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Comparison of Stage Management Styles and Communication

Kaylee E. Osentowski, The University Of Montana

Successful management of the performing arts is a necessary supporting role to any production. This project focuses on the comparison of stage management techniques, procedures, and communication styles, of theatre and dance performance management. An accumulation of a year of production processes and two large shows, UM’s Dance in Concert 2019 and UM’s Spring Awakening, I have developed different techniques and information regarding dance versus theatre stage management. I am exploring the similarities and differences between these two types of productions and am educating the non-artistic community about the important, hidden role of a stage manager. As the stage manager, I am focused on the success of performance as well as the pre-production needs. Through film, script styles, and design I have discovered parallels and striking differences between dance management and theatre management. The outcome will be to educate artists and non-artists about the challenges, successes, and process of theatrical versus dance management. By developing a deeper understanding of the position of a performing arts manager, I am encouraging the public to place more value in the performing arts in today’s business centered world.

Motherless on TV: Navigating Womanhood While Estranged

Abigail Gillespie

The complexities of female relationships, particularly mother-daughter relationships, are widely excluded from contemporary television culture. I suggest that this rarity leans more on the side of cultural omittance. Family estrangement is much more common in culture than we realize, yet, it is lent no cultural capital, no acknowledgement, and it leads to further estrangement. A person experiencing estrangement is already isolated from family, but also isolated from culture, community, and discussion surrounding this issue.

I have written a television pilot (“Motherless” is the title of the show), and will be conducting an online table reading of the episode. My focus of the pilot is to comedically present a lovable and broken main character, Mandy, who is failing at navigating herself into womanhood, and possibly motherhood due to the estrangement from her mother.

Due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to shoot the opening scene, which was the initial presentation. Instead, I have conducted an online table reading and have chosen the most important scenes. These are compiled into a single video with a spoken introduction into the creative process.

reCycling in Time

Andrew L. Josten, University of Montana, Missoula

The goal in writing reCycling in Time was to demonstrate the ability to create art through the repurposing of unconventional materials and to communicate and strongly emphasize the impending climate crisis. The driving and unrelenting rhythms and the harsh timbre of the bow on the wheel spokes create an ethereal soundscape that causes discomfort and a sense of urgency. Climate action has been procrastinated for far too long, and there is too much ease and lack of concern and action regarding the crisis. reCycling in Time was created using repurposed parts found in the Bicycle Forest at Free Cycles Missoula. The sounds used in the piece were recorded individually on a cell phone using bicycle tires, wheel spokes, metal pipes, screws, a durable plastic key card, and a German bow for double bass. I then mixed the sounds into a coherent piece on GarageBand.

I drew inspiration for this piece from a few different sources. In the Spring of 2019, Cannon Shane, a UM Music Composition major, premiered an original piece using repurposed waste and recyclable items. I also pulled conceptual ideas from Andrew Norman’s Sustain (2018). Norman wrote in the program notes, “…we, at this critical moment in our history, are not doing enough to sustain the planet that sustains us…” While Shane and Norman inspired the concept, many of the techniques and sounds I used came from Frank Zappa. In 1963, Zappa appeared on The Steve Allen Show and demonstrated to Allen and the live audience his contemporary and experimental composition style by performing an improvisational piece for two bicycles. By using unfamiliar and avant-garde musical sounds, I intended to grab the attentiveness of the listener more effectively and communicate my crucial message with more resonance.

Solitary Solidarity: Vignettes of the Appalachian Trail

Noah L. Booth, University of Montana, Missoula

This past Summer, I spent two months solo-hiking the first third of the Appalachian Trail. I completed 737 total miles, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and continuing through North Carolina and Tennessee, before finishing my journey in central Virginia. I am no stranger to backpacking, but the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains of the Southeast were completely foreign to me. Throughout this two month excursion I kept a daily journal, logging everything from mileage and geographical features, to encounters with wildlife and humans alike. Over six months have elapsed since I completed my journey and, having had plenty of time to reflect, I realized that it is these latter brushes with humanity that have stuck with me most poignantly. The kindness, selflessness, and immeasurable sense of community I experienced while on the AT is truly what mattered most. The scenery was merely the backdrop. The catalyst. A means to the end.

But enough reminiscent ramblings. Time for the nitty-gritty. What I am proposing is this: a multi-medium creative scholarly portfolio—working title: “Solitary Solidarity: Vignettes of the Appalachian Trail”. The project will utilize my journal entries and photos, alongside creative writing and original sketches, in order to create a collection of individual profiles, detailing the people I hiked with, interacted with, and genuinely got to know. In order to provide this project with a sense of cohesion, a continuous written narrative will be woven throughout the entire piece, emphasizing the themes of community and humanity. I plan on adapting this portfolio into a spoken presentation, to be presented at UMCUR, accompanied by both photos and original sketches. I plan on meeting with Joanna on a regular, bi-weekly basis. These meetings will serve to keep me both on track and focused, while also serving as an excellent opportunity for soundboarding. Having completed the Wilderness & Civilization program, as well as having worked under Joanna at the Wilderness Institute, I am very familiar with her uniquely excellent writing and mentor styles, which will be a great benefactor to the quality of my work in this endeavour.

This project is one that I am acutely passionate about for many reasons. As with almost every other Missoula local, I am deeply passionate about outdoor recreation and the preservation of our Wild places. But I am also deeply passionate for the ways in which people interact with and become part of their landscapes. As a Communication Studies major and Wilderness Studies minor, I cannot think of a more perfect way to encapsulate my college experience than with a collection of human interactions, bonds, and experiences, forged in travel, exploration, and a whole lot of blisters.

Treading the Mind-Field: The Integration of Mental Health & Choreography"

Kyle G. Robinson, School of Theatre and Dance

“The greatest lie we pull on our mind is that we can do it alone. That nobody can comprehend what’s wrong with ourselves. That you’re the main problem in the vast mind field of thoughts. Which is, ultimately, the truth. Nobody knows your mind except yourself.” This creative research, Treading the Mind-Field, explores choreographic methods to navigate everyday mental health challenges. This choreographic process was an investigation of expressing our bodies in our own personal and scientific research experiences in a hip-hop contemporary dance form.

Throughout this process I was interested in exploring how mental health has the ability to encompass our physicality and relationships with others. This research was explored within five choreographic sections: the unknown, the sudden realization of the onset of panic attacks, anxiety and stress, fighting mental breakdowns, the recognition of self within a community. Movement was generated with the mindset of how each dancer physicalized their own personal experiences and research of mental health within these five categories. As the facilitator of the process, I was responsible for providing a safe space while also generating a community of creative collaborators.

This research provided a fresh approach to generating movement material within the choreographic process while dealing with difficult and uncommon approaches to making dance. Treading the Mind-Field was not only a meaningful experience for the performers but also resonated with the audience. The performance removed the fourth wall between performer and audience.