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Opening Night of Belleville: My Transformational Neighborhood

By Jackie Old Coyote-Logan on February 10, 2017

Yesterday…seems so far away…but not really. It is imprinted in my being. I am new to the Department. It has been an interesting journey to this point, I’m a little over a month in. I love Theater (yes, it deserves to be capitalized.), I love film, I love stories, and I love characters. So, in my imagination, I believe I will love this new position as the Administrative Assistant (AA) for Colgate University Department of Theater. What a mouthful…

The days before yesterday have been filled with learning: new names; places; protocols; software and platforms (I convinced myself to call them electronic forms so they wouldn’t seem so daunting). Meetings and deadlines have pretty much consumed my efforts – until yesterday.

Opening night of the Belleville Production. Yes, the deadlines very much included this as a goal, but it wasn’t my goal. It was a deadline. I saw the student actors and crew often. As an AA I smile at them, knowing they are students with demanding schedules and conflicting lives. And I leave the office, situated adjacent to the theater – Brehmer Theater. I saw the set. Sometimes I saw the students gathered around their Director, Adrian Giurgea. Each day as I would leave my office, and the Theater was there—filled with empty seats and stage set, but empty—I knew something more happened there when I left.

Each morning, I would have a new report, telling me in cryptograph, what happened in my absence. I would scan the report for my name or any “To Do’s” that might be generated for me.

Opening night for me meant, “Did I meet all my deadlines? Were they met well? Will our efforts generate enough interest to fill the seats?” And of course there was also my self-talk: “What is my role? How should I dress?”

At curtain call I was shaking. Not cold, not hot, just physically a tiny tremor throughout my being. Then a brief announcement about the production, and slowly, the characters caught my attention. (Why slowly when they start on stage? Hmm…)

And literally, within minutes, my sense of place and being are transformed from the Brehmer Theater, adjacent to my office, to a small apartment in Belleville, France. I am mesmerized. The set that I saw every day became alive, a character in Belleville as much as the living, breathing beings who temporarily inhabit the skin of characters from the pages of a play I read during my lunch one day.

For almost two hours, I am consumed by the scenes in front of me, happening adjacent to my office. (I want you to come experience the play yourself so no spoilers here!!) I think more than consumed and transported, I was indescribably awestruck.

I have images from a movie, “Night At the Museum,” where havoc is wreaked in the ‘closed’ hours of the Natural Museum of History. I thought how Brehmer Theater was akin to this…a place for me of deadlines, papers, electronic forms, an office, lives its own entity with its own stories at night. To the general passerby, the Brehmer Theater leaves much untold.

The student cast and crew, have their lives, their own obligations to being Colgate students. I know these rigors and demands myself, not at Colgate, but still…So when I see them become new people, in a new place, from a place very familiar and set in stone (perhaps literally?!) I stop shaking, but not really, it is more that the shaking takes on a new dimension. I’m rocked to my core.

The discipline, dedication, teamwork, talent, and courage by everyone involved leave me speechless. I don’t even think about what I’m wearing or the next deadline. I’m in Belleville.

And that was yesterday. I now have an living, breathing story and Belleville to gauge my perspective. I know, beyond theory, why the work I do matters, why the deadlines are important. I am humbled and proud at the same time, to be part of the team. I rise to my feet in applause for everyone behind opening night of Belleville.

And up next, 4 more opportunities to be transported and transfixed. You too can join, Brehmer Theater, Thursday – Saturday @ 7 pm, and last chance, Sunday, Feb. 12 @ 2pm!


Teamwork! Colgate Theater

By University Theater on January 30, 2017

No theater production can be successful without significant teamwork. Here is just a bit of what it takes:

 


Medium Theatre Company Rockets Colgate to Outer Space

By University Theater on October 3, 2016

Dani Solomon '13 in a desert crater taking a selfie on a promotional poster for ONE WAY RED

On October 6, the Medium Theatre Company offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to journey to the surface of the Red Planet in a special performance of ONE WAY RED, sponsored by the Colgate University Arts Council, the Department of Theater, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Lucky for audiences, this Mars is conveniently located on the Colgate campus. ONE WAY RED is an interdisciplinary work of science fiction in the Atrium of the Ho Science Center. The show will be performed on October 6 at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free.

The Mediums’ ONE WAY RED is a meditation on why we look to other planets to solve our earthbound problems. Based on accounts of applicants to join Mars One, a real-life non-profit dedicated to establishing the first human colony (and reality TV show) on Mars, ONE WAY RED is a solo journey from a bedroom floor in Waltham, MA to the surface of the Red Planet. ONE WAY RED follows the story of a young woman, played by Dani Solomon ’13, willing to put faith in a mission with an improbable chance for success. Our anti-heroine, awash in a vast desert of empty Netflix sleeves, broadcasts her reality TV confessionals back to Earth in monologues, folk songs, and movement.

“Mars holds a lot of space in today’s collective conversation, from NASA’s plans to visit Mars in the 2030s and Mars One looking to colonize the planet before them,”says Solomon, lead artist and performer. “Are we taking another giant leap for mankind? Are we running away from Earth? Or is it both?”

ONE WAY RED is co-created and directed by Mason Rosenthal, with Morgan Fitzpatrick Andrews as lead designer. Together, Solomon, Rosenthal, and Andrews make up the Medium Theatre Company.


