Broken Codes

Theater Ninjas decipher the beauty and brutality of digital life in “Broken Codes”

Slate of new works reveals secret histories and perilous paths created by technology

Theater Ninjas continue their tenth year of out-of-the- ordinary experiences with Broken Codes, an immersive performance of new works melding dance, theater, music, video art, and game design with stories of digital life. This collection of multi-media short-form work by Cleveland artists highlights the conflicted relationship between technology and modern life, exploring the themes of women in tech, artificial intelligence, and the evolutionary effects of the internet.

Running from May 5 to 21 at the Rising Star Roastery, Broken Codes features a mixture of art forms using a grab-bag of styles and stories, each one providing a different perspective into the modern landscape of smart phones, social media, and the ways technology is changing who we are and how we connect.

Audiences will scroll through a collage of experiences: you might watch watch Pandora Robertson’s “Codebreakers”, a short play about three rookie female analysts thrown into the deep end of WWII cryptology at Britain’s Bletchley Park, then listen to composer Eric M. C. Gonzalez’s 360o chronology of electronic sound featuring violin, tape music, electronic synthesis, digital sampling, and interactive computer music before choosing to play “Broken Nodes”, Christopher Hisey and Ryan Lucas’ game of creating and refining your own artificial intelligence.

“Modern life is already a collage of digital and IRL communication; photos, video, text, and games are integrated into our lives, and becoming more important every day,” says Artistic Director and conceiver of Broken Codes, Jeremy Paul. “All the artists in Broken Codes are using their own language to tell a part of the story, but it’s up to each audience member to decide how they fit together.”

Broken Codes continues Theater Ninjas interest in bringing modern digital stories to the stage that began with Code: Preludes and The Turing Machine. With Broken Codes, the Ninjas are broadening the scope of their technology-focussed shows by showcasing an impressive roster of local Cleveland creators including Marcia Custer, Lauren Joy Fraley, Eric M. C. Gonzalez, Christopher Hisey, Val Kozlenko, Ryan Lucas, Jeremy Paul, and Pandora Robertson.

In keeping with their role as ‘food truck of Cleveland theater’, Theater Ninjas will be producing this explorable show at the Rising Star Coffee Roastery in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood. Rising Star Coffee Roasters is a small, local coffee roaster out of Cleveland, Ohio. They are committed to sourcing the best specialty coffee from small farmers around the world. Rising Star's business model is in place to bypass fair trade organizations and go directly to the source – the farmers.

“We’re thrilled to be performing at the beautiful Rising Star Roastery” says Paul. “Unique locations are a big part of the shows we create, and performing Broken Codes at the Roastery gives us a chance to do this show in a really unique way, supported by a great company.”

Broken Codes is sponsored in part by the Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the Cyrus Eaton Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and Rising Star Coffee Roasters. Codebreakers is a co-production with Ohio City Theatre Project.