Enter the ZOO MOTEL with Theatre Exile

From April 15 through May 2, 2021, South Philadelphia theater company Theatre Exile will present an exclusive, limited engagement of the sensational Zoom production of Zoo Motel.  

Zoo Motel is an inventive theatrical event created by director, designer, and performer Thaddeus Phillips in collaboration with multidisciplinary, Philadelphia-based artist Steven Dufala and the show’s director Tatiana Mallarino. This is Phillips’s first production with Theatre Exile.  

Zoo Motel debuted in the fall of 2020 as a quarantined experiment offering a glimpse into what’s possible for live performances — a world where audiences from around the globe can share a mind-bending adventure in the comfort of their own home. Broadcast from a studio apartment in a South American village, Zoo Motel is an intimate show performed for a maximum of 25 participants. Audience members check into a mysterious motel that’s full of surprises.

Sometime Phindie writer Josh Herren wrote: “Phillips, cocreator and director Tatiana Mallarino, and their team have mastered the art of Zoom. The camera pans, set pieces float in, and lights change. Rather than place the limitations of live theater onto a webcast, they have made something surprising, magical, and theatrical in its own right. Steven Dufala’s interiors bend the mind and delight the eye, allowing Phillips to turn his one-room studio in Cajicá, Colombia, into a motel, a drive-in movie theater, an airplane, and more. It is in these moments of slow, camera-panning scene changes that we feel most like we are in a theater again.”

To help the show stand out, Phillips enlisted popular magician Steve Cuiffo to create a series of interactive magic tricks and illusions that have delighted audiences throughout Zoo Motel’s international run. Cuiffo is one of the leading sleight-of-hand artists in New York City. 

A vital part of the production was bringing in Steve Dufala to create a mind-altering set. Working with Phillips, he helped transform an ordinary studio apartment into a magical motel room where time stops,  enigmatic stories emerge, and analog objects take on their own potent meaning.  

Rounding out Zoo Motel’s crew are dancers Fernando Careaga and Katya Humenyuk, who collaborated with Phillips to develop the show’s movements. They previously worked with Phillips on Antropoceno at Madrid’s Teatro La Abadia. 

Tickets are $40 and available at theatreexile.org/shows/zoo-motel

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