JKB SpringFest


Announcing the JKB SpringFest line-up:

(listed in alphabetical order by lead artist)

Uplift
Lead Artists: Will Carter ’23 and Anne-Sophie Vandenberk ’23
Production type: Devised IN PERSON
Seeking to create and curate a collection of original student creative pieces through an open performance pf student work. Uplift will incorporate the voices of BIPOC Skidmore students in the form of song, dance, and spoken word. The main focus of Uplift is to bring awareness to the BIPOC student experience at a predominantly white institution.

The Free Bottle of Whiskey by Casandra Clifford ’21
Lead Artist: Casandra Clifford ’21
Production type: Reading IN PERSON
Estranged siblings Max and Mitch have struggled with their relationships to their parents and each other. One night while their parents are out, they crack open a bottle of whiskey for an evening of fun and long-overdue bonding. What follows are conversations about gender, sexuality, race, heritage, and fashion. Secrets are revealed, a Gucci handbag is destroyed, and the two siblings find themselves closer than they’ve ever been before.

Project: Young by Kat Collin ’21
Lead Artist: Kat Collin ’21
Production type: Reading IN PERSON
Lauren is a teenager coming to terms with her sexuality and her identity. Due to her setting, she has been brainwashed with heterosexual norms that cause her to unwittingly suppress her queerness. This suppression, both exacerbating and supplementing her untreated mental illnesses, leads her down a dark path of identity confusion, drug use, predatory relationships, and dangerous situations. This play is about the loss of identity, the pain and confusion of trying to find it, and the resulting joy that comes from reacquainting with the self and transitioning to an authentic life.

Project: L0S3RS: The Video Game Play by Lily Kops ’22
Lead Artist: Lily Kops ’22
Production type: Staged ONLINE
Picture this: it’s early Saturday morning, around 12:30 pm, and a young middle-school boy awakes from a deep slumber. He journeys into the depths of his basement, and suits up for battle. Once his headset and controller are in place, he meets with the rest of his team, and together they set out on a dangerous and difficult mission, defending their pride against the most horrifying opponent in the online gaming world—a girl. This play may be telling the stories of mainly four young boys, but they will not be played by anything close to that. This story is ultimately from the perspective of a younger sister, and should be told with that in mind.

Project: Optais Amme by Catie LeCours ’22
Lead Artist: Catie LeCours ’22
Production type: Staged IN PERSON
This play is an exploration of individualism, hierarchy, and free will. It takes place in a fictional society (the Other Country) bound by strict gender roles within a feudalist structure that is being challenged by peasant revolts.

Project: Bamboo Box: Models for Your Convenience
Lead Artist: Wynn Lee ’21
Production type: Devised IN PERSON
A piece that will focus on how Asian bodies (and the media/stereotypes associated with them) are used for commodification, entertainment, etc. for white people, and how privileged people focus on the commodified aspects while ignoring/not knowing the struggles Asian folks have gone through. In this project, there will be three boxes, built to be life size Barbie doll boxes, packaged and marketing “types” of Asian girls as a collector’s item. Come get your own Asian gal! A type for every man!

Project: Zombie Rain
Lead Artist: Jessie March ’21
Production type: Devised IN PERSON
Very simply, this will be a devised movement piece about the rain turning people into zombies. This piece will center around themes of alienation vs acceptance, what it means to see or be seen through the eyes of society and societal norms, who gets to stay and who gets cast out into the rain. Actors will explore a multitude of movement techniques in the rehearsal room guided by the director, and will use these techniques to generate storytelling through the body.

Project: Frozen Fluid by Fly Jamerson
Lead Artist: Eliza Martin ’21
Production type: Staged IN PERSON
Somewhere in Mythic Antarctica, three scientists at a research facility live and conduct research out on the ice, continuously becoming and unbecoming themselves as they play out the creation of the world. Through a series of fables, Frozen Fluid chronicles the arrival of phytoplankton scientist Tay and the unraveling of the fantastic Antarctic world in which they find themself. Together, the scientists construct and deconstruct notions of gender, identity, religion, climate, and time itself.

Project: Living Through Isolation
Lead Artist: Anthony Nikitopoulos ’21
Production type: Devised IN PERSON
A project that captures people’s experiences with isolation through a devised film project. Material will be devised and generated from interviews conducted with as many students as possible, highlighting their experiences with isolation. This body of text will serve as the basis for the project. The performers will be given the text and have liberty to devise with it.

Project: The Chaparral by Tatsu Rivera ’22
Lead Artist: Tatsu Rivera ’22
Production type: Reading IN PERSON
The Chaparral explores the twists and turns of what it means for one to flee as a coping mechanism as well the pressures that come with stifling one’s identity. This is a play that traverses the past and present of Jean, a queer man, as he travels through his safe space with his older and younger siblings Alexis and Alexis at two different points in his life.

Project: No Names
Lead Artist: Fabian Rodriguez ’21
Production type: Devised IN PERSON
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the Adults have become extinct by the (creatures not from this world)- who feed on the negativity and “trap” of adulthood, the monsters that we carry as humans. The children co-exist with the creatures, they don’t even know they exist until they do, and it’s too late. This piece will explore the beauty and grotesque nature of relationships we build with one another.

