The search for God in Prospect Hill

By Rinjisha Roy

Jacob (Christopher J. Handley) talks with his father on FaceTime trying to convince him to visit.

IU Theatre’s ongoing production Prospect Hill presents an intriguing and intricate sketch of the Christian religion in modern society. In the play, each of the three characters has come to realize and appreciate the power of God through his life experiences.

Joshua Robinson (Rex)

Jacob has been raised a faithful Christian by his father, who continues to impart spiritual teachings to his son even though he disapproves of Jacob’s marriage with Rex. Rex, on the other hand, does not have a religious background like his husband but is very willing and open to accepting Christ as part of his now retired life. As we see early in the play, Rex’s attempts to explore his faith is manifested in the way he puts up portraits of figures that he associates with religion (Emperor Akbar as representative of Islam and the Trinity symbolizing Christianity). Such attempts are not unnoticed by the other two, especially Ethan, who is innately seeking redemption through devotion to Christ that will ultimately allow him to create a better future for his yet unborn child.

In an attempt to better understand how each character in the play comes to love God, I spoke with playwright Bruce Walsh who shared many interesting details on the inspiration behind creating such characters.

Andrei Rublev [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One thing that particularly influenced him while writing the play was a religious text by renowned inspirational speaker and ecumenical teacher Richard Rohr called The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, a book that explores perichoresis, or a circle dance, which is an early Christian image of the Trinity, represented in the play through a painting. According to Bruce, the triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) was, in a way, sought to be represented through the diverse nature of the three characters.

“Ethan, for instance, is in God the Father mode. He understands God as this brutish father figure who can be cruel but ultimately wants what is best for you, which is kind of an immature relationship with God that we sometimes have,” observes Bruce. This perspective is also shared by Jacob, who bonds well with his father, wanting to please him and transferring that into his relationship with Rex. At the same time, unlike Jacob and Ethan, Rex’s view of God is distinctly his own. “I think Rex is more open to seeing God as the Holy Spirit, sensing the presence of God everywhere, which is a very Rohrian way of seeing it: If truth is true, then it’s true everywhere. So we don’t have to fear other religions.”

Josh Smith (Ethan)

Such an intricate presentation of spirituality in the play stems not only from Bruce’s readings and research, but also from his personal experiences that allowed him to portray religion the way it is shown in the play. In this regard, he mentions one transformative period in his personal life. “At one point, I was suffering from anxieties that caused me great distress physically. Suddenly, certain spiritual teachings made sense on a deeply physical level and I was able to get some distance on my thoughts.”

Bruce’s personal experience is, in a certain way, reflected in Prospect Hill. “In the play, the characters are constantly in search of peace. They seek to achieve peace by adding things- relationships, mind-altering or mind-numbing substances, etc., and for a while these things work. But not for long, because you cannot have peace through simply adding things, it has to come from within you.”

“I think we know God best in our failures, in tough times when we have completely messed ourselves up. That’s often when we come into contact with God, and for me that happens through Ethan, because he loses everything he’s been fighting for.” – Bruce Walsh

Playwright Bruce Walsh

Bruce’s representation of religion in the play, then, is arguably a modern take on spirituality as we see and understand it in the 21st century. When asked about his thoughts on audience’s reception of God as shown in the play, he acknowledges that there might be conflicting opinions among people. “It’s a new thing in our society that you can be both gay and fervently Christian,” he says, adding, “at the beginning of the play, the characters say – ‘God is not a mental construct!’, as in he is not someone that can be thought through with rationally. Realization of God happens on a deeply personal level, and usually through our failures.”

As a theatre lover, I could not appreciate Bruce enough for sharing such intuitive thoughts, and wish him the very best for his play Prospect Hill, running in the Wells-Metz Theatre from March 24 to April 1 at 7.30 pm, also featuring a matinee at 2 pm on April 1st.

The Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance appreciates the valuable contributions of IU’s SPEA arts administrators to the cultural life of Indiana University and the Bloomington community. We look forward to seeing how they continue to be powerful advocates for the arts, here and abroad.

