October 16, 2020 – November 8, 2020


How do we create joy when it feels like the world is falling apart? And why does art bring us joy?

Veteran company member Vato Tsikurishvili and audience-favorite Maria Simpkins star in Joy — an autobiographical​ and interactive experience ​about the impact and pursuit of joy in their own lives. Performed via Zoom in rotating repertory, these two solo performances take audiences on a journey that blends physical storytelling with innovative technology.

Performances with closed captioning available November 7!

“We’ve seen a lot of innovative approaches to online theatre, but this one seems genuinely new.”
– American Theatre Magazine

Directed by Paata Tsikurishvili, Joy with Vato Tsikurishvili tells the story of a boy caught between two worlds — Georgia and The United States, reality and the world on stage, sadness and joy. From the fall of the Soviet Union and fleeing war-torn Georgia to overcoming personal hardships.

Joy with Maria Simpkins uses dance, poetry and deeply personal anecdotes to offer a different perspective on the pursuit of joy. Directed by Company Director Katherine DuBois, Simpkins takes us through her childhood, from discovering ballroom dancing to finding joy in the theatre. Her story takes center stage in this visceral, interactive performance that reminds us of the importance of reclaiming our identity and what brings us joy.

Take your experience to the next level, audiences can purchase a Joy Box which arrives in the mail prior to their performance. The contents of this mystery package will stimulate the senses and provide audiences with an unforgettable, interactive experience.

Content Warning:
Joy with Maria Simpkins contains loud noises, some strong language, and descriptions of trauma. Joy with Vato Tsikurishvili contains loud noises, gunshot sound effects, and strobe lighting.

How does Joy work?

  1. Purchase your ticketsThis is a live performance that is streamed via Zoom, but performance times are live just like at the theater! You can purchase tickets with OR without an interactive Joy Box.
  2. Download Zoom and ensure your camera is functioning properly — there are moments during each performance where you will be able to interact with the performer.
  3. If you purchased a Joy Box, wait for the package to arrive in the mail.* Feel free to open the box, but refrain from opening the individually wrapped items until you are instructed to do so.
  4. At the day and time of your performance, follow the login instructions that will be emailed to you. Arrive in the Zoom call at least 15 minutes before your scheduled performance and ensure you have a stable connection to Wi-Fi. Late seating may not be available!

* When you purchase a box ticket, please be sure to include a current shipping address in your order. Please allow 4 business days for the box to arrive. If your box has not arrived within 48 hours of your performance, contact boxoffice@synetictheater.org.

This production is generously sponsored by Ryan E. Merkel.


Joy with Maria Simpkins:
Performed & Co-Directed by Maria Simpkins
Created and Adapted by Chris Rushing
Director – Katherine DuBois
Choreographer – Katherine Zukeri
Composition and Sound Designer – Sinan Refik Zafar*
* Member of United Scenic Artists

Joy with Vato Tsikurishvili:
Performed & Co-Directed by Vato Tsikurishvili
Created and Adapted by Chris Rushing
Director – Paata Tsikurishvili
Choreographer – Irina Tsikurishvili
Composer – Konstantine Lortkipanidze
Sound Designer – Thomas Sowers
Digital Content and Stage Effects Assistant – Ana Tsikurishvili

For Both Productions of Joy:
Production Designer – Raymond Simeon
Associate Production Designer – Yaritza Pacheco
Costume Supervisor – Stacy Walker
Stage Manager – Jade Brooks-Bartlett
Digital Streaming and Lighting Operative – Niomi Collard
Audio and Video Engineer – Thomas Sowers
Master Electrician – Alex F. Keen



Want to learn more? Hear from artist Maria Simpkins about how Joy will work: