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2014
Friday, April 11th
2:00 PM

Cyberstage: A New Era of Theatre Practice

HanaSara Ito

2:00 PM - 2:20 PM

In the age of the internet, the World Wide Web is fully integrated in our daily lives— and careers. The internet also is increasingly important to artists for marketing and publicity—and as actual performance. My research project investigates Youtube as well as text-based social media (twitter, facebook, blogs, etc.) to ask how such forms are integrated art performances for the modern age. My project has been approved as part of an Ethnographic Field Methods course for Spring 2014, focusing on the cyber-nation of UM over the past two decades. I will focus on the artistic aspects of this process within specific communities at UM. Through interviews with Youtube users/personalities at UM, and observing social media, I aim for a comprehensive view of the internet can—and will—do for the performing arts community at UM.

2:20 PM

Dancing Through the Lens

Brooke A. Carlisle, University of Montana - Missoula

2:20 PM - 2:40 PM

The genre of Dance for Camera has been around for many years. This platform provides choreographers with a unique way for their work to be created and seen. Because of how dance is framed when on film, the choreographer gets to choose exactly what the audience sees. The use of editing can greatly influence a viewer’s perspective of a piece of choreography.

I will demonstrate these differences using a dance I choreographed and filmed. From this footage, I edited three distinct Dance for Cameras. The first is straight from my imagination and exactly what I intended to create. The next two were not pre-planned but crafted through the editing process using different elements of time, focus and intention. My goal was to create completely separate films while using the same footage.

My presentation will be in powerpoint format. It will include a brief introduction of dance for camera and the process for my own filmmaking. I will then show the entire original video (approximately 5 minutes in length) along with a short clip of the second and third videos. To accompany the second and third films I will engage the audience in dialogue about what they saw and reveal my choices in editing.

2:40 PM

The Personal and Civic Importance of Performance

Alicia Connolly, University of Montana - Missoula

2:40 PM - 3:00 PM

As a student of theatre I have battled with my perception of art as firstly self-serving and consequently valuable to others. Through the study, research, rehearsal, and ultimately performance of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches with the School of Theatre and Dance, I began considering the influence a performance has on the individual and the community. I sought to challenge my idea of art and specifically theatre as selfish and hoped to find ways that supported actors as generous, functioning as canvases painted on by the text, the production concepts, and the audience responses. The actor then becomes the result of the endeavor instead of the self-serving force that drove it. This production was ideal for my investigation because the social issues contained in Kushner’s award winning play are of particular consequence to me. For that reason, and as a process of my craft, I spent several weeks exploring books, articles, and films about the period, the social issues, and other topics essential in telling Kushner’s story. Through rehearsals and performances I kept a journal documenting how my perspective changed from performer as the force affecting a performance to the performance as a force affecting the performer. Furthermore, I have discussed and will continue to discuss with the cast, crew, and community how this performance has affected them. I imagined a clean conclusion: yes, individuals are impressed upon by works of art; I found the gambit much wider and much messier. In discussing within the performer/performance relationship who is creator and who is creation, I will outline my transformation of judgment and my obligation to thoughtful, unselfish performance I have since felt. I also strive to share with others the inspiration to consider the impact art has on their community and themselves.

3:00 PM

Behind the “Behind the Scenes” of Avenue Q

Isaac S. Iverson, University of Montana - Missoula

3:00 PM - 3:20 PM

We all know what happens on stage, and have a vague idea of what must happen behind the scenes, but what really happens behind the creation of the scenery? Designing the set for a theatrical production involves incredible communication, elaborate collaboration, and creative flair. This past year, I served as the scenic designer for the School of Theatre and Dance’s production of Avenue Q. Avenue Q is best described as “Sesame Street for adults,” featuring human and puppet actors who, through song and dance, teach the audience lessons about life after college, the internet, and love. Through regular attendance at design and production meetings with the production team, my design concept became the idea of three-dimensionality popping from two-dimensionality. Based on initial meetings with the director, I researched the artistic and storytelling styles of variety shows and cartoons, such as “Laugh In,” “Sesame Street” and “The Pink Panther,” examining what these forms of entertainment have in common. After cementing the design concept through staging discussions with the director and pages of sketches, I drafted the show in AutoCAD, built a ¼” scale model, and painted color elevations for all surfaces of the set. Finally, I attended the technical and dress rehearsals, fine tuning the scenic elements. Avenue Q opened October 1, 2013 and had very positive feedback, offering a hilarious escape for audiences. Designing this set was a great educational experience, not only for myself, but all students involved in the Design/Technology program since it gave them the opportunity to expand their technical skills as they constructed the set and worked backstage. Through this presentation, I hope that those who did not assist in the creation of Avenue Q will gain insight into the process and appreciate all aspects of design that take place behind the “behind the scenes.”