Rinjisha Roy is graduate student in the Arts Administration program at SPEA and a graduate assistant for IU Theatre’s marketing department. She is from Calcutta, India and was a literature major as an undergraduate at St. Xaviers College in Calcutta. Her interests include writing, poetry, Shakespearean theatre and classical music. This is her second semester at IU and she is very excited to be a part of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

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H-T Review: ‘Prospect Hill’ ventures off campus, into intriguing performance

By Matthew Waterman | H-T Reviewer

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From left: Joshua Robinson (Rex), Christopher J. Handley (Jacob), Josh Smith (Ethan)

It’s a known fact that many Indiana University students only experience Bloomington in a bubble. When they do stray from campus, they often don’t make it past downtown.

You can get a degree from IU without ever realizing that Bloomington has mansions, trailer parks, surrounding farms, gorgeous lakes and quaint little neighborhoods such as Prospect Hill.

“Prospect Hill” is the title and the setting of the latest production of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. This show presents an opportunity for IU students to peer into Bloomington life outside the bubble. Of course, it’s also an opportunity for any area resident to catch a smart, funny and intriguing play.

For those who don’t know, Prospect Hill is just west of downtown, sandwiched between Kirkwood Avenue and Second Street, stretching from around the B-Line Trail to Rose Hill Cemetery. The houses are small, charming and colorful, with a refreshing lack of uniformity.

Bruce Walsh, currently in his third year of the MFA playwriting program at IU, is the author of this highly original and enjoyable script. Matched with Ansley Valentine’s direction and a stellar cast of three (plus an offstage voice), Walsh’s play is simultaneously amusing, engaging and puzzling.

The play revolves around a married couple, Jacob and Rex, living in Prospect Hill. Rex is a former pharmaceutical salesman who retired from Cook at the ripe age of 52. Jacob is a therapist, but without a formal practice. He takes a few clients in his home, where he leads them through “mindfulness” exercises.

Jacob and Rex have enough problems as it is, with Jacob’s deeply religious father still unable to accept his son’s homosexuality. But the main conflicts in the play arise through both men’s relationships to a young man named Ethan. He originally enters their lives as one of Jacob’s clients, but the relationship evolves into one that really can’t be described with any single word (nor any single sentence, for that matter).

Ethan is a Pepsi truck driver, born and raised in Bloomington, where his grandfather once worked the limestone quarries. He’s a recovering addict with a child on the way. Ethan has ambitions well beyond driving his truck, and he resents being seen as a hick. He seeks Rex’s assistance in becoming a pharmaceutical salesman, despite having just one semester at Ivy Tech to his name.

“Prospect Hill” depicts a series of trials in Jacob and Rex’s marriage. The two men, already at odds over issues such as faith and Jacob’s relationship with his father, have a wedge driven between them by Ethan. Jacob can’t cope when Ethan and Rex seem to find something in each other that neither could get from him. Later on, however, Ethan’s presence seems to bring Jacob and Rex much closer together, before again driving them apart.

In most theater, film and television, the characters are simplified renderings of people that, in reality, would have much more nuance to them. Not so in “Prospect Hill.” Walsh’s characters seem just as complicated and perplexing as real people, perhaps even more so.

The actors brilliantly capture this complexity. Chris J. Handley and Joshua Robinson are an ideal pair as Jacob and Rex. Joshua M. Smith makes for an Ethan that one can’t help but root for. Under Valentine’s careful direction, these actors rarely strike a false note.

The compelling drama and thematic depth of “Prospect Hill” alone would be enough to sell it, but the cherry on top is the humor. More than a few moments in Friday night’s opening performance had the audience laughing heartily.

“Prospect Hill” ends rather strangely, without much sense of resolution. That’s sure to bother some audience members, but it is how most stories end up in real life, after all. The play shows that even in a gorgeous place such as Bloomington, each of us carries around an array of doubts, fears, hopes and unanswered questions.

If You Go

WHO: Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

WHAT: “Prospect Hill” by Bruce Walsh.

WHERE: Wells-Metz Theater in the Norvelle Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave., Bloomington.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Saturday.

TICKETS: $15-$25. Call 812-855-1103 or visit theatre.indiana.edu.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. More arts stories online at heraldtimesonline.com.
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H-T PREVIEW: IU debuts new play by graduate student

By Joel Pierson, H-T Theater columnist

Prospect Hill

From left: Joshua Robinson, Chris Handley, and Josh Smith in rehearsal.

Man, I tell you, I can’t catch a break.

