Stranger: A Festival in Search of Hospitable Acts
Photo by Elysia Su
The Duke University Department of Theater Studies and Sojourn Theatre of Portland (OR) present The Stranger Festival all day Friday, February 24, 2012 in locations throughout Durham.
The Festival is the culmination of a year of conversations and meditations about the dynamics of hospitality in Durham, from tiny daily acts of civility to the impacts of rapidly changing public policy. Duke students, faculty, Durham citizens, and guest artists from Sojourn Theatre will host a series of micro-events throughout Durham that intersect with and explore the daily patterns of the city.
According to Sojourn Theatre artistic director Michael Rohd, “We’ve taken on lots of projects that have some kind of bridge impulse in them. We want to bring people into contact who aren’t generally connected with each other.”
“Duke and Durham are geographically linked, but we felt there were plenty of bridges to be built between the two,” says Torry Bend, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Theater Studies at Duke and chief collaborator with Sojourn.
"This Sojourn residency created a forum in which Duke students and the Durham community could engage in the act of creation under the advisement of Sojourn Theatre – a nationally-known company noted for its ability to pair civic engagement with performance.
“In the act of producing The Stranger Festival, the collaborating students, faculty and Durham residents have defined the important subjects that affect their shared community and have created specially for that community.”
Events will take place on Friday, February 24 around Durham and are free and open to the public.
For more information go the The Stranger Festival website.
Read about it in today's Chronicle.
The reception area in Duke's Fitzpatrick Center (FCIEMAS).
The white-caped meninges -- Pia (Michele Okoh-Bernis), Dura (Camille Wright), and Arachnoid (Annabelle Meunier).
Hanging out for a while to chat and taste chocolate and champagne makes for a thoroughly stimulating show.
Dura explains that everyone will be taking their shoes off before they enter the brain.
Lingering for a while over the educational material.
Reading material suitable for a show about the brain.
The centerpiece of the brain is the very very busy thalamus (Skylar Gudasz).
Thalamus & Co.
A path of shoes leads from the brain to the classroom/laboratory.
One piece of real estate that's always worth investing in.
For the past few weeks, Duke's Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences (FCIEMAS) has also been a center for art. For Waves of Mu, an installation and performance piece by visiting artist Amy Caron, The Studio became a fanciful interactive walk–
Eight times between Oct. 20 and Oct. 30 audiences of about 50 were relieved of their shoes, ushered into the brain and then down the hall for some dramatic research. Actually the show started as soon as the audience began to arrive. While they waited, white-robed greeters — Dura, Pia, and Arachnoid, named for the meninges — plied them with champaign or cider and chocolate. There was punchy ambient music to listen to, composed by Duke graduate student Paul Leary, and video clips to watch. Brains were busy handling diverse sensory input as people waited to learn about how brains handle sensory input. It wasn't sensory overload, though, since it was also a time to chat and ask questions. In fact, sociability was one of the main themes of the evening.
Dura, Pia, and Arachnoid accompanied the audience into the brain, collecting their shoes in the process. Inside the installation, though, the center of attention was the person sitting at a desk typing, answering the phone, sorting and straightening and generally keeping busy. That was the switchboard of the brain, the thalamus (from the typewriter and the clunky phone, it seems that the brain is stuck in the disco era, technologically speaking). She was apt to hand a slip of paper to whoever was nearby and ask them to take it to some other part of the brain. In spite of the swirl of activity, she was kind enough to answer a few questions.