Saturday, June 28, 2014

O Best Beloved

I should probably let you know about and the current status of our summer tour: it is on! August 3 through Sept 14 at a park or public space near you, aboard our mobile stage (currently a work-in-progress) named FluxWagon.

FluxWagon in transit. Model by Joan Howard.

FluxWagon unfolded into theatrical glory. Model by Joan Howard.

We have two new ensemble members and are having a spectacular time getting to know their characters, Arby Darby and Princess Gwen, devising new bits for all the characters, and working on two new stories to share.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Meltdown Fugue" @ HATCH

Photos by the wonderful Serena Morelli of "Meltdown Fugue" at the HATCH Festival of Devised Performance, April 24-27, 2014.

Soren Santos, Christy Crowley and Julie Douglas in "Meltdown Fugue."
Link to the full set of photos on Flickr

"Meltdown Fugue" was a structured improvisation, set to J.S. Bach's Prelude & Fugue in E-flat minor, BWV 689. Christy Crowley, Julie Douglas and Soren Santos performed it at HATCH; the week prior, Maria Leigh, Soren and Julie performed it at the Theatre Bay Area Directors' Showcase, minus the 'preshow' element of the three actors milling about in the audience, periodically melting down.

The piece started each evening, and the three performers delivered whatever curtain speech was necessary, in the midst of another meltdown.

I think "Meltdown Fugue" might become a performance recipe. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Artistic Inspiration week

This week is Artistic Inspiration week. As of a short time ago, it occurs during the first week of every month, and consists of actively (or passively) seeking put some art form that is not my own. So maybe I go to an art museum, or treat myself to a book of poems, or a concert.

Yesterday, at City Lights Bookstore, blessedly open til late as befits an urban bookseller, I found (with help from the other half of Idiot String) Grapefruit by Yoko Ono (labelled "poetry" but not shelved there, thankfully), and this book for students of architecture and urban planning. I couldn't put it down because of the way it so purposefully included public artists as designers/editors of urban spaces, and spoke of the narratives constructed in and around urban spaces as part of the communities there. Simple stuff, perhaps, but exactly the stuff that floats my boat.

And for Yoko Ono... Well, so far my favorite instruction/piece is to tie gifts with cassette ribbons of never-listened-to recordings of falling snow. Also simple, also beautiful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The development of "Meltdown Fugue" - my piece for the Hatch Festival

So what the heck am I creating for the Hatch Festival?

I'm calling my piece "Meltdown Fugue" -- but I don't want to give too much away by describing it. Instead, I'll share some of my inspirations and fascinations....

In particular, I'm intrigued by the ways we make metaphors. Since 1979, according to, “meltdown” describes not only the literal melting down of a nuclear reactor core, but any incident of quick and castastrophic collapse. Financial systems, emotional stability, organizational structure… How do these behave like a molten reactor core? And after the meltdown, what is left?

I’m particularly fascinated by dictionary definitions, encyclopaedia entries, and scientific tracts. I invite you to create your own definition of “meltdown” here.

I've done some studio explorations with the other Hatchlings as well as some outside collaborators, including Julie Douglas, Maria Leigh, Soren Santos and Marlene Yarosh. We've taken imaginative forays into ice cream, hot summer days and volcanic lava, and a literal foray to Bernal Hill park.

[Soren, Emlyn, Marlene & Julie at a HATCH studio day.]

Finally, I've decided to get radically simple with the concept, exploring literal substances that melt, and the most common use of the "meltdown" metaphor, to refer to emotional collapse.

Please come see what results at the Hatch Festival, April 24, 26 & 27!

Monday, March 10, 2014

No There There

Photos from No There There, a fundraiser for the HATCH Festival of Devised Performance

I directed the fantastic Emma Jaster as a mysteriuos gypsy-like teacup-bearing woman in a short interactive 
piece. Not sure what it was called -- maybe "Home Words." After a weird ritual to wish on the teacups that were tied to her apron strings and scarves, Emma led the audience in reading bits of text found inside the teacups. The text was excerpted form writing I gathered online in response to prompts about "Home." Text by: Emlyn Guiney, Judy & Ron Longworth, me, Sam Ricci, Ross Travis, and Marlene Yarosh. Special thanks to Elizabeth Spreen, Hope Hutman, and Alicia Coombs. 

The fundraiser was a big success, but we still have a ways to go on our Indiegogo campaign, that will allow us to pay performers in the festival. Consider giving a little something!

Teacup lady with hairbrush
Teacup lady in the bushes
Giving out a teacup
Cover the teacup with your hand
Once all the teacups were held...
... each one got a little rub of the hand or tap with the hairbrush...
...then were instructed to focus on the teacup...
...and make a wish.
wish wish wish wish
Each audience's litany of the words from their teacups grew into a gentle caucophony of voices. The teacup lady listened, enjoyed, began humming, then quietly left the circle, her teacups clinking.

Below are more photos, these from Lili Weckler & Julie Katz's wonderfully awkward piece staged inside an empty apartment:
Sammy (Sarah) greets the audience at the door
Sammy (Julie) can't decide what to wear
Sammy (Julie) hopes her husband can entertain the guests while she chooses an outfit -- but Sammy (Lili) is too busy reading the paper.

I loved looking into the apartment from outside during Lili & Julie's performance