HopKins Black Box fans began the season with an exciting night of short performances by our enigmatic graduate students. Among others . . . melanie was seedless, andy, untitled, darren, more than a bird; tiwa performed a traditional thai dance and, in caveat emptor, our dear david pye drank a 12-pack of diet coke! Excruciating.
Compiled & directed by Melanie Kitchens
Drawing on her own experience and a wealth of supporting materials, Kitchens explored and critiqued the cherished traditions of debutante culture casting her five fledgling debs (garbed in gowns of plastic and lace) into a fairytale world gone awry. With not a little irony, Kitchens prompted her audience to enter the act by serving tea on Sunday to those who attended in hat and gloves. Kitchens proceeded to apply her research in her MA thesis, a genealogy of debutante culture and performance.
By Laura Furman and Lynn C. Miller
Performed by Mary Frances HopKins
Mary Frances HopKins, Professor Emerita, made a fabulous return to the Black Box stage in this one-person show based on the life of Katherine Anne Porter. The performance depicted Porter in a hotel in New England, desperate to finish the novel, Ship of Fools, which she had worked on for twenty-five years. As she writes, Porter recalls earlier days and charts her journey as an unconventional woman from the south growing up and becoming a celebrated author.
Complied & directed by Michael Bowman
Before The DaVinci Code, there was Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned, a mystery about the making of mysteries, mythologies, and paranoid/paranormal fantasies. Bowmans cast of intrepid mystorians investigated the complex puzzle of Rennes-le-Chteau, a small village in the south of France where a priests discovery of four old parchments gives rise to conspiracy theories that reach back centuries and forward too into our present time where we (and Bowmans cast in particular) confirm, question, and speculate on the mysterious history through stories of our own.
Albeit partial, a literary history seemed at play in the pieces presented by students from the introductory classes. Performances of writings by Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Shirley Jackson, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, and others rounded out the first half of our season.
A Tallahassee Community Theatre for the Weird Community
Satirizing property rights and toxic waste, Moby Dick and Barry Manilow, the Mickee Faust Club offered the HopKins Black Box audience a cabaret of sassy humor and biting social critique. An eclectic group of straight and gay, young and old, white- blue- and no-collar professions, the Faustketeers share a firm conviction of intolerance toward the intolerant and a belief in comedy as an effective antidote for the ills of a world spinning too far right.
By Milan Kundera * Adapted & directed by Tracy Stephenson
Kunderas critically acclaimed novel interweaves a love story with philosophical forays into everything from betrayal to surgery to toilets. Stephenson was inspired to adapt and direct the novel because of the challenge of Kunderas complex narrative style. She entrusted her adaptation to a talented ensemble of six, who depicted the four major characters involved in a love quadrangle and the two narrators who tell the tale and double as several minor characters. A stylistic dance of ideas was the result.
Produced by Lisa Flanagan
April 9 & 10
Intrigued by the relationship between space, place, and memory, Flanagan produced a provocative and engaging Across Disciplines event. Drawing on three classmates from Dr. Miles Richardsons Poetics of Place course (offered in the Department of Geography and Anthropology), Flanagan teamed each with a performance studies graduate student, the pairs creating installations that featured the research of the former. Together with Flanagans own installation, the four projects created an audience interactive environment of memories in place, and shifting. In her piece, Barbara Faulkner documented the ever-changing picture show of graffiti that once covered the defunct and now demolished University Cinema. Jacqueline Mills presented the haunting history of a break tree on a Louisiana cotton farm. John Welch created a garden of memory that evoked the now overgrown garden of Le Petit Versailles, a plantation located in southern Louisiana. And Flanagan traced her tenuous investigation of the multiple histories embedded in an abandoned Victorian mansion in downtown Baton Rouge. The respondents to the event were esteemed professors from across the campus: Bainard Cowan of English, Jay Edwards and Miles Richardson of Geography and Anthropology, Joshua Gunn of Communication Studies, Marsha Cuddeback of the School of Architecture, and Marchita Mauck and Frederick Ortner of the College of Art and Design.
Adapted & directed by Greg Cavenaugh
April 30-May 3
Seven women played twenty-one characters in this feminist revision of Shakespeares dark comedy. For his production, Cavenaugh returned to Shakespeares source, Boccaccios Decameron, and began the play with a group of women retreating to the Italian countryside to escape the plague. There, they tell and enact stories to ward off boredom the key tale being that of Helena, her unrequited love for Bertram, and the tricks she plays to bend him to her will. Under Cavanaughs adept hand, the double standard regarding how men and women should perform acts of power surfaced with vigor and wit implicating not only the fictive past but the theatrical and everyday realities of the present.
Our phenomenal undergraduates offer a variety of performances drawn from the introductory course sections, aesthetics of film and video, performance in everyday life, performance of southern fiction, and group performance.
The performances Passenger on the Ship of Fools and The Mickee Faust Club were funded through the LSU Performing Arts Student Fee.