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Event Details

Join us at 123 Speakeasy for an intimate night of award-winning, provocative physical theatre. Full dining and drink service available.

Co-created by performers Jason Rosario and Nikki Muller and choreographed by Cirque du Soleil veteran Tavi Stutz, Definition of Man is an original one-act play that weaves together personal narratives and academic texts with acrobatic counterbalancing. Definition of Man premiered at the Hollywood Fringe in 2017 with an oversold run and was nominated for multiple awards including Best World Premiere and won Best of Fringe in Dance & Physical Theatre, the Cherry Poppins sponsored “Ripest Show” Award and an Encore Producers Award. Last summer, the show had its European debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where they enjoyed a successful twenty-one show run. Critics celebrated the show as a five star “unmissable” show: "A multi-sensorial journey towards the extreme boundaries of human nature, which might induce different spectators to feel raptured or repulsed" (UK's Everything Theatre).

Most recently, the show returned to Los Angeles for a limited run of the show which critics hailed as "very highly recommended" (Gia On the Move). 123 Speakeasy is excited to get to host the Michigan debut of this innovative and daring work of art.

(Note of caution: This show contains a moment of sexual violence that may be disturbing to some viewers.)

About Definition of Man, a duet in one act: A sexier, more violent Waiting for Godot, Definition of Man is a physicalized post-modern decreation myth. Drawing from Kenneth Burke’s essay of the same name, the show investigates the human drive to communicate and the inevitable breakdown that results from the inherent incompleteness of language.

The one-act was created by Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario by synthesizing personal narratives, academic texts and Russian counterbalancing to explore issues of identity, race, gender performance and communicative breakdown. In the abstracted setting of a burnt-out, post-apocalyptic ruin, the cast of two serves as a stand-in for all of humanity while grappling with their own personal struggles to maintain a sense of self in a world that has ceased to exist. In a tightly-paced narrative progression, they move and shift between verbal and physical intimacy, exploring how these intersect and overlap from start to finish. Nameless but for their titles of XX and XY, they are both universal and specific, two sides of one coin, speaking from their own divergent experiences to reach a place of mutual understanding.

Critical Praise for Definition of Man:

“The quality of writing, thought and performance going into the show...is a pleasure to see” (thescotsman.com).

"A powerful and challenging analysis of the nature of the human need to communicate and our frequent inability to be able to find the right words or take the right actions." (Backstage on the Fringe)

"Intellectual and inventive… deeply challenging and rich in its content" (A Younger Theatre)

“This self-devised one-act show has multiple tense, heart-stopping moments as the actors twist, lift and manipulate each other’s physique…impeccable fitness, balance and control” (The Outlier)

"An intelligent eulogy to life as we currently know it." (Fest Magazine)

"A rumination on love, otherness and existence, the play uses physical movement to create emotional ties between the performers and the audience. Definition of Man is the rare show that will make you think and will make you cry. This is simply a beautiful piece." (Fringe Review)

"A post-apocalyptic de-creationist, meta-narrative of the last two remaining humans, living in a ruined world, the play lives up to its intent to explore universal themes of identity, gender, race, vulnerability and the impossibility of communication." (Gia on the Move)

"A harrowing Odyssey not to conquer fanciful monsters, but the aspects of one's self when in the end there is nothing else to explore. No more words, No more scenes. In the end, movement and action and therein a hopeful truth amid nothingness." (The World Through Night Tinted Glasses)

Dress Code: Definition of Man takes place in 123 Speakeasy, a bar/restaurant. We have no dress code, but guests are always encouraged to dress to impress if they wish to take photos at the photo booth before or following the evening’s entertainment.

Minimum Age: 123 Speakeasy is a bar/restaurant. All attendees must be above 21 in age to enter. Tickets and IDs will be checked at the door. (Key holders may skip the line as usual.)

Check-In Policy: Guests should arrive between 5 - 5:45pm; the performance will begin promptly at 6pm. 

Over serving: We reserve the right to refuse service to any guests that are visibly intoxicated or disruptive. If asked to leave, guests will not receive a refund.

What to expect: The full dinner and cocktail menu will be available during the show, but we ask that guests place their orders before the show begins so as to maximize everyone’s experience. Late arrivals will be seated so as to minimize disturbance to the audience. An informal conversation with the show’s creators Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario will follow the performance.

For additional information about the show, visit www.definitionofman.com, follow on Instagram: @definitionofmantheplay, Twitter: @defofmantheplay, or Facebook facebook.com/definitionofman

Venue Information

123 West Front Street 1B
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 753-8841
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Organizer Information

123 Speakeasy

123 West Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 753-8841

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