On Nov. 14 at 5 p.m., a group of UC Davis undergraduate and graduate students will move across campus on stilts as part of a performance entitled “LAKE and The Death Star Migration.” The group of eight stilt walkers will start in front of Wright Hall near the Eggheads, and travel across the Quad to the southwest corner of the Humanities building, known as the “Death Star.”
The performance will be directed and choreographed by Deidre Morris, a graduating Master of Fine Arts candidate in interdisciplinary arts who is using the piece as a “practice-as-research” project for her upcoming thesis.
Morris, who has 13 years of stilt experience herself, took students with levels of experience ranging from formal training on stilts to those with little to no experience in physical performance mediums, and provided them with five weeks of instruction on stilt walking leading up to the performance.
“It was a challenge, to different varying degrees for everyone,” Morris said. “It’s frightening to get on a pair of stilts for the first time because you’re fighting your instincts a little bit, but then once they’ve got the stilt walking and started really working with it it’s very beautiful.”
Morris also feels there is an activism component to the piece.
“The other part of this that’s sort of intriguing to me is the human impact on ecosystems,” Morris said. “I’m trying to prioritize what the performing arts can contribute to that, and contribute to the understanding of the relationships that humans have to places.”
Morris said that in her initial formulation of the piece she was intrigued by how frequently she found that urban landscapes intersect with the migratory pathways of different heard animals.
All of these elements allowed Morris to develop the piece in the current form.
“It’s not inside the theatre; it’s not a traditional performance in that way. It’s interactive in some ways and that’s intriguing,” Morris said.
The Death Star Migration is a free performance.