Jan said an outlet was needed for us to grow and to express what we learned in our own words. At that time, his Atlanta students comprised a diverse group of artists, writers, physicians, attorneys, musicians, carpenters, and computer programmers, among others—with his encouragement, the group founded two experimental theaters–Evoteck in Atlanta, and Project 426 (a.k.a. OK Alright Theater) in Decatur, Georgia. Original works, designed to explore the nature of creativity and experiment with the innovative use of drama and humor to affect thought processes, were performed in these venues. Full scale productions were presented to the public, accompanied by original musical scores, elaborate sets, lighting and sound production—all written and staged by volunteer amateur artists, and reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other local press.
“From the minute we spot an eye-catching, bright yellow awning announcing the existence of EVOTECK THEATER, at the beginning of Roswell Road dead center in Buckhead—we know ‘something’s up.’ And, we know it is a plus. Consider the name: EVO, as in evolution, TECK, as in technical, THEATER, as in a place where we experience stimulation and entertainment, logically and emotionally. The Word association is marvelous. It works on our eyes, and ears.” Horace Sawyer, “The Other Side of the Lights,” Adventure Magazine, August 13, 1987.
“To borrow a phrase from the 60s, Evoteck’s ‘The Astropups: Journey to Alpha 9’ is a trip. A sci-fi romp through the galaxies of the human brain… Evoteck calls itself an experiment—a process—for each individual to become an open-ended laboratory.’” Paula Crouch, “Romping with the ‘Pups’ is a Lot of Fun,” The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, January 16, 1987.
“During its seventeen-month existence, Evoteck has presented music concerts, gallery shows, and video screenings, as well as premiering ten original plays and a comedy revue. . . ‘anything really new’ seems welcome at Evoteck, the only Atlanta theatre to produce all original locally-written scripts. Most shows have also had original musical scores. . . An early Evoteck playbill carried the motto: ‘When ennui strikes, strike back.’” The Atlantans behind this progressive theatre project seem to be successfully doing just that.”Mary Ann Groves, “What the Heck is Evoteck?” Southline, May 11, 1988.
“With Joseph Campbell’s work in mind, Evoteck is following its ‘bliss.’ It is responsible for the creation of myths based on classic examples in combination with new thoughts and modern scientific fact as unearthed to date.” Bill Greely, “Evoteck Celebrates Three Years of ‘Alternative’ Theater,” Daily News, October 21, 1989.
“Evoteck is the only theatrical group I know of that consistently seeks to combine the forefront of scientific and philosophical thought in a theatrical idiom that combines the best—and worst— of music videos, B-grade science fiction films from the ’50s, and the excesses of late 20th-century media-culture in an attempt to wake up its audiences. At times, Evoteck accomplishes this in a manner that seems almost untheatrical… Evoteck’s is a theater that fights against the sleep that the early 20th-century Russian mystic Gurdjieff said most men exist in. In its best productions, then, Evoteck concentrates on revising our attitudes about these things we take most for granted.” Patrick Gaffney, “Evoteck’s Weird ‘Adventures of Ned’ Leaves Technique Behind,” Creative Loafing, June 13, 1987.
In this setting, and through his public lectures, Jan mentored hundreds of individuals (mostly in the South, but many in New York, Oregon, California, Canada, France and Germany) in the pursuit of understanding the expansion of creativity and its beneficial effect on behavior.
Evoteck Productions with opening dates:
- Evoteck Speaks for Itself– Nov 86
- Universal Rehearsal- Dec 86
- The Astro Pups, Journey to Alpha Nine– Jan 87
- The Tomorrow Show– Feb 87
- Rose’s Hyperauthentic Cantina- Apr 87
- The Adventures of Ned: The Transdimensional Conspiracy– May 87
- Simon and The Big Seed– July 87
- Anvil and Slade, Private Eyes– Sept 87
- Five Things Einstein Didn’t Know- Nov 87
- Bullets, Bandoliers and Brassieres– Jan 88
- One Shoe Laughing Industrial Café- Feb 88 (midnight shows)
- Fred The Egyptian– Apr 88
- Wild!- June 88
- Wild II– Aug 88
- Son of Wild II—The Last Chapter– Oct 88
- Andromeda Dreams: Things are Not as They Seem- Jan 89
- Monkey Grips– Mar 89
- The Shenanigan Brothers: The Next Big Thing- May 89
- The Interplanetary Adventures of Commander Setarcos– July 89
- Zoombox to Zargon– Oct 89
- Die, Brock Molar, Die!– Jan 90
Here’s Matt doing a riff from one of the shows: