The Hive Project

In the fall of 2012, three Los Angeles-based writers—Guy Zimmerman, Gray Palmer and Rachel Jendrzejewski—joined forces to develop The Hive Project, a triptych of new plays exploring the link between theatrical drama and the sociality of bees. Adapting some of the techniques seminal playwright and director Bertolt Brecht developed in his Lehrstuck or “learning plays” of the late 1920s, the collaborators created three short plays that engage with philosophical and political issues linked to the long and rich history of human-bee interactions. A premise of the project is that the single mind created by an audience watching a play resembles the “hive mind” that organizes the collective behavior of bees. These plays seek to shed light on those habits of thought currently preventing us from responding adequately to the interlocking environmental crises of our time, such as the “colony-collapse disorder” (CCD) currently decimating bee populations world-wide, with disadvantaged human populations positioned to bear the brunt of the social costs. A collaborative theater-music piece, The Hive Project also gives expression to the anguish many feel about our inability to respond adequately to the devastating impact we are having on living systems globally. In the summer and fall of 2013, Padua Playwrights hosted workshops of the plays with a versatile ensemble of actors and musicians. Toward the end of this phase, minimalist lab performances were presented at the Silver Lake Library and downtown music venue “the wulf.” In October, the work was shared at the University of Notre Dame by invitation of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA), where audience members described the work-in-progress as “amazing,” “powerful,” and “timely.” Development of the project is on-going. Other collaborators to date include the actors Max Faugno, Alana Dietze and Corryn Cummins, the cellist April Guthrie, the saw player Janeen Rae Heller, and the composer Theo Goddell. Patrick Halm, filmmaker, artist and bee keeper, provided apicultural advice.