My play, “I Saw Jesus at the Jiffy Treet,” sits in a drawer, unread and unproduced. Meanwhile, Bruce Walsh’s “Prospect Hill” is about to get a big premiere at IU Theater as part of their At First Sight new play series.OK , if pressed, I will admit that my story is an underdeveloped retelling of the day I met someone at the Jiffy Treet who looked a little bit like Jesus … from the back. And Walsh is an MFA playwriting student who’s created an intimate, humorous and poignant story about life in Bloomington through the eyes of a gay couple. Still, some guys get all the luck.

Every year, the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama selects a new work for a staged production, following months and even years of development. Bruce Walsh is a third-year MFA playwright, and over the course of his graduate studies, he’s worked with the faculty to develop his script, building up to this month’s premiere.

Just west of downtown, the Prospect Hill neighborhood stretches from Second Street to Kirkwood, and from the railroad tracks to the cemetery. This quiet neighborhood lends the play its title, in a story of three men battling fear, addiction, and resentment in a world that’s becoming more and more divisive. What results is a tale of hope and faith — a tale of redemption in challenging times.

Peter Gil-Sheridan, the head of the playwriting program, has worked with Walsh during the past year, using workshops and staged readings to get the script ready for its big day. The author is no stranger to the process; last year, his play “Berserker” saw a main stage production as well. “Prospect Hill” is his thesis project, and all indications are that he’s more than ready.

Walsh came to Bloomington from Philadelphia, where he was a playwright and a journalist. (I like this guy already.) He’s also the author of plays such as “Far Country,” “Whiskey Neat,” “Chomsky vs. Buckley,” “1969” and “The Guided Tour” and co-author of “Holly’s Dead Soldiers.”

Of his new work, Walsh says, “Before deciding on an M.F.A. track, I strongly considered Episcopal seminary. My fascination with sacredness infuses all of my writing, but not in the ways people often expect. I have no interest in prescribing moral codes. My characters are bold, queer, angry, ridiculous, joyous, deeply sexual beings.”

Bloomington is a city that celebrates new plays, and IU always rises to the occasion. Having the latest entry take place right here adds another dimension to a play that will already touch the hearts and minds of those with an eye to see and an ear to hear.

Contact Joel by sending an email to features@heraldt.com with “Pierson” in the subject line.

If you go

WHO: Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

WHAT: “Prospect Hill” by Bruce Walsh

WHERE: Wells-Metz Theater, 275 N. Jordan Ave., Bloomington

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. March 24-25, 28-April 1; 2 p.m. April 1

TICKETS: $15-$25. Call 812-855-1103 or visit theatre.indiana.edu.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. For this story and more arts news, visit heraldtimesonline.com.
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Writing from the heart…

Sometimes it’s hard to get a playwright to step in front of the curtain. With 3rd-year MFA Bruce Walsh, it’s nigh impossible. Yet as he nears the end of his time here at IU, he felt compelled to write this letter to our Theatre Circle members, whose ongoing support makes new works like this year’s At First Sight production of Prospect Hill possible.

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Playwright Bruce Walsh

With this letter, my hope is that I can convince you to attend my new play, Prospect Hill, which takes place in our beloved Bloomington, Indiana, and opens on March 24th, in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Over the last three years, it has been my great honor to develop my craft in your community, to have a son born at Bloomington Hospital, and to be challenged intellectually and spiritually at Indiana University. My wife and I will always have Bloomington in our hearts, no matter where we wind up.

In a way, Prospect Hill is my love letter to Bloomington, tinged with both sadness and joy, as any good love letter should be. It is about three Bloomingtonians brought together: a working-class kid struggling with addiction, and a progressive, perhaps overly intellectual couple trying to save their marriage. These are faces of Bloomington each of us recognizes, and maybe even embodies.

Long before I came to Bloomington, I was an interloper on both sides of that divide.

Before arriving here, I was a struggling playwright and freelance writer in Philadelphia – and about the worst waiter in the city. I scrambled from job to job, lived without health insurance, became a Teamster briefly, tried to save, failed, and generally lived from check-to-check, beer-to-beer, on the edge of eviction.