Project: Plano by Will Arbery
Lead Artist: Hanna Yurfest ’21
Production type: Staged IN PERSON
A captivating, fast-paced, forceful dark comedy revealing the ways women have been programmed to revere men and the thin line between nightmares and memories.

*Plus Marie Glotzbach’s student-devised Production Seminar – more info coming soon!


Festival Mission and Values 

We are producing three weeks of exciting, exploratory, and electrifying student-driven theatrical work that is adaptable to the current COVID-19 crisis and reflects the calls for racial justice currently happening on a national and local level. This festival is focused on opportunities for student learning, growth, creation, and experimentation. We aim to reexamine hierarchies in our theater community, including ones in the audition, casting, and proposal processes. We are prioritizing the health and safety of students and faculty above all else in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are prepared to adapt to any and all changes to the CDC guidelines for the spring, including the possibility of having to move the whole festival online. We will be guided by the demands of BIPOC theatrical artists and creators as laid out in the We See You White American Theatre document as a resource for our commitments, which include but are not limited to: a commitment to culturally appropriate casting, the decentralizing of whiteness and the assimilation of white/Western aesthetic as a learning outcome, the consistent inclusion of BIPOC artists/creators/designers/writers/voices in our projects, and support for our BIPOC students, faculty and collaborators in rehearsal spaces. This festival is a grand opportunity for experimentation, newness, change and fun as we come together as artists, makers, dreamers, and creators to collaborate in ways we may have never thought of before.


Timeline

Speed Collaboration events: October 23rd, 5-6pm and November 6th, 5-6pm
Proposals open at noon on October 30th
Proposal Form Info Session on November 4th, 7pm
Proposals due by noon on November 13th
Festival line-up announced on December 4th, 6pm
The festival will run April 17th – May 1st, 2021


Festival Structure and Recommended Guidelines 

The festival will run starting the weekend of Saturday, April 17th to the weekend of Saturday, May 1st. We are encouraging an abundance of projects and hope that our schedule of works will be bursting at the seams.

We encourage students to think about the following performance structures when proposing a project (while also hoping students will think big and re-imagine what theater can be):

  • Projects under 70 minutes (in order to support festival endurance, inclusion, and the likelihood of outdoor performances)
  • Two-handers or small cast plays
  • Plays written by students
  • Devised pieces
  • Site specific / outdoor theater
  • New plays
  • Readings
  • Showings of monologues
  • Projects in collaboration with other departments and community organizations

As a way of responding to nationwide calls for racial justice, inclusion, diversity, and access, 70% of voices will be from historically marginalized demographics, including women, trans/nonbinary, BIPOC, queer, undocumented, differently abled, deaf, and other members of the global majority. In formulating a proposal, we encourage students to articulate specifically how their work will adhere to this element of the festival.

We would like to foster interdepartmental collaboration on a student level, inviting and facilitating opportunities for student-to-student communication to gauge interest in working on certain projects. We will encourage students when proposing a project for the festival to think about ways that they might be able to involve students from other departments in their work, and then we will facilitate the outreach to the students in those departments.

Students will receive formalized mentorship from faculty in the form of independent studies and senior projects associated with projects in the festival. Opportunities for faculty mentorship will also be available through a student devised piece directed by Marie Glotzbach as part of the festival.

The festival will include self-reflexive processes for engagement and reflection. These may include community discussions, talkbacks with dramaturgs, interviews with community leaders, participatory activities for audiences, or other events of students’ own creation. These events will strive towards examining meaning-making in staged choices, reflecting on how this work makes meaning for us, in our moment, by articulating what we have learned and/or what our next steps might be.


Proposals 

For the sake of transparency, we want to share with you our process of selecting the SpringFest lineup, as it will differ from previous semesters.

Selection Process:
As students looking at our peer’s proposals, we wish to begin the process with anonymity in order to eliminate bias and let the work speak for itself. The Face the Strange class will initially review each proposal anonymously, with names and class years hidden. We will then review all proposals again, with lead artist names and class years visible, to create a balanced festival and provide equitable opportunities for students in a way that most abides by the goals of our festival. If necessary, we will identify proposals we need more information or clarity about and set up interviews with those lead artists. From there, Face the Strange will select the proposals we want to pitch to the Season Selection Committee (SSC). The final selection process will be a collaboration between the Face the Strange class and the SSC.

Recusal Process:
As we are a committee of your peers, we have a process for recusing members of the class from the selection process if deemed appropriate. Members of the class may recuse themselves from the decision on any project for any reason. We are recommending students make this choice if, for example: they have a close relationship with the lead artist proposing, they are also proposing a project that may be considered in conflict with the proposal being reviewed, etc. However, we wish to have as many voices in the selection process for any given project as possible, so this decision will be left up to each committee member on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the SSC faculty members will be overseeing the process to ensure a fair and balanced selection.

