Alumni Notes Spring 2015

I graduated from the MFA: Contemporary Performance program in 2007. After graduation I stayed in the area and worked with local alumni and other companies on shows and taught at Naropa, UNC Greeley, and Community College of Aurora. I started Public Works Theatre Company in 2013 several years after my daughter was born. I remember seeing excellent theatre as a child and it obviously shaped my future. I want to make new work for young audiences that sparks wonder and curiosity, and stimulates the imagination. This not only serves to cultivate the next generation of theatre patrons but it helps build community and increases the art offerings in East Boulder County.

Our first show was the original work of puppetry Wanda & the Wave in 2013Based on the children’s story The Old Woman and the Wave by Shelley Jackson, our show received a Jim Henson Foundation Family Grant for further development and played to sold-out houses at the Boulder International Fringe Festival in 2014.  We are now touring Wanda in schools and theatres along the Front Range.  Upcoming venues include Chautauqua and the Broomfield Auditorium.  We have also been offering community workshops and residencies in schools in clown, the art of puppetry, and shadow puppet creation. Our primary offering is a clown camp offered each summer for children ages 5-12 in which kids learn traditional clown routines and make up their own. It has a strong vaudevillian flair!

Coming right up we are premiering a new work of clown theatre, Nosy Neighbors, on April 18 & 19 at 11 AM and 2 PM at the historic Mary Miller Theater in Old Town Lafayette. Mary Miller is a sweet, intimate theatre that used to be a church, and we are blessed to premiere our new work here.

11081039_394427900729410_9195228578542839580_n

For more information about Public Works, please visit our website at
www.publicworkstheatre.com.
To purchase tickets for Nosy Neighbors, click here.

And of course you won’t want to miss our show in December, Edwina the Great and Her Amazing Traveling Flea Circus.
Yup, it’s a flea circus.

Written by Sondra Blanchard
Naropa MFA Graduate 2007

Weekend Performances

720

7/20 Project
An ensemble exploration on the Aurora Theatre shooting through interviews and personal reflections, based on the moment work creation process.

Friday, April 10
Saturday, April 11 // 
7:30 p.m.
Created by Stephen Geering + Ensemble
Nalanda Room 9190
$10 General Admission
Free for Naropa Students, Faculty and Staff

unnamed

Followed next weekend by
Embodied Poetics: X
10 poems. 10 performances. 10 years! MFA Theatre: Contemporary Performance program celebrates it’s 10th collaboration with the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.

Sunday, April 19 // 7:00 p.m.
Nalanda and sites around the campus
$10 General Admission
Free for Naropa Students, Faculty and Staff

Gallery Talk

trungpa

Reception with photographer Robert Del Tredici to mark the 28th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Sunday, April 5 from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Naropa University’s Nalanda Campus – White Cube Gallery
6287 Arapahoe Blvd, Boulder

Everyone is invited to a gallery talk with photographer Robert Del Tredici at Naropa University. He will be speaking about his photo exhibit, “Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche: A Celebration in Photographs of the Founding of Naropa,” in honor of the 28th Anniversary of the Parinirvana of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Join us for the talk at 1:30 p.m. followed by a reception, and enjoy more than 50 vintage black and white photographs documenting the Boulder years of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche as he established Buddhist and Shambhala paths during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

For more information, click here.

BFA Thesis Performance Festival

bfa-thesis-spring15-full

Two evenings of versatile performances crafted by seven different artists! See below for descriptions of individual pieces and event information.

April 9-18, 2015
Performing Arts Center, Arapahoe Campus
2130 Arapahoe, Boulder, CO

Tickets are $5 in advance, $10 at the door
FREE for Naropa students with ID
Purchase tickets online through this link.

Evening A: Unveil Her
April 9, 11, 17 at 7:30 p.m.
April 18 at 2:00 p.m.

de sidus; of the star
   by Sofia Enggren
We give permission to ask questions about violence and ancestry. 
We display fragments, residues— plaque on the bone, and the bone 
itself.All the while asking: is it safe? How can we—
Follow your Dreams
   by Larysa Fradet
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back, 
may the sun rise warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May god hold you in the palm of his hand.
My Mother Told Me Secrets
   by Clare Knudson
A multidisciplinary performance investigating the reclamation of a 
feminine body.
Consciously Neurotic; Enlightenment Beware
   by Kendra Thompson
A soft-core stand-up comedy, hard core story telling extravaganza,
with an emphasis on how we can explore our inner neurosis humorously
as a gateway to enlightened living.

