Sunday, May 9, 2010

Art on Stages

Okay, so despite all the technological workarounds and ceaseless ways of making blogging easier, I am not exactly keeping up with this blog.  But I am also not planning on dropping it either.  I am actually coming into that time of year when I have more time and more opportunity for exactly this sort of digital presence.

A year ago, I resurrected this blog and increased my digital presence by participating in a project created by @Platea (and then joining that loose collective).  Unfortunately, I am not aware of an @Platea project curently in the works that might draw me back in, but the timing is right nonetheless.

But so, what keeps me from the Internet?  I am tempted to say, "life," but I find that whole dichotomy of "real" life and "second" life so trite.  A lot of work-related administrivia gets in my way.  But then so too does the work of art in less digitally oriented venues.  Consider, for example, the above embedded video.  I work fairly closely with my department's Performance Studies program, including our very active Kleinau Theatre.  This year, in addition to advising some performances, I also volunteered as photo-archivist for our productions.  We recently held our awards ceremony for the season and kicked it off with the slide show retrospective I've embedded here. 

These images represent the multi-night run, prepared performances our 2009-2010 season -- sometimes group, sometimes solo; sometimes graduate student directed, sometimes faculty directed.  They do not represent the proseminars, guest artists, or visiting residencies and workshops that also round out our Kleinau season.  It's a very active arts space, and I consider myself lucky to be involved with it.

For a small, Midwest college town, we have a fair amount of performance and performance venues, from community theatre to a more traditional drama department's offerings.  What the Kleinau offers is more experimental and usually less oriented to entertainment (although many of the productions are quite entertaining).  It is a space to experience performance as a mode of inquiry, as an opportunity to explore and experiment, as a venue for broadening one's aesthetics.  In other words, the kind of space that appeals to me for many of the same reasons performance happenings on computerized social networks do.

The shows this season represent a wide swath of performance experiences and experiments not too easily encountered in other venues.  From an Anne Bogart inspired, viewpoints performance of "The Carnival" to a solo critical performance of Miles Davis; from a cast-devised cyborg fairytale in "Cybernetic Fruit" to a poetic meditation on memory and loss in "Amnesiac's Diary;" from an adaptation of Margaret Atwood's "The Penelopiad" to a script inspired by an oral history of women serving in the Navy WAVES in WWII, there is an invigorating variety of creative work going on in the Kleinau space.

I am happy to be a part of this work, sometimes as performer, sometimes as director...but this year, mostly as photo archivist.  The images don't do the shows justice, but it's what we've got to offer in this forum.  For now.

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