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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…

You Get What You Put In.

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Once upon a time, I was lucky enough to design lights for Rubber Repertory, before Josh moved to Los Angeles and Matt moved to Shanghai. And we did this odd, amazing production called Biography of Physical Sensations. Designing lights for this was honestly the safest way to "see" it. Josh and Matt are very...original...when it comes to audience interactivity. For Biography, each audience member bought a ticket and selected a specific size chair. Your chair size determined your level of participation - small chairs meant you were willing to dip your toes in the water, medium meant you were willing to wade in, and large chairs meant you were diving headfirst into the deep end of the pool, hoping it was filled with water. I never chose anything above a small chair. I knew what awaited the people in the others.

I don't want to go into a big thing about what exactly Biography was, because there are plenty of articles out there on it, but I can say that the experience of works…

Five Things: Notes from While You Were Out Tech

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1. It's April, and now that I've been in Minnesota for almost two years I am learning that April means I'm about ready to peel my own skin off if it means I can see some sun and some warm weather soon. I am missing Texas, again, and that memory thing on Facebook decided to show me this the other day:


I know that when we moved to Texas from San Francisco I didn't love it, and so I try to remember just how long it took me to fall in love with the Lone Star State. It's difficult to imagine feeling that way about Minnesota right now, when everything feels cold, damp, and grey all the time. But I know that when May broke last year it was amazing. I'm just holding on for that. Hopefully the rest - the part where I do fall in love with the state - will come in time, just like it did with Texas.

2. Once this show is open and I have some down time (not much, since I'm moving straight on to Mary Poppins) I am having a serious talk with myself about why it is I need t…

Five Things: Notes from Acute Care Tech

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1. Jason Tremblay and I went to grad school together at UT Austin. He was an MFA playwriting candidate while I was in design. His play Katrina: The Girl Who Wanted Her Name Back was first produced at UT our final year there. I think that was the year I was on the play selection committee, too. I found out this afternoon that he died this morning. This was a shock to me - he wasn't a close friend though we were both a part of the Austin theater community for years and years, friends of mine had produced his work, and I had bumped into him again when I began to design for ACC. He was one of three Austin theater makers who have been battling cancer on and off for a number of years, and I think that's what hits me the hardest - since I heard the news, part of me has been thinking quietly one down, two to go. Given Travis's recent heart attack, I'm coming to realize that even people our age die.

2. And I am now the age my mother was when she died of cancer. The unknown qua…

Lust Experience Adventures Begin

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The Lust Experience has begun - two incredible events have already taken place and I have already been blabbing to every performance studies person I can nail down to a chair for twenty minutes about what is transpiring.

As Amy Guerin said last year, "time to performance studies the shit outta this!"
The Book Release On March 15, a book release party was held for the commemorative glossy behind-the-scenes book about The Tension Experience at the OOA compound. This was seemingly advertised as a party and a last chance to say goodbye to the place where the immersive piece was held, and to socialize with old friends and cast members. Which is exactly what it seemed to be, in the beginning. I wasn't there, because my impromptu trips to Los Angeles will be curtailed somewhat this year (see last blog post) even if Travis doesn't entirely remember the last one. I saw friends posting photos of themselves seated on the stage (where I was sacrificed my first time through Ascen…

How much does a heart attack cost? And what does that have to do with NEA cuts and iPhones?

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I have really and truly wrestled with writing this post. Two friends of mine in particular asked me to write it when I blew up at someone on the internet in a dumb internet moment a couple of months ago because I started spouting the numbers, and they said it would be important for people to know exactly what happened to us, and why, and what it cost in actual dollars.
What this is NOT This is not about politics, about Obamacare, about Trump or anything like that. This is about what happened to my husband and myself as a result of our choices. If you feel that you're in a position to pass judgement on us, please go right ahead. This is also NOT a plea for money. AT ALL.
What this IS If you're a person who thinks that this is something that happens to other people and it can't happen to them...you are wrong, and you need to stop. We spend too much time assuming that this happens to *not us* because we are (fill in the blanks: hard working, responsible, stable, whatever). Yo…