Evening B: That Which Makes the Traveler Grow
April 10, 16, 18 at 7:30 p.m. & April 11 at 2:00 p.m.

Out of the Ashes
   by Isaac Eide
Death, rebirth, personal alchemy, and the spiritual journey all 
wrapped into a jazz beat poetry theme.
Yarrow
   by Annie Lo
Hiking a trail marked by bird cairns, the soul journeys through the 
cycles of transformation to self-discovery.
The Complete Man
   by Hayden Mackey
A fool’s journey to becoming a hermit: a story

Performers Without Borders

Dear friends, family and Performers Without Borders supporters,

How are you? Hope all is well! Check out our video from Calcutta:

PWB India 2015 Kolkata Project from Performers Without Borders on Vimeo.

Thanks to your support, we are all teaching and performing over 40 hours every week in India!

India is intense. The road has no rules, dodging chai wallas,  honking motor bikes, migrating herds of jurassic pooping water buffalo on thirty year old bikes. Not to mention on our backs the 3 meters of canvas, bags of diablos, juggling clubs, peacock feathers, plus a hitch hiking student on the wheel’s rim. Fortunately, the city streets of San Francisco and the Rockies have built my calves like a water buffalo.

Now, I am accustomed to clown cars, fitting 6 or 7 clowns and musicians, plus props, into an American Suburu outback. But India is the next level. We have had 9 people in a two seater took took (a tiny 3 wheeled car).  Our acrobalance training has paid off, as we sit on top of each other, hang off the sides, grasping onto gear, the acro mats on a canvas roof, swerving in and out of the urban slum areas, honking all the way, beep, beep, beep!

On Saturday, we hosted a hand-made circus prop making workshop for the kids, sponsored by our generous donors ;).  We used rice and cloth to hand sew poi, recycled bottles and wood for juggling clubs, and some fire staffs. Now the kids have tools to practice with during the year, and the know how to make more, before the next Performers Without Borders team arrives in spring 2016! We have been returning to Asha Deep for seven years, and the skill level and physical coordination of the students is very high. Thankfully, they are teaching me how to juggle and spin!

How can I pintpoint the ripple effect of teaching and cultivating art in young people, many of whom life will be full of economic struggle? How can we foresee the life paths of these blossoming artists, budding teachers, on the banks of the Ganga? How will their work move their communities? One such group of 13 year-olds, The Happy Talent Group, form their identity within juggling and circus. As we bid them farewell at our front gate, we said, “This world needs you as artists, and teachers, and you can make money doing it! Go out and rock on!” They smile, sad to see the weird circus leave town, hesitant to leave. As the world shifts and turns, as the global climate crisis increases, the work of bringing young people together, and facilitating collaboration, creativity, art and joy feels invaluable.

Sub Kuch Milenga ( Anything is Possible)
Namaste G,
Lillian Myers
Naropa BFA in Performance 2012/2013
Performers Without Borders
Benares, Uttar Pradesh

Spring MFA Guest Artists

The MFA classes of 2015 and 2016 are incredibly excited to work together as spring semester continues with upcoming Guest Artists. This past week was a wonderful transition with a 3 day Roy Hart Voice Intensive by Carol Mendelsohn and Saule Ryan from the Centre Artistique International Roy Hart.

Next week continues with the beginning of our Performance Project, which will culminate in a performance on March 20th at 7:30 PM, a collaboration between First and Second Year MFA classes. The project will be in part by Leigh Fondakowski of Tectonic Theater Project, as well as partly by Sean Graney of The Hypocrites.

There will be a receptions for both Artists and a discussion of their current projects:

HeadshotLeigh Fondakowski and Reeva Wortel (BFA, ’06) to talk about Spill on March 17th at 11:30 AM – 12:45 AM  (Naropa Students, Faculty and Staff only).

For those interested in reading more about Spill, click through for NPR article “Deepwater, Center-Stage: Disaster Through Survivors’ Eyes” by Eve Troeh.

unnamed

Sean Graney will have a reception on Wednesday, March 11th from 7-9 PM (Open to Public) to discuss his project All Our Tragic. 

For those interested in reading about the piece, click through for a Chicago Tribune “★★★★” Review by Chris Jones.

