February 22, 2012

Patti Pace Performance Festival set for Feb. 24-25

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- It’s Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s turn to host a festival celebrating the accomplishments of one of its own.

The Patti Pace Performance Festival, honoring a former director of graduate studies in Speech Communication at SIU Carbondale, travels among the several universities with which Pace  -- who passed away in 2000 -- was affiliated, namely Louisiana State University, Georgia Southern University and SIU Carbondale.  SIU most recently hosted the festival in 2009.

The non-competitive festival is meant to provide faculty and students in performance studies the opportunity to workshop, perform and receive critical feedback from colleagues.

This year’s primary guest artist is Jen Tuder, an SIU Carbondale alumna, and a cross-appointed associate professor at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.  Tuder is in the departments of communication studies and theater, film studies, and dance.

The festival is set for Feb. 24-25.  Of most interest to the general public is Tuder’s performance at 8 p.m. on Feb. 24 in the Kleinau Theater (in the Communications Building).  Tickets are $7 for general admission, $5 for students.  Tickets are available at the door, or reserve them by calling 618/453-5618.

Tuder’s solo performance, “Suicide Punchline,” is “a lifeline for anyone who’s ever wondered if there’s life after a loved one’s death.”  Tuder draws from academic research and personal experience, having lost a parent to suicide, to explain that “surviving (a suicide) is the opposite of solving.”

Her performance draws upon three characters representing different aspects of the survival experience.  Her settings range from cocktail parties to dioramas of the afterlife.  Tuder, through her performance, shares that “survival is an ongoing process, not a conflict that can be resolved.”

In her statement, Tuder said she “hopes all kinds of survivors will find something in the show that helps them keep body and soul together.”