Beyoncé the Readymade
“A machine, a high-powered Porsche, hip-hop technology. She consumes everything around her.” In Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room, this is how Beyoncé is discussed—as an overwhelming force of capital that takes over our senses. With Lemon’s work as a jumping-off point, performer Okwui Okpokwasili recently met with scholar Saidiya Hartman to discuss the iconography and cultural consumption of black women’s bodies.
Rethinking Collections Publishing for the Digital Age
For many in the museum world, the term scholarly collections catalogue can conjure daunting impressions: a book about a museum’s holdings, it involves years of collecting, researching, photographing, and writing, plus a huge printing budget, all to create a tome that is likely out of date the moment it hits the shelf. Enter The Living Collections Catalogue, the Walker’s new serial online publication.
Truth, Not Necessarily Reconciliation: Lola Arias Confronts Dictatorships
Lola Arias will not forgive and forget. When it comes to the military dictatorships that haunt the recent past of Chile and her home country of Argentina, the writer/director doesn’t think it’s possible. In El Año en que nací (The Year I Was Born), she brings together the Chilean sons and daughters born during Pinochet’s rule to confront, discuss, and understand—not to force a happy ending.
Penino Envy: Kuro Tanino on the Architecture of the Inner Life
The ubiquitous phallic symbols in Niwa Gekidan Penino’s The Room Nobody Knows—including penis-shaped furniture—stem in part from Toyko-based director Kuro Tanino’s former career as a psychiatrist. But they also represents the confusing Freudian power dynamic that exists between the play’s brothers—a nod to the “complex relationships” he had with his own brothers.
Changing Theater’s Nature
Intrigued by the way people tell their stories—in looping, often tangential tales—Pavol Liska phoned a fellow member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Over 10 calls and 16 hours, the script unfolded for Life and Times, a 10-part work in which an entire life—birth to the present day—will be sung verbatim onstage. Maddy Costa uses the piece as a window into the company’s ingenious, mischievous style.
The Plot Thickens
You’d think that among theater people, the biggest control freaks would be an artistic director and a playwright—those responsible for the company’s aesthetic vision and the text used onstage. But when Elevator Repair Service’s John Collins and playwright Sibyl Kempson talk about Fondly, Collette Richland, it’s clear that instead of obsessing about control, both are exhilarated by the lack thereof.
Sibyl Kempson: The Push and Pull of Playwrighting
Elevator Repair Service became an international sensation with Gatz—part of a trilogy involving onstage readings of classic dead-guy literature: Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway. So what happens when they co-create their next production with “one of the most radical, transgressive, and hilarious playwright/performers out there”? That someone, the very much alive Sibyl Kempson, talks about the experience.
Forecasting Change: A Meteorologist and an Artist on the Climate Crisis
Paul Douglas considers himself an “albino unicorn.” A moderate Republican, he’s also a meteorologist who believes climate change is real. Music-theater artist Cynthia Hopkins decided to make art about the crisis after a 2010 Arctic expedition. In a recent interview, the pair discusses global warming and ways that art, science, and spirituality can work together to change minds about a changing planet.
Love Song to a Clement World
During a 2010 trip to the Arctic, Cynthia Hopkins serenaded a sailing vessel, the Noorderlicht, that carried her and other artists on what she calls a “lucky, life-transforming” journey. First sung with ukelele accompaniment on the ship’s deck, the song is now part of Hopkins’ new climate-themed music-theater work, one she characterizes as a “love song to the miraculous clemency of our world.”