FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Missy McTamney
January 10, 2012 – College Park, MD -- The power of the entrepreneurial artist comes alive in the Festival of New Works, a series of seven devised performance pieces staged over three weekends in February. The hour-long works are created, produced and performed by members of the first MFA Performance cohort of the University of Maryland’s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS). The MFA in Performance is a unique program focused on training the self-sustaining, entrepreneurial theatre professional.
With diverse experiences ranging from regional theatre to Broadway, the cohort of MFA Performance artists has created the Festival as the grand finale of their TDPS degree studies. Their performances are grounded in their own experiences and personal artistic visions, showcasing their individual writing, research and performance skills.
About the Festival of New Works Performances:
Caroline Clay and Anu Yadav
Friday, February 1, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 2, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM
Caroline Clay: Let it Flo!
Let it Flo! is a celebration of the courage it takes to truly be free. Can you ever, especially as you age, come to terms with the often-unpopular choices that afford such freedom? When you choose to live fiercely, publicly and out loud, what happens when your legacy of achievement and struggle is erased from history? This is an invitation to find the place in all of us that is willing to forgive.
Anu Yadav: Meena’s Dream
With one actress and three musicians, Meena’s Dream is a coming-of-age tale about seven-year-old Indian American Meena, as seen through the fantastical landscape of her own imagination. Meena’s only wish is for her mother Aisha to be well, while Hindu God Lord Krishna seeks Meena’s help in his hour of need. In an epic conversation with God, Meena wrestles with life’s unanswerable questions of mortality, suffering and God’s own existence. Her quest is set to a live, original score combining South Indian classical music, contemporary jazz and indie rock.
Rob Jansen and David Demke
Friday, February 8, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 9, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM
Rob Jansen: The Tramp’s New World
From his office atop the 50th floor of the Chrysler Building, Pulitzer Prize winning author James Agee struggles to complete a screenplay that tells the story of Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” character as the lone survivor of a super atomic blast. Using projection, physical comedy, music, and silent film technique, The Tramp’s New World adapts a lost screenplay for the stage described as “so dark it was without precedent” and tells the story of a writer’s struggle to find redemption through his art.
David Demke: Sacred Soil
Sacred Soil poses a question: “Can we be redeemed by violent means?” The play tells the story of a young man struggling to make sense of the violence that is around him and a part of him. In the end, what is revealed to him suggests the truth about hope and love. “With this story, I want to show that the landscape of the human heart is also harsh and beautiful, complex and paradoxical, and it is the spiritual path that makes sense of it all.”
Nick Horan, Claudia Rosales and Teresa Ann Virginia Bayer
Friday, February 15, 2013 . 7PM
Saturday, February 16, 2013 . 2PM & 7PM
Nick Horan: The Sound of Smoke
Using projections and shadow play, this theatrical event challenges the audience’s conception of sexuality, truth and identity. Dance movement, song, text and imagery will illuminate a dark period in the world’s history that in many ways mirrors our world today. “I want to engender an environment of glorious decay right on the edge of collapse and in doing so allow the audience to walk the tightrope with me as I portray a transvestite who loved too hard and lost it all.”
Claudia Rosales: Café
When Erendira’s brother, Miguel, tracks her down after three years in order to tell her of their beloved Abuela’s death, she begins a journey of forgiving both her brother and herself. In the play, Rosales uses the ritualistic tradition of preparing Cuban coffee as a way to symbolize the struggle of constructing cultural identity for many first-generation Americans as they reconcile familial obligation with individual desire. “Through flashback, dream-like lighting, verse, music, movement and food I want to arouse in people the desire to question their own cultural upbringing.”
Teresa Ann Virginia Bayer: Coffee and Biscuit
Coffee & Biscuit is a Technicolor variation on Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House set in the 1950’s in which we see Nora Helmer’s perfect world of Hoovers and Jell-o molds topple around her. This physical, quirky romp, featuring both puppets and live actors, provokes its audience to examine the gender roles constructed by society and the media, by putting Ibsen’s classic story against 20th century feminist thought, playfully tearing at the seams of convention.
About the University of Maryland’s MFA in Performance Program:
TDPS’s unique MFA in Performance program debuted in 2010 at the University of Maryland and is grounded in the idea that performing artists are best prepared to succeed in the lightning-paced world of theatre if they fortify themselves with the skills to create, produce, perform and teach their own work. The program’s curriculum not only teaches on-stage performance skills, but also trains students to be multi-talented “total theatre entrepreneurs”. These skills enable them to be self-sustaining in ways that could change the nature of their art form.
The first cohort of seven talented artist-scholars will graduate in May 2013 and begin applying their entrepreneurial skills to changing the future of theatre. “Independent-thinking theatre students like these have the capacity to change the nature of the field,” said Leslie Felbain, head of the MFA Performance Program “Their performances will be just a preview of what’s to come as they turn their talent and passion to new careers and great artistic accomplishments.”
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Learn more about the Clarice Smith Center's donor support.