Nick Gillette ’06 and Dani Solomon ’13 featured on WHYY

By University Theater on September 7, 2016
Dani Solomon '13 in what looks like an extraterrestrial crater with a laptop nearby

Dani Solomon ’13 in One Way Red

Colgate Theater Department alumnae Nick Gillette ’06 and Dani Solomon ’13 were recently featured on the WHYY radio program News Works Tonight (audio starts at 15:14) as the next generation of experimental theater artists in Philadelphia.

Both Gillette and Solomon have remained closely connected to Colgate. Gillette’s company Almanac Dance Theater brought their piece Communitas to campus as Christian A. Johnson Artists-in-Residence in the spring semester of 2016, and Solomon will perform her solo show One Way Red at Colgate this October.


Audition for Amy Herzog’s Belleville

By University Theater on August 25, 2016

Torso of slender man in skinny jeans, photo flipped sidewahysYoung Americans Zack and Abby have the perfect expatriate life in Paris: a funky bohemian apartment in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Belleville; a stable marriage; and Zack’s noble mission to fight pediatric AIDS. But when Abby finds Zack at home one afternoon when he’s supposed to be at work, the questions and answers that follow shake the foundation of their seemingly beautiful life.

Directed by Adrian Giurgea

Open auditions, all welcome, no experience necessary

August 30-31 and September 1, 7:00-8:00 p.m., Brehmer Theater, Dana Arts Center


Theater Department welcome letter to Class of 2020

By Jason Kammerdiener on August 25, 2016

Dear class of 2020,
What does it mean to study theater in college?  In his Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, published for the first time in 1550, Giorgio Vasari tells the story of Michelangelo’s most beautiful statue. Piero de’ Medici, the ruler of Florence asked the sculptor to make in his courtyard a statue of snow. Of course, the statue vanished without a trace. It survives only as the memory of something fleeting, unrepeatable, fragile, and unique.

This is the story of theater, the only art form that is not reproducible, the only art form that is made from the immaterial substance of our dreams. If life exists, theater exists. If theater didn’t exist, then life wouldn’t exist, either.

Here, in its transitory and brief identity, resides theater’s particular strength, to express complex truths with visual and verbal clarity. At Colgate, in our Theater Department, we teach theater by making theater. The lesson of theater is not a theoretical one but a human idea of theater, which is a poetic art, the art of equilibrium, the metaphor of our life. Because, in the end, you are the transitory substance from which theater is made–you and your sense of adventure, your imagination, your curiosity, your hunger for knowledge. What we, our teachers offer in return, is dialog in creative conduit and our desire to explore and reimagine great works of art as mirrors for your generation.

Sincerely,

Adrian Giurgea
Professor and Chair, Department of Theater


A Map of Virtue: Not Your Typical Play

By University Theater on April 11, 2016

Elizabeth Hein ’18 of the Colgate Maroon-News recently published the review below titled “A Map of Virtue: Not Your Typical Play.”

A Map of Virtue (MAP) pushes the boundaries of theater by combining plot with interviews and a birdsong, punctuated by the sound of birds and the beating of a drum. The play is broken into fourteen parallel acts, starting at one and moving to seven until descending back to one again. The combination of the innovative structure and the variety of forms of theater created a unique narrative about interactions with evil.

READ FULL REVIEW


Why Theater Majors Are Vital in the Digital Age

By University Theater on April 11, 2016

Tracey Moore of the Chronicle of Higher Education recently published the commentary piece below titled “Why Theater Majors Are Vital in the Digital Age.”

The study of theater has always been a slightly odd fit with higher education. Theater’s departmental needs are so different from the norm: Where other programs require smart classrooms, desks, and Wi-Fi, we seek vast, empty spaces with sprung wood floors and natural light. The inner life of a chemistry major should not affect the outcome of an assignment; for theater majors, the inner life is the assignment.

READ FULL COMMENTARY


Theater and philosophy as tickets to a tech career?

By University Theater on March 7, 2016

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, liberal arts degrees have become a “hot ticket” among technology start-ups, in Silicon Valley and beyond.  The article profiles Slack Technologies, a business-to-business software developer, which employs a theater major as its editorial director and a philosophy major as its CEO.

Innovation requires creativity, and as Forbes reports, “creativity can’t be programmed.” Slack Technologies is one of a growing number of software firms that have discovered that “liberal arts thinking makes them stronger.”


Christina (Poppy) Liu ’13 stars in world premiere of The Gambler

By University Theater on February 15, 2016

Christina Liu '13 on stage with another actor

Christina (Poppy) Liu ’13 recently starred in an off off Broadway production of Glyn Maxwell’s new play The Gambler, based on the eponymous novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky suffered from a roulette addiction, and The Gambler is one of his funniest and most autobiographical works. Maxwell adapted The Gambler for Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, an award-winning company known for its groundbreaking presentations of both new and classic plays.

Since graduating from Colgate less than three years ago, Liu has also performed with the Drunk Shakespeare Society (earning a write-up in The New Yorker), and the original play she wrote for her senior thesis, This is not a Play about Sex, is still being performed at Colgate.

Continue to follow the theater careers of Liu and other recent alums on the Colgate Theater Newsfeed.

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