But since I was a local playwright, and grew up with certain middle-class privileges, I occasionally found myself on the other side of the tracks, rubbing elbows with non-profit donors and garnering unimaginable artistic opportunities (like this one). When I was hiking the Appalachian trail, I delighted in discovering the little state boundary markers in the middle of the forest. I’d stretch my body on both sides; it seemed an apt metaphor for where I landed in American life, straddling both sides of an invisible divide.

There was a honeymoon phase when I came to Indiana University. Bloomington seemed to be a safe harbor from those stresses –  a place where I could passionately study my craft on a bucolic campus. But, of course, a honeymoon is not meant to last. I soon recognized that, as I’m sure you know, Bloomington, for all its splendor, is also a place of glaring economic disparity. It is home to an epidemic of homelessness, food insecurity, and opioid addiction.

In America, it seems, there is no running from the great divide.

My last year in Philadelphia, I volunteered at a free meal program. I think now I subconsciously wanted to save myself by helping others just slightly on the other side of the edge I was living on. I decided to do the same in Bloomington. I volunteered at the Community Kitchen and the Interfaith Winter Shelter at Trinity Episcopal Church.

That is where this play began:

On a cold night at the Winter Shelter, there are usually some late arrivals in the wee hours. One senses, at a certain point, the temperature drops to a place where the body just will not allow the mind to “tough it out” any longer. These people enter the church tired, cold, sometimes strung out. They arrive knowing that they, on this night, couldn’t do it alone. They surrender their belongings; they raise their arms to be patted down for weapons and drugs. They are received, but can take nothing with them.

I think we all come to this moment in our lives, eventually, if we’re lucky. Perhaps the details are different, but the call to surrender is the same. It is a very un-American sentiment at the moment, but each of us, I believe, are built to come to the edge of our own resources, through an addiction, a financial or physical hardship, the end of a marriage, empty success, or any of the myriad ways life has of pushing us beyond ourselves.

Prospect Hill

L-R: Joshua Robinson (Rex), Christopher J. Handley (Jacob), Josh Smith (Ethan)

This is the surrender these characters are discovering for themselves in this play. It is a universal surrender that is sometimes felt most acutely in our hometown. These characters walk our streets, shop at the Kroger, try to keep their lives from unraveling, see the sun set over Kirkwood Avenue, and question their purpose, sometimes on a daily basis.

I think this is the neighborhood each of us are living in, if we’re honest.

I hope to see you at the play.

Sincerely,
Bruce Walsh
3rd Year MFA Playwright

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Live theatre in India: A student’s perspective

By Rinjisha Roy

Hi everyone! This is Rinjisha again and in my post today, I would like to tell you a little about myself, and theatre in the place I come from. I am from Kolkata, previously Calcutta, in east India. Kolkata is famously known as the city of writers, poets, painters and actors, and is home to the world’s second largest cricket stadium, the Eden Gardens. Considered the ‘cultural capital of India’ and an intellectual hub, Kolkata once had a strong history in housing ‘group theatres’, a tradition which, although not as popular today, still continues to grace several parts of the city.

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SPEA graduate student and theatre aficionado, Animesh Priya

While preparing for this post, I was in a dilemma about which part of India I should talk to you about, since the country is so diverse (each of the 29 states has its own language!), with each region having its own artistic and cultural identity. Consequently, I decided to focus on a region that is separate to where I am from and fortunately enough, I was glad to be joined by one of our students, Animesh Priya, to help explain theatre specific to south India. Animesh is an MPA student at SPEA, and he is from the city of Ranchi in northeast India. Interestingly, he has been associated with theatre for quite some time, and together he and I would like to draw up a little picture of Indian theatre for you.

Let us start at the very beginning, when the concept of theatre was first introduced. The earliest live theatre in the country was the Sanskrit theatre, originating around 1st century AD. It came about as a manifestation of the Hindu religion, with theatre being performed by priests on a sacred ground to the accompaniment of traditional rituals, classical dance and music that the priests were trained in. The purpose of theatre back then was to both entertain and educate audiences. Gradually, theatre moved to princely courts where the first official theatrical groups were formed. These groups, coordinated by a stage manager, received extensive training in acting styles, music and dance. Theatre was the source of entertainment during royal gatherings, or on nights when kings emerged victorious at war. As time passed, theatre during late 19th and early 20th century evolved to depict themes such as identity, nationalism, spiritualism and emancipation, ideas prominent under the British rule.

