Immersion Performance

 

Trying to explain Dead White Zombies is no easy task: the local avant-garde theater troupe isn’t just avant-garde: they’re wild. They aren’t just a “theater” troupe — they exist in site-specific installations. And, well, they aren’t strictly about acting, either: they perform, they create, they move, they make music, and they challenge everything you think you know about the arts. 

Dallas Observer

Holy Bone

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

There are no comfy seats, glossy playbills or curtain calls. They’ve long jettisoned those theatrical touchstones. Though there are scenic elements, they occur in concert with their environment like art installations taking advantage of the buildings, the neighborhood and even the time of day. The dusk night sky lends itself to stunning visuals of downtown in particular. The immersive environments allow for more varied sensory input than traditional theatre. Soundscapes are employed in many of the locations with an emphasis on blurring boundaries of the noise of the environs be they physical or mental. In one stunningly vast room, the quiet was engulfing on the night I walked through. In another, the source of sound was moved around the audience instead. There are locations that traffic in olfactory overload like incense. Sprinkled along the way are interactive moments from the tactile to taste (homebrew Ginger Ale, Anyone?). Be ready for anything. You’ll need more than sensible shoes for this journey.

Theatre Jones

 

Holy Bone

Phase 1: Far Side of Consciousness Assembly Meetings

Series of unannounced public performance provocations, which served as a prelude to the Holy Bone performance. In this sense, it doesn’t matter if anyone notices the Holy Bone performers—or “Boners,” as Riccio refers to them. These performers do share something with the shamanistic figures that inspired them, insofar as they are not so much meant to be characters as symbolic actors, and their actions point our awareness beyond our experience of the physical world toward the suggestion of some metaphysical other.

You might encounter them; you might not. You might have already encountered them without even knowing it. Their work is meant to pass in and out of notice in a way that simply disrupts normal Dallas life, casts doubt on our otherwise thoughtless experiences of the day-to-day. Holy Bone is a warning or maybe a prophecy. Beware, Dallas: things may not always be what they seem. Pay attention.

D Magazine

 

DP92

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

This is voluptuous, loopy, scintillating theatre that challenges the soul and rattles our teeth. It's black humor laced with the lyric authority of dream logic. It's metaphysical redemption masquerading as grotesque psychological quackery. It's audacious, original and implacable.

Dallas Examiner


Article in Theatre Forum International

Article in Theatre Forum International

Screen Shot 2017-08-30 at 12.29.37 PM.png
When performance increasingly shapes the actions and expressions of the everyday and when the presentations on stage are surpassed by events of the world, the function and viability of theatre must be reconsidered....This is a radical proposition requiring a fundamental reconsideration of every aspect of how theatre functions and is operated, its objectives, methods, and expressions must all be called into question. Theatre, with its long and storied lineage, from its shamanic and ritual origins to performance art, is first and foremost, a functional and practical human technology able to have real consequences in the world.
excerpt from Narrative of Place
published in Audience Revolution, TCG Press 2015

kaRaoKe MoTeL

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

At a Dead White Zombies show rules do not apply. Known for its site-specific performance installations, staged everywhere from warehouses to a former stash house. The original scripts are fluid and not confined to any one playing space; audiences are often left to wander in and out of the action, which can span rooms and even into the outdoors. And taking out your phone to post on Facebook or make a Vine is completely encouraged.

Arts and Culture Texas


Thomas Riccio loves to experiment. His reputation is so good that when he starts to dabble people ought to pay attention.            

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Bull Game

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

This thirst for faster and bigger development is assaulted head on by writer/director Thomas Riccio and his folk avant-garde theater company, Dead White Zombies (DWZ). Their self-generated, immersive production, Bull Game (winner loses action figures), puts on display the last, dying gasp of Western Civilization.

Theatre Jones

 

T.N.B.  (typical nigga behavior)

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

Written, directed, cast, and produced by Riccio and brought to life by a host of immensely talented actors, T.N.B. is frightening, sickening, humorous, unnerving, disturbing, and astonishing. No other company is experimenting with the kind of intellectually stirring and socially urgent content matter that Dead White Zombies so brazenly tackles. It is, arguably, the most significant artistic contribution to the Dallas community because of its experimentation, radicalism, and fearlessness.

Pegasus News, Dallas


His projects connect the cults and rites of natives with modern theatrical expression. For Thomas Riccio all of his travels and theatre work in the remote parts of the world have something in common. What he calls “Hubs of Memory”. There is something that links his work with the Eskimos and between the Elvis cult in Cleveland and the tribal performance of Zambia. It is not a reduction but rather a split identity that has developed between the old and new expressions, but they are all still, at their core, rites and idolatry trying to influence and make sense of our everyday life experience.

Märkische Oder-Zeitung, Frankfurt


(w)hole

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

Scenes spark around us like a long tail of igniting firecrackers. Another room is illuminated. Next, a vignette. Soon all are available for exploration. The twisting paths feel like the unfathomable tunneling of memory storage, but the lives we're moving through are not our own. Even the sound, while anchored scene by scene, bleeds gently into the next. We're fumbling into another's databank, threading together the experiences as we travel.

Dallas Observer

 

Flesh World

Dead White Zombies

Writer/Director/Installations

Flesh World keeps it real, real meta. The obscure story drops viewers into a disorienting world and demands they work to uncover their own conclusions and to form interpretations based on few narrative clues. I've yet to figure out portions - the delineations between the spiritual realm and the protagonist's own psyche - and the fact that it's still on my mind speaks to the impression it imparts.

Dallas Observer


Dead White Zombies is one of the most interesting theater companies in North Texas, offering immersive experiences and so-out-there-it’s-cool scripts by Thomas Riccio. Will you be talking about it for days afterwards? Definitely.

dfw.com


There is Never a Reference Point

StoryLAB

Co-Writer/Director

You've got to work with what you've got. And if you've got 10 personalities vying for top billing in your body, why not give each one its own time in the limelight. Each personality gets its own set and actors to portray it with the audience of about 40 wandering through the stages, interacting with and listening to the different parts of Jamie Dakis' everyday psyche . 

Dallas Observer