The MFA students are gearing up for their GradLab performances which will premier over the next few weeks. Alyse Neubert and Matt Dranzik took the time to share a little about their collaborative works. They tell us more about what inspired them and what expectations they have for their pieces, Lost Stories: The North Platte Canteen and The Faceless Project: A ‘Like’ Story.
Alyse: Lost Stories: The North Platte Canteen
My piece is about one of the largest American WW2 volunteer efforts, the North Platte Canteen. It began on December 17, 1941 and continued till after the last train of troops came home to the United States. The North Platte Canteen (also known as the Service Men’s Canteen in the Union Pacific Railroad station at North Platte) was a railroad stop manned by local citizens. Its purpose was to provide refreshments and hospitality to soldiers who were traveling through the area on the way to war during their ten to fifteen minute stopovers. Sometimes troops were not allowed to leave the train, other times they were allowed to run into the canteen station for no more than 20 minutes. I have used the historical “timeline” of 10 to 15 minutes of interaction t to write 3 scenes depicting moments between volunteers and solders. within these scenes I have found moments of what I am calling “Magic”, that depict elements of their stories that can’t be traditionally staged. My project centers on the generosity of a community in a war time who gave soldiers so much more than just material items.
The inspiration for this project came from an idea my father had. The structure and ideas for the scenes from my own historical research, and the moments of magic were in part inspired from my gradlab Mentor Kevin Crawford, and one of circus helped me see where I could take this event instructors Francesco Sgro. I was at a stand still in terms of production till elements from my father, Kevin and Francesco.
My most basic expectation for this piece is for people to enjoy themselves. If all my other expectations fall apart, but the audience walks away with nothing other than a “moment” or a feeling that the peice left with them, then I will feel some accomplishment. I am personally combining elements from my former education and my time here at ADA. I am excited with what my collaborator Matt and I have come up with so far, and can’t wait to see where we take this performanceadlab Mentor Kevin Crawford, and one of circus instructors Francesco Sgró. I was at a stand still in terms of production till elements from my father, Kevin and Francessco helped me see where I could take this event.
My gradlab is called The Faceless Project: A ‘Like’ Story which explores the big question- ‘How has social media affected our lives?” Using a process called Moment Work, which was developed by Moises Kauffman and the Tectonic Theatre Project, my collaborator Alyse Neubert and I, with the help of others, are creating a theatrical piece based off this central question. The process in itself will create more questions, and through this exploration, we will uncover the content, form, and themes that this theatrical piece will take on.
My inspiration came from my own personal experience working with members of the Tectonic Theatre Project as well as using Moment Work consistently throughout my undergraduate education and after. Social Media has become a “near-necessary” part of everyone’s life, and seeing as how Facebook became so powerful within its 11 years of activity, that was what The Faceless Project chose to question first. Especially being abroad from family and friends, I personally use Facebook to keep connected. While doing so, I witness the activity of the ‘world’ and other people as well, causing me to ask questions and longing to create a dialogue about it, and the best way for me to do that is through theatre.This comedic piece (as it is so far) will incorporate a number of different ideas and characters played by two members of the ensemble, exploring the ideas of relationships, family, and archetypes found in the most powerful social media cooperation, Facebook.
My greatest expectation is that this piece promotes thought and discussion within the audience, as well as enjoyment and laughs. I have found that comedy engages its viewers in a different way that tragedy or dramatic theatre does, and that engagement promotes the kind of discussions in which the Faceless Project is looking for.
If anyone is interested in seeing how the process is going and/or wants to be a part of it, please view the Faceless Project’s Facebook Page
The more perspectives and ideas we can get the better!