POSTED ON FEBRUARY 15, 2012:
Pushing the Envelope
New Genre's gripping opening and Shakespeare takes on T-Town
Taking a fresh spin on contemporary and experimental art, Living Arts is kicking off one of Tulsa's longest lived art festivals: the "New Genre Fest XIX" with a Preview Party, Friday Feb. 17 from 6-7pm. Audiences can view snippets of upcoming installations, ranging from dance to kabuki inspired performance art to inflatable sculpture installations. Steve Liggett, artistic director and New Genre Festival coordinator, will be on hand to give insight to the many disciplines and artists participating in this diverse and fresh celebration.
The New Genre Festival pushes the boundaries of non-traditional forms of art. Many of the participants hold degrees in their established fields and cross disciplinary lines. Some installations simply are beyond explanation and must be experienced up close and personal. Several of the performances will be one-time-only engagements, which were created specifically for the festival.
The first event is the dance performance Home Made presented by the acclaimed group tEEth out of Portland, Ore. This performance, Feb. 17-18 at 8pm at the Williams Theatre of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, is an autobiographical exploration of the complexities of the 16 year relationship between the creators. Home Made will include two live musicians and two live dancers. Please note this performance contains nudity.
"Home Made was inspired by our relationship of 16 years. A few years ago we experienced what many couples refer to as 'the seven year itch.' As a way to process this experience and heal, we decided to take it into the studio," said Angelle Hebert, co-creator of tEEth. "All of our work is generated from collaborative improvisation... I set up a camera in the studio to document myself moving and Phillip watches and plays music. We respond to each other through movement and sound. We extract material from these documented improvised sessions to create fully realized works. Home Made is the result of those sessions together in the studio," Angelle said in an email interview.
tEEth will also be conducting a four hour "Creating Collaborative Work" workshop at the Liggett Studio, 308 S. Kenosha Ave., on Saturday Feb. 18 from 1-5pm.
tEEth was created by Hebert and Phillip Kraft. Hebert holds her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah and began tEEth as a collaborative effort with Kraft in 2006. Her work has toured in New Orleans, La., to Austin, Texas as a participating artist in the Fuse Box Festival 2008.
"Our collaboration is incredibly intimate. We create everything together from the ground up so the movement and music gets generated simultaneously. For us collaboration is about listening, staying open, trust, and following your gut," Hebert said.
Philip Kraft is a composer, musician, technician, sound designer and digital video/audio specialist from Salt Lake City, Utah. He has composed, mixed, mastered and performed over 20 original compositions for live performance including works from the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts and The Fuse Box Festival in 2009.
"Communication is also hugely important. Sometimes you have to defend your gut feeling to the other person which can be difficult to express. Phillip and I share the same aesthetic so for us we communicate clearly through the work we make together. "Yes, there are definite times that we disagree, but we completely trust each other's vision. We keep each other in check -- we are each other's outside eyes and ears. Individually, we can get so consumed by our own ideas or work that having the other person there to ask questions, investigate further with, or just simply to say, 'hey, that's not working' is a huge help and has made our collaboration successful," Hebert said.
New Genre Festival passes are $25 for Adults, $15 for students, members of Living Arts and Seniors, and can be purchased by calling 918-596-7109.
Theater for a Good Cause
Actors Company of Tulsa (ACT), in association with the Greenwood Cultural Center, performs William Shakespeare's Othello Feb. 16-26. Held at the Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Ave., this is ACT's fourth production this season. Set in 1921, the backdrop is Tulsa ensnared in the tension leading up to the race riots.
"February is black history month and 2012 being the first year that the race riots will be covered in Tulsa schools, our artistic director, Starr Hardgrove, proposed doing an adaptation of Othello set in 1921 Tulsa," said Bonny Downs, director of Othello. "We all thought it was a great idea and jumped immediately on board. It has been interesting to discover just how few people even know about the race riot, even people born and raised in Tulsa. We were able to set up a partnership with the Greenwood Cultural Center early on and they have been wonderfully supportive. We have made it our policy beginning with our production of Angels in America earlier this season to donate 20 percent of our ticket proceeds to a worthy cause, and Greenwood was the perfect candidate."
The Greenwood Cultural Center's mission is to promote African-American heritage and promote positive images of the African-American community by providing educational and cultural experiences, promoting intercultural exchange and cultural tourism.
Does mixing Shakespeare with Tulsa's darkest hour prove to be a challenge?
"The most challenging part has been adapting the setting from that of a military setting to the world of the oil industry of 1920's Tulsa. The roles of generals and lieutenants had to be converted to oil men in a way that made sense without detracting from Shakespeare's intended piece. Adapting these roles and making them specific to the time period has been a challenge," Downs said.
This production will be the second nomination for Actors Company of Tulsa in the Tulsa Award for Theatre Excellence sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
"The beauty of Shakespeare is that it is relevant to just about any time in history or culture. Setting the piece in Tulsa makes it specifically relevant to our community, rather than a story taking place in a foreign time and place that many of us can't relate to," Downs said. For theater goers, ACT has implemented the "5 and Forget it Plan," which offers patrons admission to all productions as well as inside access to rehearsals and web content for a flat fee of $5 per month. You can also buy tickets at the door or at othellotulsa.com for $14. Admission is $10 for groups of 10 or more. Othello runs Feb. 16-17, 23-24 at 7pm, with Sunday matinees on Feb. 19 and 26 at 1pm at the Greenwood Cultural Center. For more information, call 918-409-0571.
Trio of Distinction
Celebrating their 10th season, the three virtuosos of chamber music, Trio Solisti, will bring their passionate and acclaimed performance to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3pm.
After debuting in prestigious venues like the Kennedy Center, this powerhouse of three performs a wide range of styles.
In their Tulsa performance, Trio Solisti will perform Schumann's Fantasiestucke, Op.88. Schumann created this piece in 1850; set in four movements -- each movement, while unrelated, has names that evoke the grandeur of the piece, such as Romance, and Humoresque.
Also to be performed are Dvorak's Trio in F Minor, Op. 65, in four movements, which range from turbulent, to polka, to Bohemian dance. Dvorak, who played internationally, is known for bringing Chez music into the forefront in 1880.
Third on the schedule of Sunday afternoon delight is Moravec's Passacaglia. An American composer, Moravec was born in Buffalo in 1957. Tempest Fantasy, a piece he composed after Shakespeare, was dedicated to Trio Solisti.
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition complete the concert. Pictures was composed with a promenade that saunters through 10 titled images, each embodying the art installation that Mussorgsky remembers while visiting an exhibition created by an old friend, Viktor Hartmann, in 1874. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Tulsa Performing Arts Center at 918-596-7111. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students.
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