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PAcking and Cracking

Created by Rachel Gita Karp and Joseph Amodei

Directed by Rachel Gita Karp

Designed by Joseph Amodei

“In this day and age you can’t make it make sense. 150 years ago you probably did need legislators to draw the maps. Because legislators had a particular expertise that helped then in a sense. But right now I can get my 7-year-old to draw a map. And right now I feel good that he would draw a more fair map than 9 out of the 10 maps that would come out of here [the NC General Assembly].”

Packing and Cracking is an interactive mapmaking event about redistricting--and the widespread manipulation of redistricting known as gerrymandering--in the United States today. Consisting of participatory drawing and map-drawing games, Packing and Cracking uses critical cartography, historical accounts of the first gerrymanders, and interviews with people dealing with gerrymandering today to give an understanding of gerrymandering both in the mind and in the body.

While providing a national overview, Packing and Cracking focuses on redistricting and gerrymandering in one state at a time.


The first focuses are North Carolina, whose maps have been so racially and partisanly manipulated in recent years that it has led to the state no longer being classified as a democracy; and Pennsylvania, whose maps were so manipulated in the last round of redistricting that it created some of the strangest-shaped districts in the country. Pictured above are stills from the Pennsylvania version of the Packing and Cracking presented at SFX at The Wild Project in NYC.

In April 2020, we updated and adapted this project to be a participatory, networked experience over Zoom in response to the new forms asked of us in light of COVID-19. This version (pictured below) relies on digital collaborative drawing software and explorations in digital documentary theater as a means of creating community. This was presented through and with the support of Laguardia Performing Arts Rough Draft Festival.


Drama League First Stage Residency - Summer 2019
Anonymous Ensemble Avant Gardens Residency - current
SFX Festival - Winter 2020
LPAC Rough Draft Festival - Spring 2020 
Carnegie Mellon Libraries - Fall 2020 (upcoming)
UNC Process Series - Fall 2020 (upcoming)


The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry

The Network of Ensemble Theatres

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