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Stage artists, scientists collaborate on Collapse; Theatre-dance department announces 2007-08 season

By Dave Jones on June 8, 2007 in University

UC Davis' Sideshow Physical Theatre Company is collaborating with campus scientists on a fall production about "collapse" -- for example, the collapse of the social order in Rwanda, the collapse of the World Trade Center in New York City, the collapse of ice caps because they are melting.

Collapse (suddenly falling down) explores the disintegration of things that we depend on, according to a Department of Theatre and Dance news release. "This unique collaboration uses computer-generated images in an interactive environment to illustrate how systems fail and patterns reorganize."

Collapse is one of seven shows and three festivals on the theatre and dance department's 2007-08 schedule, with one more show to be announced. The rest of the new season, announced late last week, includes Shakespeare's Measure for Measure and Bathsheba Doran's Nest, and a new show titled Fate and Spinoza, to be created by performance artist Rinde Eckert, working with UC Davis students.

Collapse, the first show of the new season, is a commissioned work for UC Davis' Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts' new Creativity Project. The theatre and dance department's Della Davidson, artistic director of Sideshow Physical Theatre, leads the creative team, working with geologists Louise Kellogg and Dawn Sumner, computer scientists Michael Neff and Oliver Kreylos, and physicist Jim Crutchfield. The text is by Ed Gaible.

The season's other new work, Fate and Spinoza, centers on the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, who was a lens grinder by occupation. Eckert, a Granada artist-in-residence, said the production will explore the eye, its physiology, its optics, and its poetic and philosophical correlates.

"Movement, music, visual intrigue and splendor will all be integral," he said. "There will be scenes, dialogues, monologues, parables, songs and dances. And, if we're fortunate, there will be some accidents we can't explain."

Irina Brown, the Granada artist-in-residence who directed Six Characters in Search of an Author at UC Davis in 2004, is due back to direct Nest, the story of a young indentured servant in 19th century rural Pennsylvania who was hanged for the death of her newborn baby.

"This drama is a riveting indictment of a society that had no outlets for women's emotional and sexual needs," the theatre and dance department news release states.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,