Stony Brook, NY, December 5, 2012 – For the first time in its 54-year history, the Stony Brook University Theatre Department will commission a new work and it does so with a powerful triumvirate of seasoned professionals lead by John Moran, a contemporary theatre director and composer whose work has achieved national and international acclaim. This interdisciplinary residency will couple Moran with leading international artists, Adrienne Kapstein (movement expert), and Ken Weitzman (playwright and devised theatre specialist), as well as scholars and students from the departments of Theatre Arts, Literature, History, and Music in order to create a devised performance to be presented at the conclusion of the residency.
Funded by a grant from Stony Brook’s FAHSS (Faculty in the Arts, Humanities and lettered Social Sciences), and developed by Theatre Arts faculty Stephanie Walter and Valerie Clayman Pye, students will participate in a week-long workshop-in-residence from November 30 - December 8, 2012. This accelerated program aligns with the Department of Theatre Arts’ focus on developing new modes of performance by providing resources that encourage the integration of multiple creative disciplines in non-traditional paradigms in which students from different backgrounds and disciplines bring their expertise, their scholarly language and their world to the theatre department.
“Valerie and I strongly believe that theatre can be used as a powerful experiential teaching tool to motivate and captivate young scholars - way beyond the purposes of performance,” said Stephanie Walter, a documentary filmmaker who also teaches in the Stony Brook Department of Theatre Arts. “What that performance will be no one knows, it’s all a mystery - but together the students along with Moran will create an original piece - with a life all of its own.”
Called “The Environments Project,” the concept takes its inspiration from Shakespeare’s verse, in this case The Tempest, and seeks to create “brave new worlds”. In this pilot program, artists, scholars, and students will converge in a laboratory setting to investigate, and integrate text, visuals, movement and music. Shakespeare’s theatre – The Globe – represented the world, serving as a microcosm within a macrocosm. The residency will accomplish this by challenging students to explore scholarship through experiential learning as they engage in the practice of creating performance and through the critical consideration of interdisciplinary scholarship as a form of dramaturgical research.
John Moran is a contemporary theatre director and composer whose work has achieved national and international acclaim. He studied with Phillip Glass, one of the founders of Minimalist Music, and a collaborator with Robert Wilson on such outstanding productions as Einstein on the Beach, recently revived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. For the past several years, Moran has been working in Europe and Thailand, creating new work that he will be performed at Stony Brook for the first time in the United States. Philip Glass writes: "I am convinced that there is no more important composer working today, than John Moran."
The culmination of this project is the American premiere of a stunning new work which will be presented on December 9 at 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM in Theatre I in the Theatre Department in the Staller Center. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors; tickets are available at the door.
About the Artists
John Moran comes to Stony Brook via Bangkok – as Artist in Residence on Nov. 29 culminating in a December 8 performance. Mr. Moran is known for his richly textured and complex orchestrations that include all aspects of environment. His work revolves around constructions in which actors work with a score, and sound effects. Philip Glass has said Moran’s works are “so advanced as to be considered revolutionary." Over the past two decades, Mr. Moran’s work has
been performed at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York Shakespeare Festival / Public Theatre and theatres throughout the world. Major works by Moran include: Jack Benny! (1988), The Manson Family: An Opera (1990), Everyday, Newt Burman (The Trilogy of Cyclic-Existence) (1993), Mathew in the School of Life (1997), Book of the Dead (2nd Avenue) (2000), John Moran...and his neighbor, Saori (2005), Saori's Birthday! (2007) and John Moran and Saori (in Thailand) (2010). He is currently touring a new production in Europe.
Ken Weitzman –Mr. Weitzman is an award winning playwright whose work has been commissioned and presented throughout the United States at theatres such as the Atlantic Theatre Company, the Denver Center Theatre Company, the Humana Festival, Playwrights Horizons, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He has taught playwriting at Emory University, University of California
San Diego, and currently, at Indiana University.
Adrienne Kapstein -- currently serves as the Movement Associate on the Tony-Award winning production of War Horse at Lincoln Center, as well as for the War Horse National Tour. She was the co-artistic director of the internationally known SaBooge Theatre, and is known for her physically-based devised work. A founder of the Movement Theatre Studio, NYC, her work has been featured in American Theatre Magazine. She is a graduate of the Internationally acclaimed Ecole Jacques Lecoq, as well as the University of Edinburgh and Brooklyn College.