classes for kids and adults, plus an endless amount of passion and excitement, the group members see the sky as the limit for Single Carrot’s future.
“I’m working with some of the arts leaders who will shape the way America sees theater in the future,” Elliott says. “And the fact that I get to call them my friends and make crazy, silly art with them every day is pretty much the greatest thing ever.”