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Friday, October 31, 2014 | Last updated: 5:55pm


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Identities found with experimental theater




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Journalism senior Holly Johnson, right, looks at Residential College in the Arts and Humanities sophomore Caroline Caswell during a theater piece called “Hey, baby” on Feb. 8, 2013, at (SCENE) Metrospace. The piece was part of an event called “Identities,” which highlighted experimental theater. Julia Nagy/The State News



Last Friday, actors from Lansing Art Works held an Evening of Experimental Theatre. The skits and monologues revolved around the theme “Identities.“

Personal monologues, such as “Lessons from the Bike” by Minori Wisti, were one of the many performances incorporating sound, sight and touching displayed at (SCENE) Metrospace, 110 Charles St. Journalism senior Holly Johnson directed the performance and wanted to use the elements to string something together to make one cohesive theme.

“I wanted to make it all under one category so I thought, ‘Why not make the theme “‘Identities?’”” Johnson said. “I wanted to focus in on what mostly people our age are going through and capture that before it changes again.”

Graduate student Kiel Darling attended to see what the event was going to do with the theme identities.

“You could understand that the theme was identities from all these performances, especially with the biking monologue,” Darling said. “You could tell the tone of each performance related to each other.”

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By Julia Nagy / The State News
Residential College in the Arts and Humanities sophomore Caroline Caswell looks to the crowd during a theater piece called "Hey, baby" on Feb. 8, 2013, at (SCENE) Metrospace. The piece was part of an event called "Identities," which highlighted experimental theater. Julia Nagy/The State News

The evening developed into experimental theater when Johnson and the other actors who are part of Lansing Art Works felt theater was lacking in their lives, and they wanted to bring a stronger connection of art in the East Lansing area.

“I felt this absence of theater in my life, and I have been wanting to place it with a theater project of my own and this was my opportunity,” Johnson said. “Through my art collective, Lansing Art Works, I was able to organize this event and have my friends, people who are in the collective, fully support that and want to help me out with this.”

When Residential College in the Arts and Humanities sophomore Caroline Caswell heard Johnson was planning this event, she wanted to help out and experiment with modern-theater techniques.

“Holly decided to put on this show of performance art and experimental theater and everyone from Lansing Art Works were all on board,” Caswell said. “I’ve done some theater in the past, but it was very traditional. I was ready to stir up some things especially with the spectators and the audience.”

Johnson said an important part of the event and performances was to make the audience interact with performers.

“We wanted to involve the audience and make them wonder if the performer is going to touch them and feel a part of something rather than just feeling like a bystander,” Johnson said. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun and reactions are priceless.”

Since identity is such a big part of being comfortable as a person in general, Johnson’s main goal was to challenge each person’s mind on who they want to be.

“I am hoping it made audiences think about who they are, who they are attracted to, what they want to achieve at this moment and what they want to come across as their own identities,” Johnson said.


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