September 13, 2007

Kleinau performances to challenge perceptions

by Andrea Hahn


(Editors: Note hometown names.)

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Performances lined up for the fall season at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Marion Kleinau Theater offer performer-authored works presented both by students and faculty in an entertaining format designed to challenge perceptions.

Craig Gingrich-Philbrook, an associate professor of speech communication, explained that performances at Kleinau Theater focus on "the performative aspects of all communication," as a sort of storytelling, in some cases of everyday life and in others as a way of taking a question or an issue and turning it into a performance. As such, some performances resemble plays and some use multi-media presentations or some other form of performance art.

"Personally, I am less interested in the differences (between performance art and plays) for their own sake, and always ask students to remember that both theater and performance studies remind us that aesthetic communication is part of all our birthrights," Gingrich-Philbrook said.

"Kleinau performances focus on a critical engagement of culture," said Jake Simmons, a graduate teaching assistant from Amarillo, Texas, who is affiliated with the theater. "Our performances do not merely represent or reproduce culture. Instead, we look for ways to intervene through artistic mediums."

The Marion Kleinau Theater is on the second floor of the Communications Building. Performances begin at 8 p.m. and there is no seating once the performance begins. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for students. Reserve tickets by calling 618/453-5618. The Kleinau Theater box office is open one hour before each performance for those who want to buy tickets the day of the performance.

For more information about the season, visit and follow the links to Kleinau Theater. The fall schedule follows:

Oct. 4 – 6 – Ichor and the Four Humours Present: Percy Per Se Himself Presenting: Fopulous! Or All is Vanity (A Tragicomedy of Manners in Five Acts with Narrated Interludes and Dancing) Written and directed by Bennett Whitaker

Whitaker, a graduate student from Columbus, Ohio, gives us Sir Percy Per Se, a "fashion-forward-fop" whose vanity and sense of style – and his apparent need to find approval both from 17th century English nobility and from 21st century American critics – lead to questions of acceptance, substance and whether "audiences can effect the unaffected."

Nov. 8 – 10 – "The Academy" Written and directed by Ron Pelias

SIUC Professor Ron Pelias examines university life through the words of academics, focusing in particular on "those moments that provide teachers with opportunities for celebration and with reasons for dismay."

Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 1 – Double Bill

Drowning a Diary: Revisioning Virginia Woolf Adapted and directed by Alison Aurelia Fisher, co-directed with Elyse Lamm Pineau

Fisher, a graduate teaching assistant from Kirkwood, Ill., and Associate Professor Pineau read Virginia Woolf's life from a feminist standpoint. The performers use Woolf's own words as a novelist and essayist to aid in conceptualizing her "life tensions."

Ana and Mia: A (Dis)ordered Life by Andrea Wallace

Wallace, a senior undergraduate from Trilla, Ill., asks some difficult questions by looking into the lives of people with eating disorders. Her multi-media presentation uses song, dance, narrative, interviews, Web sites and text to ask if anorexia is defiance, if bulimia is control.

Dec. 4 – Performing Culture Spotlight Performances

Selected performances from "Performing Culture" classes.

Dec. 6 – Advanced Classes Spotlight Performances

Performances selected from advanced undergraduate and graduate classes in "Performance Studies."