Past Performing Arts | Theater

Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen

Relics and Their Humans 

Theater | Artist Residency | Columbus Premiere | Wex Commissioned Project

Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen performing Relics. The men are seated at a desk in front of microphones.

Experience an Ohio family's story told through visual and musical relics in this moving theatrical performance that will stay with you long after you leave.

Relics and Their Humans is the second collaboration between writer, director, and performer Ain Gordon and composer, writer, and performer Josh Quillen. Their first project, Radicals in Miniature—which premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2017 and was a New York Times' critic’s pick—was a tribute to personal icons from Gordon’s youth in New York City’s alternative scene. Relics frames a story from Quillen’s family, based in Dover, Ohio: their three-year odyssey following his father’s 2006 ALS diagnosis. Three key family relics frame this work—a recorded interview with Quillen’s mother, his father’s journal, and a surprising playlist. Through Gordon and Quillen’s spirited performances, Talvin Wilks’s inventive dramaturgy, and Jennifer Tipton’s lighting design, these elements are transformed onstage into a moving experience that will stay with you long after leaving the theater.

See the entire performing arts spring 2024 lineup.

Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen performing Relics. The men are seated at a desk in front of microphones.

Relics and Their Humans, Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen (left to right); photo: Darrell Hoemann.

Ain Gordon sits behind a desk with a microphone. Josh Quillen sits stage right of the desk.

Relics and Their Humans, Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen (left to right); photo: Darrell Hoemann.

About the artists

Ain Gordon chevron-down chevron-up

Ain Gordon is a three-time Obie Award–winning writer, director, and actor; a two-time NYFA recipient; and a Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting. Gordon’s work frequently sources overlooked and marginalized histories and the nearly obscured lives inhabiting such spaces. His work has been seen at venues throughout the US, and he collaborated with choreographer Bebe Miller on Necessary Beauty, which premiered at the Wexner Center in 2008. Gordon appeared in the original off-Broadway cast of Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, and he also wrote for NBC’s Will & Grace. Gordon is cofounder of the Urban Memory Project and has been codirector of Pick Up Performance Co(s) since 1992. Learn more at Gordon's website.

Josh Quillen chevron-down chevron-up

Josh Quillen has forged a unique identity in the contemporary music world as all-around percussionist, expert steel drum performer (lauded as “softly sophisticated” by the New York Times), and composer. His collaborations with other composers frequently incorporate the steel drums as a core element. A member of the acclaimed ensemble Sō Percussion since 2006, Quillen has performed at Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Festival, Stanford Lively Arts, and dozens of other venues in the US. In that time, Sō Percussion has toured Russia, Spain, Australia, Italy, Germany, and Scotland. He has had the opportunity to work closely with Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, David Lang, Matmos, Dan Deacon, and many others. Learn more at Quillen's website.

Doris Duke Foundation

Ohio Department of Development
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Ohio Arts Council, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio State’s Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

Mike and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
Nancy Kramer
Ohio State Energy Partners
Ohio History Fund/Ohio History Connection
Larry and Donna James
Bruce and Joy Soll
Rebecca Perry Damsen and Ben Towle
Jones Day
Alex and Renée Shumate


Past Performing Arts

Ain Gordon and Josh Quillen