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Monday, August 2, 2021

UCD dancers and actors take center stage in first-ever Edge Performance Festival 

For the first time, the UC Davis department of theatre and dance presents The Edge Performance Festival, which will feature a large range of dance and theatrical events under one roof. Main Stage Dance, Solo Explorations, Undergraduate One Acts, Festival Cabaret and The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along will each take the spotlight during this two-week festival.

Main Stage Dance

Main Stage Dance features six choreographies by undergraduate students and Master of Fine Arts candidates. The choreographies include Evolution by Kristi Kilpatrick, Epicene by Kevin Moriarty, Flash: Dinamicas de Familia by Daniela Leal, A Murder at the Tyburn Tree by Sandra A. Lopez and Habitat by Kevin O’Connor. Each dance will infuse the Main Stage with its own unique exploration and vision of its choreographer.

Moriarty’s piece, Epicene, will explore the relationship between gender and movement through the manipulation of lines, symmetry and asymmetry. It’s a personal piece which investigates his questions as to why societal norms and perceptions are they way they are today.

“When I was younger I felt different from other boys,” Moriarty said. “I’ve now come to realize that feeling is pretty universal and nobody feels like they fit in with everybody. I felt very self-conscious about whether or not I came off as being masculine enough. Using gender as my topic, I explored how movements and gestures have codified meaning and implied gender while creating expectations for spectators.”

Lopez’s piece A Murder at the Tyburn Tree highlights and explores the struggles of life on the daily basis. Lopez challenges questions through the boundaries of dance and its limitation with and without the figurative presence of music.

“Do you stop dancing because the music doesn’t sound right or do you keep going anyway?” said Lopez. “Do you give up on life just because it’s not going in the direction you thought it to be or do you struggle through that and prevail no matter what? My piece is about prevailing no matter [what]; it’s a struggle, it’s a pain in the ass, it’s negotiable but it’s about moving on.”

Solo Explorations

Four solo performances will be featured in an intimate setting by graduating Master of Fine Arts candidates. Stripped of fancy lighting or costumes, each devised body of work emphasizes the writing and acting of the actor and performer.

Michael Davison’s piece, entitled Baking and Bowling, offers an unsettling take on humor that treads the delicate lines of sanity and insanity. For Davison, his piece took on a transformation that brought him back to the basics of storytelling.

“I consider myself a highly psychological actor and I tend to gravitate toward serious subject matter, but with a touch of humor,” Davison said. “I brought it all back to basics – I wanted to simply explore the actor as a storyteller. I would do this by challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone, but to also utilize my strength as an actor deeply invested in the human mind and the psychological struggles that we endure or attempt to escape from.”

Other solo performances will include the quest of a French madman and visionary in Fragments of Artaud’s Desk by Brian Livingston, the struggles and unlucky tune of a salesman in The Plot of Ratchet by Barry Hubbard and the heartbroken realities of an abandoned lover in Something like Enlightenment by Avila Reese.

Undergraduate One Acts

Three pieces of work, written and directed by undergraduate students, will be staged. These works include Brother(s) at War, written by Michael Lutheran and directed by Sarah Birdsall, How to Grieve, written by Ashley Chandler and directed by Sabba Rahbar and The Ballad of a Tangerine, written by Karen Baldomero and directed by Jennifer Adler.

Last year, the one act plays were performed in a festival called Third Eye. This will be the first year that the undergraduate written pieces will be working as collective pieces in the context of a larger festival.

“The Edge Festival has shifted the focus to the ‘process’ of written-work rather than focusing on the final ‘product’,” Lutheran said. “Working through the Edge, not only as a playwright but as a participant within the festival, I have noticed the shift of attention toward the writing of each of these plays, and it is nice to know that there won’t be any distractions from our stories.”

Birdsall, who worked with Lutheran to direct the piece Brother(s) at War, has high hopes for this portion of the festival.

“Audiences can expect an evening of thought-provoking and deep performances from our extremely talented undergraduates,” Birdsall said. “With Brother(s) at War specifically, they will take part in one man’s journey through loss, pain and the depths of despair, to a greater understanding of his role in life, and part of what his existence means, especially to those who care about him.”

Other festivities to look out for include a cabaret, which showcases students’ unique talents through performances of devised pieces of poetry, music, etc. Also, there will be a sing-along to the film The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Costumes can be rented through The Enchanted Cellar. For information regarding costume rentals, go to theatredance.ucdavis.edu/costumes or visit theatredance.ucdavis.edu for more information regarding The Edge Performance Festival.

UYEN CAO can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

The Edge Performance Festival

Friday April 15, 2011

Solo Explorations, Arena Theatre, Wright Hall, 7pm

Main Stage Dance, Main Theatre, 8pm

Saturday April 16, 2011

Main Stage Dance (Picnic Day), Main Theatre, 2pm & 4pm

Solo Explorations, Arena Theatre, Wright Hall, 7pm

Undergraduate One Act Plays, Lab A, Wright Hall, 9:30pm

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along (movie), Main Theatre, Wright Hall, 12 Midnight (Rated R)

Sunday April 17, 2011

Main Stage Dance, Main Theatre, Wright Hall, 2pm

Undergraduate One Act Plays, Lab A, Wright Hall, 7pm

Thursday April 21, 2011

Main Stage Dance, Main Theatre, Wright Hall, 8pm

Friday April 22, 2011

Undergraduate One Act Plays, Lab A, Wright Hall, 8pm

Festival Cabaret, Arena Theatre, Wright Hall, 11pm

Saturday April 23, 2011

Undergraduate One Act Plays, Lab A, Wright Hall, 8pm

The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along (movie), Main Theatre, Wright Hall, 12 Midnight (Rated R)

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