After an exciting inauguration last year, The Edge Performance Festival is back at UC Davis. Two new events have been added to the program: a staged reading of Caridad Svich’s “The Way of Water” and Hour of 5’s Performance Work, which will feature five-minute acts such as scenes, monologues, dances and songs.
This year’s festival will again feature Solo Explorations, Main Stage Dance, Undergraduate One-Acts and midnight sing-along screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
The festival will run April 12-15 and 19-22. Some events may overlap; all take place in various locations around Wright Hall.
* Staged reading: “The Way of Water.” Josy Miller, a Ph.D. candidate in performance studies, directs a staged reading of international playwright Caridad Svich’s new play “The Way of Water.” The play is centered around the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and explores its effect on human health, poverty, the news media and the environment in America.
Through the lives of four people trying to get by in the wake of the disaster, Svich explores the idea of compromised dreams and the way to lead an honorable life. The reading featuring four UCD undergraduate actors is free of charge.
* Hour of 5’s Performance Work: Will Klundt, a master of fine arts candidate in acting, will host an hour of 10 short acts by undergraduate students. Klundt will open the show with the original song “The Joy of Being Friends” and it will be followed by a series of poems, music, scenes, martial arts, devised theater and comedy.
“The department is always looking for new ways to showcase the talent of the undergraduates and this hour of five-minute, mostly original pieces seemed like a great way to provide an outlet for some amazing new work,” Klundt said.
* Solo Explorations: Here I Go. Three new individual pieces by graduating master’s of fine arts candidates in acting are featured:
“Travelin’ Light” by Afi Shepard-Staley encompasses the ever-changing nature of identity, the oral tradition of storytelling and the history of memory. Shepard-Staley was inspired by the music and women of the classic blues era and the Harlem Renaissance. It’s “what you get when you mix a real Victrola, live music and classic threads,” she said.
“Where Eagles Dare: Mission to Mars” by Jeremy Oase. “Come experience this serious and heartwarming tale of NASA special mission specialist (in charge of cockroaches) Shane Thompson, who blasts off from Earth on a mission to Mars in order to save mankind,” Oase said. It’s inspired by true events (“kinda”), and “a person from the studio audience will be eaten alive. Any volunteers would be most appreciated.”
“We Do What We Do” by Klundt. He is interested in how a performer creates a rapport with the audience, and what can be done with that rapport. He said the Occupy movement and issues of power, violence and duty as well as dance inspired him. Original music will be composed and performed by third-year dramatic art major Dan Cato Wilson.
* Main Stage Dance: Main Stage Dance features eight new choreographies by first-year graduate students and eligible undergraduate students who have completed the required composition courses.
It includes “The Cloud Factory” by Christine Germain, first-year master’s candidate in choreography. This piece investigates the candid perspective of children who are questioning adults’ conscious or non-conscious choices regarding environmental issues and abuse of power. The work moves from observing the clouds in their multiple creative forms to the disillusionment of a not-so-perfect world.
“W8up” by undergraduate Lauren Godla was inspired by observations of how technology affects our lives. “As I go about my daily business, I can’t help but notice the irony in certain technological devices most people have,” Godla said. “It is not infrequent that I see couples, friends, or families eating a meal together and half of the group is engaged in some sort of activity involving their cell phone.”
* Undergraduate One-Acts: Four new plays written by current UCD students will be staged:
“Feet,” directed by Jaki Joanino, is a devised adaptation of “Feet,” which was written by the father of futurism, F.T. Marinetti. This piece oddly showcases the image and actions of feet by a diverse group of people and characters. Joanino and the ensemble members created the piece in rehearsal.
“Welcome to Heaven,” written by Jenny Adler and directed by Kevin Adamski, tells the story of a college student, David, who has just died. As he journeys through the bureaucratic system of purgatory and ends up in heaven, he begins to discover the circumstances of his death and what he will be doing with his time now that he has an eternity.
“The Tomato,” written by John Malin and directed by Reha Pathak, concerns the breaking point of Harry and Martha’s marriage. Martha wants a divorce, and Harry can’t bring himself to do anything about it. Out of nowhere, a stranger enters, unannounced and uninvited. As the man attempts to explain his presence in Harry’s home, Harry discovers the extent to which his world is a fabrication. “It’s something like if “Everybody Loves Raymond” suddenly turned into a “Twilight Zone” episode,” Malin said.
“No Need for Words,” written by Mark Joseph Suarez and directed by Ryan Geraghty, is inspired by the practice of American pantomime. Suarez aims to see how much about a pair of lovers sipping caramel macchiatos at a café can be communicated to the audience through non-verbal interaction.
* “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Sing-Along: The most famous of all midnight movies, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, is an overtly sexual, highly provocative and comedic portrayal of gay and transgender culture and sexual quirks. The film is a stylized macabre musical as dark as it is daring.
The film has garnered a tradition of audience participation and interaction and that is precisely what audiences are encouraged to do at these exhibitions of the film — interact and sing (and dance!) along. So, “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!”
(Rocky Horror costumes can be rented in advance or in the lobby before the show; call The Enchanted Cellar at 752-0740.)
Events are rated PG-13 with the exception of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” Sing-Along, which is rated R.
Tickets are $10 per event, available in advance at (530) 754-2784 or http://theatredance.ucdavis.edu/season/prod_details.aspx?p=44. Tickets also will be available at the door.