Tectonic Theater Project



Making Tectonic Moments

Since 1991, Moisés Kaufman’s Tectonic Theater Project has created some of the most thrilling and important American theater of our day, simultaneously building a wholly unique methodology for developing, analyzing, and re-imagining theater called Moment Work™. Moment Work has been used to create all of Tectonic’s pieces including The Laramie Project Cycle, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, I Am My Own Wife, and 33 Variations. 

Moment Work serves as the foundation for all of Tectonic’s new play development, education initiatives, and community engagement programming. Moment Work experiments with theatrical form by calling for simultaneous exploration of design and narrative. It utilizes all the elements of the stage on equal footing, encouraging designers, actors, writers, and directors to collaborate on an investigation of the full narrative and sensory potential of the stage.

What does Moment Work look like?

Barbara Pitts McAdams, original cast member of The Laramie Project, speaks about creating the opening Moment of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later:


“Seated downstage, the opening speech wasn’t landing. We tried different edits and various acting notes, but it remained static and unengaging. So I thought about the non-text elements that could help the storytelling. I asked myself, ‘What is Wyoming like? Windy, sunny, cold, prairie-covered. What is this speaker like? She’s intellectual, but also loves to hike.’ And through that exploration, I made a Moment.


I put on a puffy Northface jacket. I began offstage, and said, ‘Lights up on the wide, blue Wyoming sky. Sound cue: the Wyoming wind.” I then moved slowly through the space, amidst chairs, as if hiking on the prairie, taking in the sun and wind, deep in thought. I paused, looked to the audience and spoke.


Using Moment Work, a theatrical world emerges and story unfolds, with or without text.”

How can you learn to make Moments?


Tectonic hosts its own Training Labs in addition to traveling to schools and communities nationwide to teach Moment Work. The goal for each Training Lab is to give artists at both the educational and professional levels the practical tools they need to integrate this new theatrical vocabulary into the creation of original work, or apply it to preexisting texts to achieve works of the highest theatrical power.


For more information, contact education@tectonictheaterproject.org.


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