So where is theatre in India today? Well, after the introduction of TV and the availability of affordable ticket prices for movies since the late 20th century, audience visits to theatre declined. However, regionally throughout the country, certain groups still continue to perform shows. Other than some prominent live theatres, theatre today is presented in various forms like street play, mobile theatres (where theatre groups travel different places to perform), puppet theatre (showcasing classical art by using puppets) and so on. And not only do these plays reflect contemporary Indian society, but they also aim to bridge the gap between theatre presenters and non-theatre goers.

Take for example the Rangashankara Theatre in Bangalore in south India, a place Animesh is well-acquainted with. This theatre showcases plays staged by professional groups in English and some Indian languages, and draws crowds who work at the IT sector, which constitutes a large section of Bangalore’s population. Animesh, who last lived in Bangalore in 2011, observes how the theatre is growing today. “From what I hear from my friend who is still there, it is going strong. And that’s only because of the people who come from outside. And again, these are not people who have had an exposure in art”, says Animesh.

So how does the Rangashankara successfully draw audiences? Animesh says that it is due to the quality of the plays staged, which always turns out to be good. And there is variety too, he observes. From staging a series of monologues, to creating a miniature representation of reality within an imaginary setting, the theatre covers big ground. One particular favourite of Animesh’s is an adaptation called Mrs. Meena by the group Perch. In it, an actress comes to a village which has been in shambles for twenty years and she undertakes the task of restoring it. Gradually, the plot reveals how she belonged to the very same village, had fallen in love with a man and was asked to leave, disgraced. So when she gains power, she comes back to her village to make people realize the injustice meted out to her. Original and creative in content, plays like Mrs Meena keep audiences eager for more such stories, thereby successfully building a strong audience base.

It can therefore be said that live theatre has the potential to foster a strong connection between the play being staged and the individual watching it from afar. And this connection has inculcated a strong interest for the art form within students like Animesh and myself, who have been able to discover our artistic interests in Bloomington’s live theatres. An avid theatre goer, Animesh, particularly, is able to associate his theatre experiences in India with those in Bloomington. He has watched all performances staged by the IU Theatre department since last semester, and has enjoyed those experiences, observing a subtle difference between audiences here and those in India. “People are much more interested here in giving theatre a chance,” he says, referring to how he sees people from a middle class background show a keen interest in theatre.

I would second that – there is certainly greater scope and potential for theatre to grow and develop further in Bloomington, given the variety and number of live theatrical performances that happen every week. And the fact that playwrights and theatre directors recognize the same is motivating, encouraging audiences from diverse backgrounds like ours to come, watch and learn from such plays.

The Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance appreciates the valuable contributions of IU’s SPEA arts administrators to the cultural life of Indiana University and the Bloomington community. We look forward to seeing how they continue to be powerful advocates for the arts, here and abroad.

Rinjisha Roy is graduate student in the Arts Administration program at SPEA and a graduate assistant for IU Theatre’s marketing department. She is from Calcutta, India and was a literature major as an undergraduate at St. Xaviers College in Calcutta. Her interests include writing, poetry, Shakespearean theatre and classical music. This is her second semester at IU and she is very excited to be a part of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

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Trinculo’s Puppet: A Jester’s Staff Comes to Life

By Tara Chuisano

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Trinculo with buddy Stephano (Abby Lee)

In IU’s production of The Tempest, I play a wild shipwrecked jester and I have a puppet to talk to on stage. Over the course of the rehearsal process I have become buddies with the little guy. He has been endowed with the name:  Trinculi. Like, a mini Trinculo.

This puppet actually looks like me because the folks in the prop shop took some 3D images of my face and through the magic of 3D printing made a puppet head! It was then painted to match my costuming and coloring. Ryan Miller was the props designer for this show and took a special interest in my little puppet friend.

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This little guy keeps me company on stage when I have various asides to the audience- commenting on the action happening in the main part of the scene. In a sense, I always have an audience of one.  It’s great to play with the puppet and come up with focal points for him and help to tell his story as well. Sometimes, when I’m directly addressing he audience, I like to use the puppet in a Brechtian way and have the puppet look at me while I’m facing out front. Then maybe I take a look to the puppet, or a slow side-eye, or a quick series of looks back and forth.

