What's Now: November/December 2014

The Clarice is creating the future of the arts with provocative programs that invite you to share in the artistic process, explore important social issues and enjoy the arts in your favorite local hang-out. Here is some of what's now from The Clarice.

School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies



The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) is building the future of the performing arts. The School is a national model of collaboration and innovation, working to develop new forms of creative expression that address society’s most compelling topics. Its work in the 2014–2015 season confronts race and gender equity, sexual violence and the concepts of forgiveness and survival.

TDPS will break down barriers with multiple productions designed to open ideas and engage audiences. Collidescope: Adventures in Pre- and Post-Racial America (November 7–14) is co-authored by internationally acclaimed auteur Ping Chong and playwright-director Talvin Wilks. The play brings TDPS designers and performers together in a devised theatrical response to the senseless killings of young black men in America. Chong and Wilks’ visually arresting styles are showcased in this timely and provocative work.

TDPS melds arts with athletics! As part of the Big Ten Theatre Consortium, TDPS has partnered with other Big Ten Conference schools to influence the dramatic underrepresentation of women playwrights in American theatre. The Consortium is commissioning and producing three plays by a woman playwright over the next three years. The first product of this initiative, Good Kids by acclaimed playwright Naomi Iizuka, will be staged at The Clarice (February 27–March 7). The drama explores a casual sexual encounter gone wrong, and its very public aftermath.

You can even investigate your subversive side as TDPS engages audiences in the unique and provocative Festival of Subversive Artists and Minds. It’s a season-long multimedia and interdisciplinary exploration of subversion in the arts through workshops, performances and roundtables. Be bold — discover the subversive with TDPS! To see the full schedule, visit tdps.umd.edu.

In keeping with TDPS ’s commitment to important social issues, the second Annual Black Theatre Symposium is planned for Spring 2015. Performers, playwrights and designers from across Washington will converge at The Clarice for a day-long session that challenges assumptions about race and the future of Black theatre. The Symposium is open to anyone interested in Black theatre.


Vincent E. Thomas & BOOMscat

Vincent E. Thomas/VT Dance photo by Paul Emerson; BOOMscat

Enter a creative laboratory and see unfinished works in progress! The Clarice is partnering with Joe’s Movement Emporium in Mount Rainier, Maryland to offer this new incubator series for both locally based and touring artists who want to develop new work with input from the community. Be part of the creative process by attending open rehearsals and more!

Join us as Vincent E. Thomas/VTDance explores the intimate yet public space of a café booth and the profound writings of James Baldwin and several other African American writers and poets (Thursday, January 8).

Thomas writes, “I hope to explore the aspects of place/sacred spaces and time that has an impact on writing. How many writers/poets find or found inspiration in a café booth, on napkins, table cloths, manuscript paper or other surfaces? I imagine selected portions of narratives, prose, poetry, and song will be incorporated with dance/movement in an intimate setting.”

A special preview performance will be presented during the company’s residency at Joe’s, giving audience members an opportunity to ask questions about the work and engage in formative conversations as the piece continues to be developed.

Rising soul duo BOOMscat has a little something smooth to offer up and you totally don’t want to miss out on it. Keyboardistdrummer- producer Asha Santee (BOOM) and vocalist-songwriter Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat) recently released their first mixtape, The Trilogy, after returning from their “Peace & Body Roll Tour.”

During their residency at Joe’s Movement Emporium, they will work with a staging expert to develop more presence in their performance practice, create a set piece, indulge in studio time to generate new material and record two to three new songs.

UMD School of Music

invoke quartet and Excelsa Quartet

District5 & invoke quartet photos by Nguyen Nguyen

Meet Common Tone, the uncommon performance series that connects young artists with the community through creative musical experience.

Partnering with beloved local eatery and hang-out Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, the free series abandons traditional concert ritual, celebrates curiosity and explores the senses. Common Tone features the talents of local performers and artists from the UMD School of Music.

On the heels of its successful pilot season, the School of Music and The Clarice Artist Partner Program have co-curated five Common Tone events for the 2014–2015 season.

Common Tone recently presented the unique contemporary string quartet invoke’s dance-inspired program featuring Three Awkward Dances, a new work by the group’s own Nick Montopoli, and Peter Schickele’s American Dreams, his first string quartet, inspired by the sounds of American folk music and dance.

invoke infuses elements of bluegrass, folk and rock, and jams on fretted instruments like mandolin, banjo and dulcimer as well as the standard quartet complement of violins, viola and cello. Believing that the string quartet remains one of the most maneuverable ensembles, invoke aims to reinvent the string quartet as a relevant 21st-century medium.

You’re invited for even more adventure on Sunday, November 16, as Excelsa Quartet, the Graduate Fellowship String Quartet of the School of Music, performs Intimate Letters. The performance explores how the intimacy of love letters written by Czech composer Leoš Janáček led to one of the most sensuously heartbreaking and manic compositions ever written for string quartet.

Called “fresh and youthful sounding” by the Washington Post, the group takes their name from “Picea excels,” a species of spruce tree from which the top panel of only the finest stringed instruments are made.