What is “The Sky is Melting”??

7 08 2010

Curtain is countable days away and I had my first nightmare about Opening Night involving missing costumes, flash floods and a large Dragon-Golden Lab hybrid…so it seems time to give some more insight into this project…get the buzz moving!

Long story short, “The Sky is Melting” follows 15 year old Alice Davies through her introduction into the new scene of 1970s drug culture.

“The Sky is Melting” has two fundamental purposes. The first was to explore the ways in which various types and mediums of performance influence one another and aide in the expression of an internal experience to the external world. The other was to promote discussion and critical thinking around the issue of addiction and drug use, specifically among young adults and teens.

Often, as audiences we visit specific museums or events to appreciate and experience specific forms of art; we go to the Met to see great visual art, to the ballet to see great movement or to Broadway to see great theater etc…what gets me excited and inspired is when we see these elements come together in a performance. I wanted to experiment with the mediums of music, theater and dance and see how they could work together, push one another and co-exist, specifically with the task of physically expressing an internal and mental experience for an audience. Because the piece follows a young girl through her initiation into/struggle with addiction, the challenge was to express these highs and lows in an interesting, honest and hopefully thought provoking manner.

With the original conception of this piece I was lucky enough to have the talents of numerous young choreographers and a talented composer. Each musical piece was composed specifically for the drug experience it represents in the show. My composer, Ben McFadden took my research about the physical and mental effects of the drug (including speed, heroine, LSD etc) and composed a piece of music which coincided with the characters’ experience while on that drug. The choreographers then listened to the music, considered the research and created a dance which not only expressed Alice’s journey but the physical nature of the drug as well. The result, in my opinion, was not only gorgeous movement pieces but an innovative way to explain the experience of a drug trip.

“The Sky is Melting” is a one woman show, but I wanted to find different ways to tell a story with one person on stage. The score of the piece has become it’s own character; Ben’s music truly drives the piece and adds an element of emotion and sincerity that could not have come from any other place. The Dances speak more articulately and loudly than any text I could have written and bring another voice to the main character, Alice. The voice overs allow the audience to see Alice before she entered this world of risk and beauty…the goal of this piece was never to be another “Just Say No” propaganda. This is one person’s story, and while it is important to me for several reasons, the most important thing I hope to get across is that addiction can happen to anyone and to various degrees. There is a a whole spectrum of addiction and infinite reasons for which one becomes addicted. As I said before, the other reason behind this piece was to change the way in which we discuss and consider addiction. Too often, again in my opinion, drug addiction is presented in a false light. Students are taught to fear drug dealers and just say “No”, blindly without any real consideration or understanding for their “beliefs”. Perhaps art is the last remaining forum where we can be honest and open about human experiences. Taking chances and risks doesn’t make you a bad person…Alice continually yearns to be loved, acknowledged, appreciated and included…none of which would ever mark someone as a “dead-beat” or “low-life”. I don’t really know how successful this piece is at provoking open discussion about drug addiction, but it is an honest attempt to show a different side to the issue of drug abuse: very few people want to admit that the girl next door could be a strung out junkie.

Being a 15 year old girl is hard..I can speak from experience. While there are dramatic and extreme moments in the piece, everything is founded in a very real and genuine place; the absolute need to find yourself and feel included.

I’m very excited to be doing this piece in the next few weeks…Amy is a brilliant director and is pushing me in ways which are challenging but necessary and refreshing. As an artist, I want to push myself and my audience. Come to Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival and see if I get there : )


Dream Up Festival is Underway!!

1 07 2010

So Amy and I have started rehearsing and getting into the work. It’s alittle strange to be working on something that feels so familiar but is going to be completely different! Postcards and advertisements will be coming soon!

The Sky is Melting will be going up at Theater for the New City’s Johnson Theater Space

August 25-29

Wed-Friday nights at 9pm Saturday and Sunday at 7pm

Tickets will be $12 and the show is about an hour long.

Right now, we’re making some final edits on the script, working on the dances and finalizing the set and technical aspects of the piece. It is really exciting to be working on a project again, but it is hard to balance waiting tables, rehearsing and life in general…wouldn’t it be great if we could get paid for our art and really focus on things : )

Ah well..tis the life of the arts

TNC Dream Up Festival Summer ’10!!

23 05 2010

I have just found out that I will be performing my original one-woman show entitled “The Sky is Melting” through Theater for the New City’s Dream Up Festival!!!

Details are few and far between at this point, but the piece will be going up sometime during the month of August with atleast 5 performances and tickets will be $12!

Amy Griego will be directing the piece and hopefully Ben Mcfadden’s original music as well as some of the original choreography from the original version will be making an appearance in this revival!

I will be designing the set, which will be determined my the space. I will also be performing the piece…so I’m trying to get back into shape : )

“The Sky is Melting” was originally created as part of my Senior Theater Honors Thesis at Oberlin College. The first version was directed by Sarah Frank and asked the talents of an artistic group of 20 students and Oberlin faculty members. The piece had 13 dance pieces…and hopefully just as many this time around. The piece chronicles one young girl’s struggle with addiction in the early 1970s. The piece was meant to be a discussion starter about addiction and drug use with young adults.

Currently I’m getting logistics lined up and figuring things out like artistic team members, script edits, paper work and schedules…so much on my plate but I’m so excited for this performance! This will be my second NYC theater performance since I moved here last August…first on in Manhattan and first one associated with such an incredible organization like Theater for the New City…I’m stoked!

Hopefully I’ll have more information soon!! Should be an exciting summer!

Interdisciplinary Performance Artist, Teaching Artist, Writer

14 05 2010

When I think of myself as an artist, I consider myself to be somewhat atypical. Most of my friends in the city are extremely talented artist pursuing a more “traditional” path towards Broadway and Professional theater careers with painstaking auditions, headshots, type casting, cruise ships, dance line ups, and call backs. My friends blow me away…I couldn’t do any of that.

I consider myself an interdisciplinary performance artist, but perhaps if would be more accurate to say I’m an artist that likes to bring a little bit of everything to the table.

Art and theater, in my opinion, should challenge audience and performance norms and standards. Theater can teach, create dialogue, and give voice to those unheard or things unspoken of. In my very short career I have had the opportunity to use theater as a means to educate young adults on topics such as drug use/abuse, sex, relationships and communication skills, assault and violence, body image, self esteem and nutrition. I have also used theater skills in the context of ELA, Health, and ESL classrooms. I have worked with young children and adults and seen incredible changes in vocabulary, confidence, public speaking skills, articulation, team work, creativity and ones’ ability to laugh and play while working with others and thinking on their feet.

My focus now is in creating original works that incorporate dance, movement, acting, visual art and personal experiences to build pieces geared towards a specific issue or group. Ideally, I’m pursuing pieces about or for young adults and females. The content of my work focuses around topics including health, social, political and identity issues and the exploration of personal history and narrative.

The combination of movement, music, acting and visual art allows internal experiences and frustrations to be expressed and discussed in the external world, while leaving ample room for open dialogue and varying opinions.

I have the utmost faith in theater’s potential to teach and move audience members…as artists we cannot shy away from this potential and power