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Only the most iconic sound cue in all of theatre.

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Suddenly a distant sound is heard, as if from the sky, the sound of a breaking string...

That is how I have been feeling lately. I keep returning to that sound. Not because I'm about to experience the fall of the Russian empire but because this has been one of the most challenging semesters yet. I feel stretched thin. My first year students have asked me to do a lecture on self-care and how there are only so many hours in a day, and you can't do everything, and I keep thinking I am so not the person for this. Sleep is not a thing right now. Or human relationships for that matter.

But I'm sitting in the production meeting for The Cherry Orchard right now and just heard that sound cue, or the version of it that currently exists. I also just now heard the music that signals the dreams/fugues that I am creating with projections and lighting. I love working with Mike Croswell, the sound designer, and hearing his work has made me want to run home and create. Forget eating forget…

Long ago, there was a strange deception.

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I just looked back through emails to confirm it - ten years ago this week we started work on Transformations.


This started as the project that "ruined my life," the grad school assignment from Bob Schmidt that became Rapunzel - Kim Gritzer and I creating performance art in the basement of the Brockett Theatre at UT Austin for the New Works Festival in 2005, which was invited to be performed at the Prague Quadrennial in 2007. And there was a second piece that was an ActLab project, also in 2007, Sleeping Beauty, one of my many attempts to throw art at my lifelong messed up relationship with sleep while simultaneously making some sort of feminist statement. And the freezing cold First Night performance under the bridge.  Then Sarah Mosher added a couple of pieces of her MFA thesis - Snow White and the absolutely stunning Red Riding Hood. All of these pieces centered around Anne Sexton's poetry, which yes, I'm aware has been staged countless times but really, who cares? …

Adventures in Edinburgh: Lula del Ray, Red Bastard, The Kelpies

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Manual Cinema - Lula del Ray

I can't explain to you how HAPPY seeing three overhead projectors on stage makes me! I've seen a couple of shows using overhead projectors (and created one for my thesis way way back) but this was just stunning. Manual Cinema is a group out of Chicago, which means I can drive 6 hours to see their work, and I just might do that now that I know it exists. Lula del Ray reminded me of Kid Koala's Nufonia Must Fall - very similar in how the actual *making* of the performance is a part of the performance itself, all musicians and technicians onstage, and the audience can watch the creation of the "movie" on the overhead projectors, just in case they forget they aren't watching a film. Which, if you just watch the screen, you can do. It's beautiful, seamless, and stunning.

Austin people, they are coming to the Long Center, you need to see them.



Red Bastard - Lie With Me

So, it's been a day since I saw Red Bastard's show at the …

Adventures in Edinburgh: Baby Mama, Lies, and Seance

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I've been awful about writing and I've seen 15 "shows" or "events" (edited at the end of my trip to show total of 18 shows):

Theatre Conspiracy - Foreign Radical We are Jane Doe/Zanetti Productions - Jane DoeDoughnut Productions - Speaking in TonguesMariah McCarthy - Baby Mama: One Woman's Quest to Give Her Child to Gay PeopleAgent November Productions - Agent November: Major X-Plow ShunMalaprop - BlackCatfishMusketeerOntroerend Goed - LiesBinge Culture - Ancient Shrines and Half TruthsDarkfield - SeanceAuld Reekie's Haunted Underground - Ghost and Torture TourThe Scotch Malt Whisky Society - Dram is Worth a Thousand WordsTidy Carnage - ShameMr and Mrs Clark - (FEAR)Theatre Voliere - EvocationQuote Unquote Collective/Why Not Theatre/Aurora Nova - MouthpieceJoanne Ryan - EggsistentialismManual Cinema - Lula del ReyRed Bastard - Lie With Me

Originally I had wanted to write about everything I saw, but there are of course some things that I just *don'…

Adventures in Edinburgh: Foreign Radical & Transmission Opening

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I've been in Edinburgh, Scotland for about a week and a half now - about half my time here is gone. The festival opened yesterday and our show, Transmission, opened today. I'm not going to go into how many pages and scenes and hours of video and number of hikes up Arthur's Seat and broken feet and podcast episodes and renders and Skype meetings and bottles of Scotch and resubmissions of the app to Apple have gone into this. But I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this project and look forward to where we go in the future.


I am in love with this city and this country.

Theatre Conspiracy - Foreign Radical

My first Fringe show was today - I bought a ticket to the performance ofForeign Radical that was right before Transmission's first performance. The description was the only thing I knew about it: "Thirty participants are invited into an intriguing theatrical game exploring security, profiling, privacy and freedom of expression in the age of cybersurveillance.…

Adventures in Taipei - Day 2

My day started out with a workshop. I then intended to see a couple of performances but only ended up at one before the awards were handed out at World Stage Design that evening...
Workshop: The Whale Inside the Shell - Kinetic Scenography and its Symbolic Applications I was lucky to be able to grab a last minute seat in this workshop with Francesco Fassone, the artist behind the previous day's performance Shape. There seemed to be two ideas at play here - one, the concept of using one form that could change shape (in the way that the cloth did in Shape) to represent different scenes during a performance; and two, the idea that objects used in scenography could be archetypes that would work on a subconscious level for the audience. I was far more interested in the first than the second, and while I can see a connection between the two I'm not sure that connection was made entirely clear, or at least it wasn't for me.  The challenge of finding an object that can change its …

Adventures in Taipei - Day 1

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I'm in Taipei for World Stage Design 2017 this week soaking up inspiration from some of the best scenographers, designers, and artists in the world, people who really conceive of space and performance in unique ways. Monday I arrived after a very long flight and wasn't up for much of anything but crashing, but Tuesday I made it over to TNUA, Taipei National University of the Arts, and walked through the gallery of professional designers selected for the conference (my work wasn't selected this year but damn, seeing these artists' work inspires me...and makes me sad I didn't make more of an effort to get to Seoul in 2009 when my work WAS selected...next time).

I started taking pictures of all the models, and then of the displays that I found the most interesting, partially for myself but also to show my students how work could be presented and show them the painstakingly crafted detail work on the models. My instagram feed is filling up with some of the more interes…