Music Construction

The Music program is thrilled to be putting the finishing touches on the recording studio. Displayed following are some shots of the construction, for a behind the scenes look at how it’s all coming together. IMG_3770

There is a large classroom (above), large control room for teaching (below), a tracking room (below where the man is working in the ceiling), and an ISO booth which all connect into 3 small practice/recording spaces.IMG_3770

A glance at 2014…

Congratulations to Kirsten Wilson (2006 M.F.A. Theatre: Contemporary Performance Alumna) on receiving the NEA grant from the Boulder County Arts Alliance to make the One Action – Immigration project a reality, and Gleason Bauer (2007 M.F.A. Theater: Contemporary Performance Alumna) on receiving the 2014 True West Award for directing and designing SLAB!

Debris never looked more savage, beautiful and meaningful than it did scattered across the Atlas Theatre stage in Boulder for square product theatre’s world premiere of SLAB, a visceral, multimedia meditation on Hurricane Katrina. This portrait of disaster was expressed in such expanse and minute detail, I lingered after the play for almost an hour to study it up close as one might examine a museum exhibit – or a crime scene. Post-apocalyptic New Orleans, after all, was both.” —John Moore

Commendations to Samuel Jablom (2009 B.A. Writing and Literature Alumnus) for 2014 Freight+Volume exhibit Word: Play which ran August 21-September 27, and received reviews from Art NewsArt in America, BOMBWall Street Journal, and the Wild Magazine.

Here’s to 2015!

 

 

Enrique’s Journey in LA

BFA Undergraduate professor Lorenzo Gonzalez performed about 10 different roles in Su Teatro’s production of Enrique’s Journey, which closed last Friday November 7th at it’s run in Los Angelos for Encuentro 2014. In the production, Lorenzo utilized just about as many different accents to portray the characters following the trek of a young immigrant from Honduras across Mexico and into the U.S.A.

There are 10 companies conjoined from the members of the total 17 different theater companies attending Encuentro 2014. With 17 staged productions exploring the Latin@ experience onstage and 150 theater artists all across the U.S.A. including Puerto Rico, this festival is the most significant gathering of Latin@ theater artists to date including 2 Pulitzer prize winning plays. As part of the festival, Lorenzo is working on a devised piece with members from the other companies attending.

“Enrique’s Journey” LA Times Review by Margaret Gray

Eulogy for the Avant-garde

As performed by Teresa Veramendi, Naropa MFA 2016, at Naropa University on October 9, 2014, on the occasion of the funeral for the dearly departed.

eulogyI will begin by quoting from some of our holy books.

Ecclesiastes 3:11. God has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, God has put eternity into the human heart, yet so that we cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

The Qur’an. Surat al-Baqarah 2:216. And it may be that you dislike something even though it is good for you.

We must remember to celebrate the life of the American Avant-garde, to hear the piping from that distant parade even from of the 21st century. It has not been so very long, though some might call our gathering outdated, or gay. So be it! I believe the spirit of the American Avant-garde lives on in all of us, indeed is with us at this very moment.

Some days, I imagine a world where every human being could open their consciousness to the spiritual dimension. Where we could all know that not only are we not alone, not only will our actions reverberate for the rest of humanity’s existence, but that there is unending wisdom from the past saturating in the very words we speak every day. Avant-garde. Did any of us here today really know the Avant-garde? Did the Avant-garde ever really speak to us on the level of spiritual truth? I believe so, for all of us, in our own unique relationships.

If John Cage could be here today, I believe he would be proud of all the Avant-garde accomplished in its relatively short life – the union of theatre, music, and dance is real. The invitation for a deep critique of mainstream culture heavily scents the air, yet many artists are too afraid to make the art that is called for by the Avante-garde, and by our time, as our species ambulates around the earth’s tipping point.

The illnesses ailing the Avant-garde were various: late American imperial crony capitalism, the general standards of decency and respect for the diverse beliefs and values of the American people, the well-intentioned academia, and technology.

I can speak personally and say that the Avant-garde changed my life, and I believe the Avant-garde will continue to alter my path, from beyond the grave. A romantic sensibility about a utopian future lives on in my heart. Many Americans are afraid to look forward since our path spells disaster.  The Avant-garde prods us, insisting that we must look forward, we must create visions of a future we might have, particularly when no one else will. The Avant-garde taught me to believe that there must be many ways to radically restructure the way the average human being sees theatre and life. There is still so much work to be made. So many truths to learn. So many products to sell! Okay that was tongue-in-cheek.

But really, what is the Avant-garde? What do Richard Schechner and Robert Wilson really have in common? And if we cannot discreetly define a thing, can we really be sure it’s dead?

Written by Teresa Veramendi
Naropa MFA Candidate 2016