The non-persistence of memory.

The award-winning Durham theater Manbites Dog kicks off its 24th Season this weekend with the regional premiere of Jennifer Haley‘s Breadcrumbs. The show runs through October 23. The first review is in and the word is GOOD!

A scene from Manbites Dog's production of Breadcrumbs.

Alida, a popular but curmudgenly writer of “fairy tales for the literati”, struggles with the slow, inexorable decline of dementia determined to complete her final story before completely losing her grip on reality. Her assistant in daily life and in the memoir’s composition is Beth, a woman with her own troubled childhood. As Alida’s memories are manifest in the tale despite the author’s insistence that her work is not autobiographical, the present-day reality becomes a stage wherein both women perform their pasts. Is their fragile bond  enough to derail either woman’s inevitable fate?

Sights & Sounds Theater @ FHI

A new audio performance series has formed under the auspices of the Franklin Humanities Institute. The following narrative is from FHI’s weekly events newsletter:

Sights & Sounds is a series of events using music and sound as a reference point to discuss topics spanning the disciplines.

Sights & Sounds Theater @ FHI

On Oct 13, 3pm, in C105, Bay 4, Smith Warehouse, aka FHI Garage, Sights & Sounds Theater will kick off with a discussion on Lady Gaga with Profs. Guo-Juin Hong (Asian & Middle Eastern Studies) and Jacqueline Waeber (Music) and FHI program coordinator John Orluk.  The first episode will feature Lady Gaga music videos “Bad Romance” and “Telephone” and use them as a basis for an intimate personal exploration of our relationship with photography, movies, fashion, literature, pop culture, sexuality, and more.  Undergraduates are especially welcome!

Surfing the Waves of Mu

From October 7-31, 2010, multi-disciplinary artist Amy Caron will be in residence at Duke. Her piece, Waves of Mu, will be housed in Schiciano Auditorium and The Studio, in the Pratt School of Engineering, FCIEMAS (Fitzpatrick Center). There is an opening reception scheduled for October 18 (5-9pm). Admission is free and the gallery is open to the public beginning October 19, but you tickets are required to attend the performances (opening night is already sold out).

Amy Caron as "Thalamus" in Waves of Mu.

Caron created Waves of Mu (pronounced myew) with neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and leading mirror neurons researchers Lindsay Oberman and Vittorio Gallese. The two-room installation and performance piece informs an audience about cutting edge neuroscience technology and research through experiential learning about these foundational neurological structures. For more information about her integrated approach to “performing” science, here is a small section from Caron’s project rationale:

In terms of presentation, Waves of Mu will defy traditional categories and forge into “new genre” territory in several ways.  For one, the performance/exhibition is designed for a small audience.  The work’s social aspects and theme of interconnectivity will be most successful with an intimate group.  The work also challenges traditional performance boundaries by moving the entire audience between two rooms and further initiating their interaction and participation throughout the show.  Braving these logistical challenges is necessary to dissolve the barrier between audience and presentation, which is important for fulfillment the work’s goal to offer an experiential understanding mirror neurons, which are defined as a neuron with properties that can dissolve the barrier between self and other.  For Caron, the boundary between audience and performer must be traversed to make the work truly successful.

Beatification Blog

You can find the production blog for Theater Studies’ production of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Wole Soyinka’s The Beatification of Area Boy at http://beatificationofareaboy.blogspot.com/.

Original production photo of Beatification, West Yorkshire Playhouse, 1995.

Keep checking the blog for insights from the director, dramaturg, performers, and the playwright.  Soyinka will be back on campus for opening weekend: October 21-24, 2010. Reserve your tickets now at the Duke University Box Office.