No surprise and always surprising, our graduate students concocted an evening of short performances that delighted the audience. In order of their appearance, we were treated to: Lisa Swartzel in a Donald Barthelme story, Bunny Image, Loss of: The Case of Bitsy S.; Greg Cavenaughs Dog Haiku; Darren Goins in Anne Sextons Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; Becky Kennerly performing excerpts from Kaye Gibbonss Ellen Foster; Bruce Frances The Truth about Hairy Palms, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; and Justin Trudeau and Danielle Sears in Three Questions: A Film.
By Lee Smith * Adapted & performed by Sally Austin
Austin, a senior CMST major who performed in several other Black Box productions and had a life-long love affair with southern fiction, performed Smiths haunting story of love, loss, and marine biology, set just down the road, in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Directed by Ruth Laurion Bowman
This ensemble work challenged the exploding "Visual Literacy" of the Twentieth Century by asking how and why we look at pictures, in museums, galleries, and electronic media. Bowman did some exploding of her own via the text of an already fractured (cubist?) Donald Barthelme short story, On the Deck. She playfully staged each section of the text according to methods adapted from a diverse array of performance and visual art theorists, ranging from the Bauhaus to Boals Image Theatre.
Written & performed by Dee Monlezun
Performer Dee Monlezun took us for a freewheeling, eclectic tour of our own Baton Rouge backyard, zipcodes 70801 and 2. Mixing up travelogue, ethnography, gentle irony, sharp social critique, and nostalgia, Monlezun characterized downtown Baton Rouge through both hard times and prosperity. Most memorable for many audience members was her portrayal of downtown blues impresario Tabby Thomas.
Written & performed by Michael S. Bowman
This performance, which also played at Southern Illinois University and was featured at the National Communication Association conference in Chicago, gave Greg Ulmers mystory form wide currency in the performance studies discipline by vividly demonstrating how effective its techniques can be in creating autobiographical performance. Bowman wrote and staged the show based on his intersections with infamous gangster John Dillinger, who came from the same small town in Indiana where Bowman was raised. The mystorian pays attention to such coincidences.
A program of short, experimental films made by students in the Introduction to Film course, conceived and taught by Patricia Suchy who thought it might be valuable for students to learn about film by doing it. Made on 8 mm film and transferred to digital video for editing, the films were based on several works of modern poetry. The students were challenged to draw on the poems as relays for their own montages, using the movement of the poems language and its figures of sound as sense bases for their experiments in cinematic language. Over the years, Suchys innovations in the basic course have resulted in increased interest in filmmaking at LSU, a LSU Cinema Club that hosts the Outhouse Film Festival each year, Suchys receipt of a sizable grant for digital video equipment used by students across departments, and the growth of the Audio-Visual Arts program at LSU, which Suchy now heads.
Students from the introductory course claimed the Black Box as their own in performances of poetry, prose, and compiled materials.
January 23 & 24
Based in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and in Louisiana to premiere a work in New Orleans, the Dah Teatar Company were our guests at LSU for two days. Members of the company led students in a workshop on their highly physical performance methods, and lectured to the public on the theme of The response of the artist in wartime. The lecture featured video of several of Dahs street performances taken during war protests in Belgrade.
The Black Box continued its tradition of opening each semester with a program of short performances offered by our outstanding graduate students.
Adapted & performed by Terrence Tucker
Inspired by interviews conducted by literary and cultural critic Henry Louis Gates, Tucker presented a collage that featured the voices of an array of black men. Tucker, who was president of the LSU NAACP and Student Government Director of Minority Affairs, explored the problems of subjectivity that attend contemporary African-American masculinity by playing a variety of roles, ranging from a college student in his twenties to a retired railroad Pullman in his seventies.
Directed by Greg Cavenaugh
Euripidess classic tale of human ignorance and divine retribution received a new twist in Cavenaughs multicultural, multimedia production. Drawing on ritual and performance practices from diverse cultures, such as Javanese shadow puppetry, Cavenaugh and his cast explored the common struggle of communities to maintain harmony from the classical Greek period through to today.
Written & performed by Danielle Sears
Performer Danielle Sears, herself a descendant of the Canary Islanders or Islenos who settled in what is now St. Bernard Parish, followed last year's popularly-acclaimed Chalmette: A Promised Land with a celebration of the Decima, a form of story in song unique to the Islenos. On one night of this memorable performance, Ivan Perez, one of the last remaining decimeros from St. Barnard Parish, himself a subject of Searss ethnographic study, treated the audience to several of his own decimas
By Carson McCullers
Adapted & directed by Patricia A. Suchy & Rebecca M. Kennerly
Set in the deep South in the 1930s, McCullers's passionate, eloquent novel highlights the nobility of the human spirit and the rich intensity of the longings and dreams of our "inner rooms." In their likewise eloquent production, Suchy and Kennerly realized McCullerss concerns through physical signs evocative of the inner rooms of the five character-narrators. Experimental films, figurative set pieces and props, and character vocabularies i.e., repeating gestures based in American Sign Language implied the rich inner life of each character and their relationship to the character at the core of the narrative, the deaf mute, Singer.
Performances by Susanne Brasset and Nick Slie
Performers Brasset and Slie developed extended versions of projects that originated in a course on performance composition. Drawing on the concept of the mystory, which combines history, mystery, and autobiography, Brasett enciphered her story through the life and works of playwright Sam Shepard in a piece titled, Sam I am. In Slies mystory, What of you now Jack Kerouac, he traced his personal history through Kerouacs life story and writings.
The semester concluded with a rousing celebration of solo performances by students in the introductory course.