This is full-time, on campus Winter Term project will introduce students to a non-illusory performance art aesthetic. Students will workshop writing and performing original material and contribute to the composition and performances of their peers. This exploration and output will culminate in a non-illusory, collaborative presentation of the students’ devising that demonstrates their growth as writers and composers of interdisciplinary performance. While this project culminates in a performance, students need not be trained performers. The ideal student will come to the workshop with a background in at least one artistic discipline – e.g. music composition and/or performance, visual art, writing/poetry, dance, theater, etc. – and a willingness to explore other disciplines in a collaborative environment.
The first two weeks of this project will focus on collaborative writing and composition, wherein students will generate work based on specific prompts. Collaboration with artists from other disciplines and backgrounds will further develop generated material; every piece will undergo a rigorous process of constructive criticism and experimentation as a means by which to explore and hone ideas for their synthesis into multidisciplinary media. During the third week, students will pursue the continued development of work through revision, as well as the exploration of a suitable container for a final performance. The final week of the workshop will be center on curating work, rehearsal, and the performance itself.
About the Tectonic Theater Project:
Tectonic is dedicated to developing innovative works that explore artistic language and form, fostering a dialogue with audiences on the social, political, and human issues that affect us all. In service to this goal, Tectonic’s performance-making techniques revolves around “Moment Work.” Used to create performances such as The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and 33 Variations, Moment Work explores the potential of all elements of space (objects, sound, architecture, light, bodies, etc.) in order to create strong narratives. The technique enables artists to create from the ground up by “writing performance” as opposed to “writing text,” providing the artist with the freedom to create individual, self-contained performance units (Moments) and then sequence these units together into phrases or sentences that will eventually become a whole piece.
About the Neo-Futurism:
This performance aesthetic has deep Oberlin roots; it was pioneered by Oberlin alumnus Greg Allen (’84). The New York and Chicago sister companies that blossomed from Greg’s aesthetic ideas include Oberlin alumni Rachel Claff (’95), Julia Melfi (’15), and Joey Rizzolo (’97).
Neo-Futurism is supported by four key pillars:
You are who you are. Performers do not pretend to be characters. They perform as they are in every day life. Their appearance, speech, history, and daily experiences are their own. This is acknowledged in performance, and serves as the foundation for playwriting in the Neo-Futurist aesthetic.
You are where you are. In the context of most performances, this means that the performer is in a space designated as a stage, doing things before people designated as an audience. The performer is not alone. The fire exits cannot be blocked. The gun is fake. The performer cannot gaze into the stars because there is a ceiling in the way. Once this is accepted, limitless possibilities can emerge; if the ambiance is wrong, it can be changed.
You are doing what you are doing. All tasks are real challenges. If the performer can’t do something, they must be actually physically unable to do it. If they are drinking a warm milkshake and deadlifting 400 pounds, they must do so with a warm milkshake and a 400 pound weight. If they forget their lines, they have forgotten their lines. If they’re not supposed to know what's going to happen next, the performance is scripted in such a way that they can’t possibly know.
The time is now. Real events both personal and political are dealt with in as current a manner as possible. If something happens 10 minutes before a performance that changes the truth of a performance, that event must affect the substance of the performance. As the medium of now that takes place in real time and space, theater must reflect what is going on right now.
There is no fee for this project.
Number of students:
January 3rd - January 31st, 2020