3:20 PM

David Edgar: Connection in Political Theatre

Sally B. McHugh, University of Montana - Missoula

3:20 PM - 3:40 PM

Theatre, in its very best form, should reveal to us some truth about the human condition. Political theatre takes some of our harshest conditions and realities and forces us to face the ramifications we might otherwise ignore. This project focuses on the work of playwright David Edgar and his own personal “brand” of political theatre. Through a close examination and analysis of his 1995 play Pentecost, I utilize Edgar’s focus on conflicts in Eastern Europe to highlight the importance of political theatre in our world today. As east and west collide, Pentecost showcases the importance of understanding the turmoil that exists in the world around us. Rather than using these stories solely for artistic value, we must view them for what they are: the human experience. In addition to Pentecost, I reference a variety of Edgar’s other works that feature similar conflicts, to further emphasize Pentecost’s main themes. I also look at texts that analyze Edgar’s own political views and how his ideologies have influenced his plays. This approach takes a different look at political theatre as it focuses on the universal impact that more geographically specified material can have. Regardless of location, the intrinsic human experience is an all-encompassing concept, and one that all art, but especially theatre relies on. I examine where the human connections are made, and why political theatre is such an effective vehicle to communicate these realities.

3:40 PM

Organized Chaos in the Silence of Solitude: A Demonstration of Meditation Practice through Modern Dance Choreography

Claire Christensen, University of Montana - Missoula
Ellie Weinman, University of Montana - Missoula

3:40 PM - 4:00 PM

Organized Chaos in the Silence of Solitude:

A Demonstration of Meditation Practice through Modern Dance Choreography

Visual and Performing Arts

Meditation is an act of chosen solitude and projected restfulness; the calming of one's physical self and the quieting of one's overcrowded mind. Organized Chaos in the Silence of Solitude is an ongoing investigation of the act of meditation practices and how those individual experiences could collectively translate through contemporary modern dance movement. This choreographic work demonstrates the contrasts between a state of calmness and the chaos of an overcrowded mind attempting active meditation. In this symbolic study, two dancers illustrate this conflict by representing one person striving to achieve inner peace.

The work, Organized Chaos in the Silence of Solitude, physically exhibits these mental shifts. The movement was inspired by the process of meditation. For example, the dance describes the moment in meditation when one attempts to slow down the brain just enough to enter a state of peace, only to realize how quickly one's thoughts shift. Inspiration for the work was also drawn from curiosity as to why we decide to linger on certain thoughts for longer than others. Each body is restricted to separate pools of light with no visual connection to the audience. The audience is not recognized because the dancers represent a solitary act in motion.

How much control do we really have? Over our mind, over our body? How and why do we choose to access certain thoughts, or not? How can we describe those ideas? The challenge and intrigue to discuss this topic through modern dance choreography is pivotal in my approach to generating movement material as well as my artistic invention as a choreographer and performing dance artist. One's expression of her or his own imperfections is an essential aspect of existence.

4:00 PM

Shakespeare’s fairies set in 1950

Rita S. Sam-Venn

4:00 PM - 4:20 PM

Fairy comes in any race and in any form one wants to see them

What does a fairy look like in 1950? Let’s imagine what Shakespeare’s fairies would be in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The perception that fairy is human with wings to fly or a fairy comes in any form depending on what an individual chooses to see.

The purpose of this exercise is to develop a character concept for three fairies with the theme set in 1950. The characters: Titania is inspired by Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955; The Fedora hat was a popular menswear in the 1950 fashion, so Oberon is a golden scarecrow wearing a "Fedora hat" with a raven feather on it to represent intelligence and his image represents the field as a provider; Baby Boom from 1946-1964 is the theme used for Puck. Through this historical research, a selection of visual images are created by using sense of feeling, such as aroma, texture, color, line and shape in order to discover the essence of these three fairies and by adopting the modern look and real life topics to them will encourage younger audiences to connect and appreciate classical literature.

The innovation in this design is to make Titania’s costume in the modern period, Oberon’s costume by using some actual hay and to paint it with gold paint. The puck's costume is based on the social security card color.

In costume design, sketching and rendering is part of the process to create characters that can be true to her or his personality and profession. Finally, her or his costume can be made with craftsmanship and attention to detail, so audiences see and feel the character come alive through the actor.

4:20 PM

Pseudo Synesthesia on the Bakken Oil Field - Discovery of Place Through Creative Non-Fiction

Patrick R. Myers

4:20 PM - 4:40 PM

My creative non-fiction short story, Pseudo Synesthesia, attempts to provide a new look into how we, as humans, relate to place. The place in the story is North Dakota, in the booming towns and communities located atop the Bakken Oil Field.

To carry out this project I spent five days traveling through and staying in various towns in North Dakota that have been affected by an ongoing oil boom. The trip was partially funded by the Environmental Studies Program, through an education award.

The original component of the story lies in its name. ‘Pseudo Synesthesia’ refers to the narrator's state of mind throughout the telling of different events. To the narrator, certain places feel as if they are certain colors, mostly black and white. At the end of the narrative the narrator looks back and feels his experience has been dominated not by black or white, but by the color red. The color red, in this instance, helps the narrator realize that places themselves cannot be separated into bad or good, or exploitable or non-exploitable, but that all places are alive, which makes them vulnerable and in need of some form of protection.

The project is significant because it attempts to reconcile the climate of intense polarization in the social/political realm of the United Stated today, especially in issues related to the environment.