Straight From the Hip poster

Straight from the Hip: An Evening of Micro-Operas Exploring Our Community's Relationship to Guns

Art can be a powerful tool to help us see each other with more compassion and help us see ourselves as part of a greater community. Every performance has the potential to reach out, to heal, and to foster transformative dialogue. In light of the recent heated debates across our country’s campuses, we are seeking to assist our students in constructive discourse involving polarizing social topics.

At Lawrence University, thirty students from across disciplines are coming together to investigate how to build successful strategies in marrying research material with artistic expression. The collaboration involves students from IGLU (Improvisation Group Lawrence University), Opera Studies, and the Dance Program. The process is enhanced from the cross-disciplinary professors working together not only with each other, but also with the students as creative partners. 

Source material for these explorations was gathered from a voluntary survey addressing the sensitive subject of guns in today’s society. The confidential and anonymous survey of Appleton community members attempted to come from a non-partisan stance in order to acquire information embracing multiple viewpoints. Inspired by the survey responses, students create small vignettes incorporating an overall topic, individual sentences, evoked feelings, or merely a word. Text might be spoken, sung, whispered, turned into dance or sonic play. The resulting work becomes the foundation for brief improvised theatrical events.

Through improvisational practice, students learn the importance of listening, when and how to contribute, and the subtleties of group dynamics. The students begin with set parameters (such as using only one sound, using only movement, or setting a time limit) to provide the framework within which they can take artistic risks with their chosen material. They are encouraged to explore multiple perspectives of the content.

An exciting collaboration with The Draw (a community gallery curated by John Adams) provides the students with site-specific opportunities and challenges. Each micro-opera will not only be inspired by the survey responses, but also by the gallery locations chosen by the students.

These student-driven performances are on Monday, October 24th, 2016. Admission is free to the public, though it is a ticketed event. Reservations are required. Shows will begin every half hour beginning at 7:00 p.m. with the last show ending at 10:00 p.m.

 

Copeland Woodruff, Director of Opera Studies
Matt Turner, Director of IGLU
Margaret Paek, Director of Dance

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