Tal, Yana and I are really excited to be showing some of what we have been developing at the 2010 PRELUDE festival presented by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at CUNY’s Graduate Center. The theme this year is “Why does live matter?”, which is something we have been thinking about a lot as we have been developing LUSH VALLEY through the think tanks, the rehearsals, works-in-progress and online conversations. At PRELUDE, we will share some of the audience engagement stuff that we have been developing over the last few months and are hoping to spark some exciting conversations.
Our showing is on Thursday, September 30 from 3pm-415pm and its FREE. Please do join us.
We had a really exciting time experimenting with the participatory aspects of the the show with about 20 people on Monday at HERE.
We took a census of the group and shared the demographics, tested people for citizenship and were able to announce 2 new citizens out of 20, analyzed INS paperwork for the group to uncover their moral character, and conducted video interviews with people one-on-one to find out what the american dream means to them.
We also experimented with several camera’s eye monologues to explore how theatrical text might integrate into the participatory sections.
Thanks to Mariana Newhard, Irene Longshore and Rudy Mungaray for bravely jumping in with this.
We got great feedback from the HERE resident artists and general community who attended, learned a lot and have made lots of ideas of how to do our upcoming PRELUDE presentation on September 30.
More to come….
I’m long over-due to post about our wonderful retreat at North American Culture Laboratory (www.nacl.org). It’s a wonderful place in Highland Lake, somewhere between Port Jervis and Liberty in Sullivan County. Our lovely hosts Tannis Kowalchuk and Brad Krumholz have worked tirelessly for the past 10 or so years restoring an immense house and the church next door into the perfect workspace for people like us. It’s really a testament to what the performance making community can and should be. Open, peaceful, provacative, evocative, focussed, dreamy, etc. Morning swims in the lake across the road, amazing food made by wonderful people, leisure, reading, talking, interviewing, writing, playing – all of it – just wonderful. 10 of us were there together for varying lengths of time.
Highlights included a series of interviews we did with people waiting for the annual Port Jervis Firefighters Parade to go by. We asked them about what the American Dream meant to them; was it being fulfilled; was it realistic; was it different for each generation, and so on. Answers ran the gamut from great despair to determined hope. This is one of the oldest Firefighter parades in the history of the USA and takes place in this town on the Delaware river where NY meets, NJ meets PA. It’s a very economically depressed area.
Some thing I just found out: Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo Journalist, lived near Port Jervis in Cuddebackville early in his career, until he was fired from the local newspaper after physically assaulting a vending machine. It’s relevant because “Fear and Loathing” was one of the many books being read as the actors developed stream-of-consciousness texts for the camera’s eye segments of Lush Valley. Among the many things we talked about, when not staying up late drinking and playing poker, was the relationship of the “road” and the “grid” as icons of the American Dream. Think Las Vegas – a grid carved out in desert valley at the end of the road. A capitalistic mecca/mahagonny where all dreams seem possible and the boulevards are littered with a million broken ones. I suspect that what’s left of his cannonball ashes are still settling to earth and that his spirit had joined us to give us a clue. “Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men’s reality. Weird heroes and mould-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ”the rat race” is not yet final.”
Filed under: Camera's Eyes | Tags: Ambition, American Dream, Camera's Eye, Kristin Marting
(written by Rachel Crawford, inspired by a Studs Terkel interview in his American Dreams book)
Chicago Monday. Black Monday. 1987. Standing there in the pit packed like sardines like some frozen stunned pack of animals watching
And the Dow goes down down down it goes
panic confusion fear ripples through the hoard of suits, – masters of the universe except now – like a boulder thrown in a still pond smooth as glass becomes chaos
sweat stains and shallow breathing my shirt feels hot tight against my neck and I think and I whisper I say to everyone and no one get me out of here get me out but I stay
the promise life is good America is good the marketplace is good and all of us we just stared still and silent and afraid and maybe they lied, yes, maybe so
it’s like the floor falls out stomach in your knees it’s like you see – Depression, The Great – 1929 in your nightmares but realize you are awake
being born in the 50’s doesn’t mean being born in an amusement park.
After . the anxiety eases a little but once you have it you can’t shake it off waiting for you around the corner and you live your life with your expensive things
your new car
like this thing or that daddy please can I, you say yes honey for you anything, the spectre of loss hot behind your eyes