What’s Coming Up | as of June ’17

My friends, the wait is over! I can now tell (some) of the things that are coming up for me:

I will be back on the East Coast of the United States (in Ashfield and surrounding area) as of July 24th! I look forward to reconnecting with old friends and filling up on apple cider.

In the first week of August, I will be gone again, this time to Portland, OR, where I will be participating in a three-day Recess Retreat. More information on that here. Also in Oregon, I am very excited to be working with a beautiful dancer and fantastic human, Reid Bondurant. In less than two weeks, we will create a one-time only, two-person performance piece. Neither of us knows what it will look like, but that won’t stop us!

In September and much of October I will be reunited with some of the most wonderful humans I know in Vermont. Yes, I will be living and working with the Art Monks of The Art Monastery Project. More information on them here.

Towards the end of October I will join forces with comedic powerhouse Steve Henderson and help to keep his ball of sketch-comedy rolling. (More information on that soon to come.)

And finally… NYC!! That’s right, my friends, by the beginning of November I will be in the Big Apple. Look me up if you’re there too!

Theatre vs Theater, ft. JC-E

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Just visited your website and saw the “Theatre vs. Theater” item. Before I clicked through, I thought maybe it was going to be some kind of Wagnerian showdown, with Theatre unleashing the full force of its RADA manners and Theater responding with a barrage of Times Square billboards.

—Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, pictured

When I saw this post from the illustrious JC-E, I knew it had to be featured on my website. He even made a poster for me, in case I ever get around to producing such a show. Hats of to you, Jonathan!

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See more of Jonathan’s work at http://www.jonathancaws-elwitt.com/

I’m off to Nicaragua!

Yes, it’s true, and in many ways it doesn’t feel real, but tomorrow I will take off for a trip to Nicaragua. I’ll be staying with some wonderful family friends, and I’ll be volunteering at local education programs. I’m still not sure what my life will look like once I get there, but that’s the joy of the adventure. I’ll be taking lots of photos, and I might even post some updates here if the internet is reliable enough. I’ll be back in Berlin in March with a suitcase full of new experiences!

A Meditation on Theatre and Virtual Reality

At the end of October I was involved with a project at SomoS Art Gallery in Berlin. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out here.

I was working with artist and VR filmmaker Michel Reilhac to present his award-winning 2015 film Viens! as an installation; although the film had premiered at Sundance and had also played at Cannes, this was the first time it could be experienced as part of an art gallery, fulfilling one of Michel’s visions by blurring the line between the virtual and the real.

Read more about Michel and his work here. Read more about my involvement in the project here.

Throughout the process, I had many opportunities to speak with Michel about his thoughts on the growing medium of Virtual Reality as an art form, especially as compared to film and theatre.

In theatre and film alike—though more notably in film—we are presented with a frame, a window through which viewers project themselves until they find themselves caught in the reality of the piece. No longer am I aware of my seat or the people sitting next to me; rather I imagine myself in the universe of the characters before me. This imaginative leap and the eventual return to my own circumstance awakens my empathetic centers by offering me a new perspective. It makes catharsis possible.

Virtual Reality, by contrast, removes the frame. As soon as I put on the headset, I am enveloped in the world of the piece, surrounded by its characters. I am forced to let go of my known reality as my senses continue to feed me information from the artificial world, heralding it as real.

But, of course, it isn’t real. And I know it isn’t real. Even after donning the gear and immersing myself in an artificial world, I retain some consciousness of my external reality. Some part of me hangs back, waiting for me to reconnect with my senses. And therein lies the beauty of Michel’s installation. Removing the headset, I rejoin my known reality and yet remain in the installation, which mirrors the artistic (read: artificial) space created by the film.

Theatre vs Theater

Both are correct. On this website, for reasons mostly arbitrary (and also slightly aesthetic and pretentious), I will use the British spelling, theatre, unless referring to a specific theatre company, which may spell its name theater, as in Silverthorne Theater Company. In general, though, the word theatre, as it refers to a concept or an art form will be spelled -re. Any inconsistencies regarding this convention are, of course, my own error.