Sketch of a door with the lettering "No Place To Go"

No Place to Go is an artist-made haunted house where unrealized fears manifest in an immersive world driven by choice-making and the horror of the binary. A collaborative project co-directed by Serena Chopra, Kate Speer and Frankie Toan, No Place to Go will premiere in October 2020. The work merges the absurdist storytelling of dance-theatre with tactile, interactive visual art installations to create environments where the audience can examine and embrace the interaction between fear and desire.

The project will premiere just before the presidential election. The work will be a timely commentary on the limitations and fears inherent in our political “choices.” In the shadow of the impending election, we are confronted with our fraught participation in the nation state and will necessitate radical, queer modes for re-imagining the relationship of our bodies to our haunted (national) home.

Through queering the haunted house experience, this project will offer a critical look into the cultural fears of bodies in oppressive sociopolitical spaces. In a typical haunted house, viewers are faced with culturally dominant fears that take the form of recognizably scary objects and scare tactics, such as zombies, chainsaws and demons. Alternately, No Place to Go will connect audiences to internal landscapes of fear, allowing them to experience the ultimate fear that there is no place to be, no place to go for certain bodies in oppressive sociopolitical spaces.

Co-directors, Serena Chopra, Kate Speer, and Frankie Toan discuss the vision and inspiration for No Place to Go.

Artists

Frankie Toan | Co-Director & Collaborator

Based in Denver, Frankie Toan (they/them/theirs) is an artist working mostly with craft and DIY materials and techniques to create large plush sculptures, interactive works, and immersive installations. Frankie holds a BFA in Craft/Material studies from Virginia Commonwealth University, with a minor in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s studies. Their current body of work consists of elongated or engorged body parts tied, arranged, and installed in conversation with each other, creating fantasy bodies. Frankie has participated in many group shows and collaborations nationwide. Recent projects include a commission for Meow Wolf’s Kaleidoscape immersive ride at Elitch Gardens and their public art installation “Public Bodies” for Between Us Alleys, a citywide art intervention. They have had residencies at RedLine (CO) and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts (TN). An avid mystery theatre fan, Frankie has written 3 mystery theatre plots, including the collaborative production [Colony 933].

Serena Chopra | Co-Director & Collaborator

Serena Chopra (she/her/hers) is a multidisciplinary artist. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Denver, an MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a 2011-2013 Redline artist in Residence, a 2016-2017 Fulbright Scholar (Bangalore, India), and has received a month-long artist residency at Understudy Denver for September 2020. She has two books, This Human (Coconut Books 2013) and Ic (Horse Less Press 2017), as well as two films, Dogana/Chapti (2018, winner of ArtHyve’s Archives as Muse Film grant, Official Selection at Frameline43, Oregon Documentary Film Festival, Seattle Queer Film Festival, Nahia Film Festival and Cinema Diverse) and Mother Ghosting (2018). She is an 8-year company member with Evolving Doors Dance and was recently a featured artist in Harper’s Bazaar (India) as well as in the Denver Westword’s “100 Colorado Creatives.” She has forthcoming publications in Foglifter and Matters of Feminist Practice (Belladonna). Serena is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Seattle University.

Kate Speer | Co-Director & Collaborator

Kate Speer (she/her/hers) is a dancer, choreographer, and organizer based in Denver, CO. She has had residencies at RedLine (CO), PlatteForum (CO), Middlebury College (VT), Swarthmore College (PA), and Mascher Space Cooperative (PA), all of which emphasize community engagement that is inherent in her dancemaking. Often self-producing in DIY spaces, her own choreography has been supported by National Performance Network Creation Fund, Colorado Creative Industries Career Advancement Grant, and the Puffin Foundation, and has been presented at Performatica (Cholula, Mexico), Boulder International Fringe Festival (CO), Philly Fringe (PA), ETC Performance Series (PA), and FAB Dance Showcase (ME). Always seeking collaborative performance projects, she directed [Colony 933], an immersive mystery dance-theatre conceived of and created collectively with 20 different artists in visual, performance, and music. She has had the pleasure to perform in work by Gesel Mason Performance Projects, Ondine Geary, Raja Feather Kelly, Tania Isaac, and Claudia Lavista.