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Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

FACETS project seeks student input on the impact of tuition hikes

FACETS, an ongoing project through the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance’s Institute for Exploration in Theatre, is investigating and uncovering the impact of the changing economics of higher education on students, families and communities. FACETS stands for Facilitating Analyzing Communicating Engaging Through the Stage, and the artistic directors include Professors Jon D. Rossini and Peter Lichtenfels with Production Manager Eric Steggall.

With intentions to incorporate current political debates and media sound bites with dialogue of each story, the goal of this project is to find out how tuition hikes have impacted students, families and communities. The Aggie interviewed Professor Jon D. Rossini to find out more about the goals and the plans of FACETS as well as how to get involved.

The Aggie: How will these stories be transformed and translated to on-stage performances?
Rossini: We are hoping to deal with these stories within the framework of verbatim theatre, which is to say that we will be trying to keep them as much as possible in the specific idiom and rhythm of the storyteller. We will juxtapose stories and weave between them to show connections and disjunctions and probably intersperse some fictional stories and found texts such as newspaper articles, op-ed pieces and blogs. The final form of the piece will depend heavily on the people and stories.

Is this the first topic that FACETS has taken on? If not, what other topics were confronted? Are there any future topics that might develop into research performances as well?
This is the first project that we have taken on, although we are hoping to explore different issues each year depending upon current events and changing circumstances.  While this project will hopefully grow into something substantial, we may also explore other more compressed explorations.  Based on the success of the verbatim theatre piece (Un)Civil (Dis)Obedience, which was performed under the direction of one of our Ph.D. students, Chris McCoy, as part of the Civility Project, it seems that there is real interest and desire in the UC Davis community to engage political issues through theatre.

Why did you get involved? What does this project mean to you?
I have been thinking about engaging the community through theatre for a while. Much of my research engages conceptually with the ways that theatre can comment on and engage with politics. It is a nice shift to move to a practical manifestation within our shared community.

Why was this chosen to be a stage performance rather than a film? What are the benefits of this being a live show?
The advantage of a live show is the interpersonal engagement and the chance to create community in the space of the theatre. However, if there is sufficient interest and desire among participants we may produce pieces or even the whole work for video or web distribution.

Where do you see this project ending up after the sharing on May 16?
This project will continue after May 16, possibly developing into a more refined and fixed form. It possibly will continue as an increasing archive of inter-related stories to be shared.

How can students, families, faculty or community members get involved?
We need performers, creators, researchers and stories. If you have a story you want to share, you can participate as a performer or share your story with us in an e-mail or an interview.  If you don’t want to be on stage we will need help gathering, editing and combining stories into a performance piece.  We are more interested in your passion and commitment so if this is exciting, please let us know.

For any questions or to share your stories, email ucdfacets@gmail.com. For more information, check out theatredance.ucdavis.edu. Auditions and interviews for performers will be held tomorrow, April 3.

ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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