Trinculo and Trinculi sharing a moment. Photo by Jeremy Hogan

It’s also fun to have Trinculi interact with Stephano and Caliban.   He’s either friend or foe depending on who he’s talking to. Ultimately, I’m creating my role and the role of the puppet simultaneously.  Trinculi is just as important.  His physical and emotional life has to be specific. It’s quite a task for an actress in a fast-paced, high energy scene to work all this out, but I am up for the challenge!  I love working in detail like this. Trinculi and I are besties, and he’s my only friend when Stephano stops paying attention to me.  This jester is grateful for his little friend.

chiusano-taraTara Chiusano is a second year acting M.F.A. student at IU. For IU Summer Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Puck), Sense and Sensibility (Lucy Steele). Past credits at IU: Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike (Sonia), Mr. Burns: A post-apocalyptic play (Maria/Lisa Simpson), Occupants (Alma), King Lear (Cordelia). Regional: Actor’s Express (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson), Stage Door Players (Once Upon a Mattress), The Legacy Theatre (Keep on the Sunny Side, Harry the Dirty Dog), Georgia Ensemble Theatre (James and the Giant Peach, Camelot). Tara received her B.A. in theatre from James Madison University.

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UP’s SLIP: Collaboration in Motion

By Ashley Dillard

Hello IU theatre fans! It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last interview–have you missed me? Have no fear! I am back with an in-depth chat with the University Player’s Director of Choreography, Bailey Praeger to discuss her recent UP dance production, Slip. University Players is a student-run theatre organization at Indiana University dedicated to providing further opportunities in the areas of theatrical performance, production, management, and educational outreach to undergraduate students of all majors and backgrounds.

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Bailey Praeger in rehearsal for Antigone

Slip marked University Player’s first dance collaboration and featured 11 original student choreographed pieces. As UP’s Director of Choreography, Bailey also served as Slip’s director. “Josiah Brown and Benny Sully (UP board members) came to me with the idea of doing this dance concert. They saw me in Antigone and approached me about joining the UP board in a new position of Director of Choreography. Included in the duties for that position was directing a dance concert. They really wanted to get dance more involved with University Players and the theatre department. And I was like ‘Yes, please!’ It’s one of my goals while I’m at IU is to get these two areas to cross over one way or another. There’s not a whole lot of opportunity for that to happen as it exists right now.”

Bailey is dedicated to bridging the gap between theatre and contemporary dance. Not only did she and Cameron Barnett (both contemporary dance majors) perform in in last year’s production of Antigone, but she is also heavily involved in theatre department activities. She wanted as many people to be involved with Slip as possible. “We had two theatre majors involved in dance pieces, which was really great. Scheduling can be a nightmare and we did have more involved, but then people were cast in main stage shows and had to drop out. In the future, we would love to have more non-dance majors involved in either choreographing or dancing in the concert.”

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Contemporary Dance majors

Slip highlighted 11 student choreographer’s work ranging from group pieces to duets. “I told them they could do whatever they wanted and they were very excited about that. In our department, most of our student choreography must fall under the category of contemporary dance. I really wanted this project to help our student choreographers not have to do that. In some cases, Slip, allowed them to go outside of their comfort zone and explore different styles of dance. It was really lovely. There were many people who took this as an exciting challenge.”

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Corey Boatner

Not only did Bailey serve as director for Slip, she also choreographed a piece in the concert. “I had to change my cast 3 or 4 times because of issues with scheduling! At one point, I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to pull something like this off. But we did! Sometimes I take for granted the caliber of my peers. We have some really creative minds and some really smart dancers. I’m really proud.”

So what’s next for Bailey? “I will being choreographing Ghost Quartet, the next UP musical, opening in up in a few months. I am always looking for more ways for contemporary dance to be involved with theatrical productions and vice versa. I want to be a voice for the dancers. I want to find ways for them to be more integrated within the department.”

Bailey definitely thinks there will be more student dance concerts in the future. “Now that it has happened and it was really successful, people will be looking for it next year. It’s going to be a much more diverse program and that is really exciting!”

dillard-ashley2017Ashley Dillard is a 3rd year MFA actor at Indiana University. She has been seen most recently as Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa at IU, Katherine in Home at the BPP, Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream both for IU Summer Theater. Though she calls beautiful Bloomington home now, she originally hails from Highland, IN.

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