Submission Process:
This spring, like previous semesters, all student theater productions will go through the process of filling out a proposal form, and submitting it to be reviewed by a faculty panel. These proposals will be submitted through a form that we are creating specifically for the spring festival format. We have opted to use Google forms, as it will allow us to collect all of the application data in one place, and to allow for a socially distant application process void of any physical form submission. This digital form also allows off campus students to propose projects remotely.

Students have expressed interest in the idea of proposing multiple projects for the festival, and while we understand the desire from the student body to create as many unique and challenging plays as possible, individual students will not be allowed to propose more than one proposal as a lead artist. This decision is being made in an effort to give as many students as possible the opportunity to write and direct, so as to avoid giving a select few a wider gamut of project types. However, students can be listed as collaborators on different projects under different roles. Our section on collaboration elaborates on how students can be involved with productions that they do not submit a proposal form for. Collaborators are selected for each project through a process that we cover in that section, and we are scheduling a separate date after the initial proposal process for finalizing technical or design collaborators.


Audition Process

  1. Two nights of auditions, anyone can sign up for any time. Every auditioner signs up for a 5-minute time slot. In those five minutes, they have the option to perform 2 of these 8 options plus an optional short joke:
    1. A 1-2 minute classical monologue
    2. A 1-2 minute contemporary monologue (required for seniors)
    3. 1-2 minutes of text that they wrote (monologue or otherwise)
    4. 1-2 minutes of a song, sung acapella, can be written by you or someone else
    5. 1-2 minutes of choreography, either choreographed by you or someone else
    6. A 1-2 minute stand-up set
    7. 1-2 minutes of spoken word poetry
    8. 1-2 minutes of improv (auditioner asks directors to give them a word)

*Callbacks are up to each director, as they have always have been.


Casting Process

In an effort to reexamine the hierarchy associated with casting in the department, all directors for all of the shows will cast from the same pool of actors at the same time. No project will have the hegemonic positioning of choosing first. As we seek to create a consensual process, actors get final say if they are called back for multiple projects. After the callback process, if more than one director finds themselves wanting the same actor, it becomes the actors choice. We are working on a mechanism to collect casting preference info from actors immediately after callbacks, before the casting process begins. This info will only be referred to as needed by Stage Management and will be kept private.


Collaborations

We hope to assist and facilitate the connection between peers as artists within the festival. It is our goal to encourage students to work and collaborate with each other in a capacity that they hadn’t before. In addition to recognizing the need for opportunities for upper class designers and artistic creators, we will foster new connections between students and allow them to find collaborators whose skill sets they may not have been aware of, reaching beyond those students they know to have established roles within the department. Through this new style of outreach, students are given the opportunity to delve into new projects, promote their interests and collaborate with new people and have a structured way to go about this.

This will take place in the form of two events surrounding the proposal process. Taking inspiration from the concept of speed dating, we will host two events to bring collaborators together for a rapid fire connection opportunity for students to discuss their ideas and projects and hopefully identify students they would be interested in collaborating with on their project.

The first speed dating collaboration will take place on October 23rd from 5-6pm. Here, students will come together with a few preliminary ideas of projects they would like to work on or areas of theatrical interest they would like to explore. Students will meet in small breakout rooms over Zoom with their peers as collaborators to talk about projects and connect. The breakout rooms then shuffle and students get the chance to talk to a different potential collaborator. This continues until all students have had the opportunity to talk to as many collaborators as they wish and get the ideas flowing. This is a chance to create ideas and teams, talk about ideas, meet people, see what other people are interested and excited about working on, and identify collaborators that share similar values and goals.

The second speed dating collaboration will take place on November 13th from 5-6pm over Zoom as the first one did. This will be a focused event where people will come in with a solidified idea for what type of artistic collaborator they will need for their project, with the ultimate goal of confirming who they wish to and are able to work with.


Who We Are 

The following people have been involved in planning the festival and will be responsible for reviewing and selecting proposals.

Face the Strange Class
Char Biggs ’21
Casandra Clifford ’21
Amanda Hinge ’21
Isabelle Maher ’22
Jessie March ’21
Eliza Martin ’21
Liliana Mastroianni ’22
Joe Newman-Getzler ’21
Fabian Rodriguez ’22
Julian Tushabe ’22

Season Selection Committee
John Michael DiResta
Teisha Duncan
Marie Glotzbach
Cameron Jabs ’21
Lisa Jackson-Schebetta
Sue Kessler
Jessie March ’21
Garett Wilson

To contact us with questions, please email: JKBSpringFest@gmail.com


Resources and Inspiration

Below please find links to resources and theater companies that have inspired the creation and carrying out of this festival.

We See You White American Theatre

American Theatre Magazine: The Most With the Least

Teatro Vista

Free Street Theater

Big Dance Theater

Ripe Time

600 Highwaymen

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC


Land Acknowledgement 

In the Saratoga Springs region, we are living on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Haudenosaunee, Mohawk, Mohican, and Abenaki peoples.  We thank the elders of these tribes for their stewardship of these lands. We acknowledge that it is the violence and genocide of settler colonialism that has afforded us the privilege to occupy these lands.  We recognize that land acknowledgement is only a first, small step towards building ethical, reciprocal, and reparative relationships with the indigenous, Native, and First Nations peoples of this hemisphere.


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