600 Highwaymen "Manmade Earth" (Nov 16-18, 2018)

Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone (a.k.a. 600 Highwaymen) at audience Q&A following performance of Manmade Earth.

Manmade Earth is at the intersection of performance and installation. A guided performance that is created by the attending audience, this piece continues 600 Highwaymen’s singular trajectory of making work both for and by community. The audience that comes together for the performance are the authors of the work.

In this piece, an ever-shifting landscape of objects and materials are manipulated by the audience. Manmade Earth examines the evolution of our society; how we come together to create what we could not on our own. Buildings get built, destroyed, built again. How do the structures that we make push us together or keep us apart?

600 Highwaymen and the cast of Manmade Earth

600 Highwaymen is theater artists Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone. Working with a cast of teenagers from Lafayette International High School and elsewhere--some of them refugees--they developed Manmade Earth during their CAI artist residency in cooperation with Torn Space Theater. They also collaborated with students from UB School of Architecture, who designed sets that could be constructed by the performers as part of the performance.

Of course, things did not always go as planned. During an audience Q&A following the performance, the Highwaymen noted that when they first came to Buffalo this summer, they had a pretty good idea what they thought they were going to do. Then they started working with the students and realized that the text didn't work. So they threw out their script and started over. The result was moving and spontaneous and revealing. 


Since 2009, the duo’s 8 original works have been seen at The Public Theater, Abrons Arts Center, The Invisible Dog, American Repertory Theater, AT&T Performing Arts Center, Museum of Contemporary Art, On The Boards, Walker Arts Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, Torn Space Theater; and Internationally, at Centre Pompidou and Parc de la Villette (France), Festival Theaterformen (Germany), Noorderzon Festival (The Netherlands), Zürcher Theater Spektakel (Switzerland), Onassis Cultural Centre (Greece), In BetweenTime International Festival (UK), OzAsia Festival (Australia), Salzburg Festival (Austria), and The Arts Center at Abu Dhabi (UAE). In addition to an Obie Award in 2014 and Zurich’s ZKB Patronage Prize in 2015, Browde and Silverstone were named artist fellows by the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2016.

Abby and Michael live in Brooklyn, NY with a dog named Pablo.

About Torn Space Theater

Located in Buffalo, New York, Torn Space Theater (TST) is committed to bringing innovative performance to both our community and to the world.

Torn Space Theater aims to create original, aesthetically innovative performances; to introduce internationally-renowned, contemporary performance to Western New York; and to cultivate the collaboration of actors, composers, sculptors, video artists and designers within our productions. Drawing from the leading edge of the global avant-garde, TST offers both original drama and new interpretations of existing plays. Using vivid imagery that both entertains and challenges our audience’s theatrical expectations, TST fully incorporates other arts disciplines—e.g., media, music, and the visual arts—into our design aesthetic.