Touring Shadows, Maryland

Posted in Uncategorized | March 7, 2008 | by emilyharney | (15) Comments

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Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

I, Colin, my musician, and Gordon, my stage manager, arrive at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Centre, Maryland University. The Centre is about ten years old and houses schools of music, theatre and dance. Music is the biggest in size and dance the smallest.Our main contact was Lynnie Raybuck, the Community Engagement manager. Lynnie and Ruth Waalkes, the director of Cultural Participation had seen Shadows when we performed at the Under The Radar festival in New York two years ago and they were both keen to bring the show to Marylands. Cultural Participation is a department whose mission is to “transform lives through sustained engagement with the Arts.” Something like 25 artists were invited to the university each year, mainly musicians, with some of the invitees coming from abroad. The program regarded the impact and benefit to the community as more important than ticket sales. They had a system of donors to finance the program, and many of the donors were actively engaged with the centre.We did three shows. The audience was small for the first, but built to large for the third. There were discussion groups after two of the performances and the piece was extremely well received. backstage snacks

Ash Dargan, the digeridoo player, visited backstage after the show. He had spoken at a discussion session, Cultural Faultlines.

Colin and Ash Backstage

The new ending quoting from the Prime Ministers apology worked well and moved the expat Australians. Below is an email I received from Beatrice Gralton, Cultural Relations Project Manager, Embassy of Australia, Washington.

I’ve just returned home to my little basement apartment here in Washington D.C. and am reflecting on your performance this evening of Shadows. I wanted to convey to you how valuable I feel the work is that you are doing. It succeeds on so many levels; visually beautiful, compelling and poignant. It is brave to discuss issues that for such a long time people have not wanted to discuss. You do this is a manner which is poetic, yet matter-of-fact.

It was strange to be in America for Sorry Day. I ached for home that day. I was glued to the computer, watching the live-stream and for the first timein ages I felt proud to be an Australian. Your work brought that feelingback again. It’s a new time for us all, and like you said, the work has a new ending. It must have been wonderful to have made those additions.

By and large the show went extremely well here at Marylands. The presenters, Lynnie, especially, who had invested quite a lot in the project, were happy. I also gave a slide show to members of the Greenbelt community of Maryland.

4-greenbelt-community-cen-e.jpg

Greenbelts were constructed in many part of the USA in the depression as a New Deal providing labour and housing for the people. They were idealistic in their aims. This one had friezes with captions, “We the People,” “Promote the General Welfare,” and “To Form a More Perfect Union.” Several Greenbelts remain today and still function as a community. The Marylands one was thesize of a small suburb and was big enough to have a Recreational Arts Program group and a Greenbelt Gay and Lesbian Pride Group which hosted my talk. Interesting place.

On our day off we visited the Washington Mall, the National Art Gallery, which had a smallish, well chosen collection which was excellently presented, and the Museum of American Indians, part of about half a dozen Smithsonian Institute galleries, all free. Impressive.

William National Mall

National Museum of Art

Museum of American Indian

The low point was the night I parked our hire car in a restricted car park. How were we supposed to know? The signage was tiny. The car was towed away. It¹s all a scam by towing companies and we had to pay $150 to the company to get it back, besides having to stand in the cold night for hours. Oh and we
all had bad jet lag as well.

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