Brown Logo

The News Service
38 Brown Street / Box R
Providence RI 02912

401 863-2476
Fax 863-9595

Distributed March 23, 2005
Contact Mary Jo Curtis

March 30 to April 3, 2005
Brown To Host 11th Performance Studies International Conference

Brown University will host Becoming Uncomfortable, the 11th annual Performance Studies international (PSi) conference, March 30 to April 3, 2005. In addition to a full schedule of conference activities for registrants, there will be a wide array of theater, dance and other arts performances in various city venues for the public.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown University’s Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance will welcome performance scholars and practitioners from around the world when it hosts the 11th annual Performance Studies international (PSi) conference, Becoming Uncomfortable, March 30 through April 3, 2005.

The conference will feature more than 200 events involving some of the most exciting artists and scholars working across the globe, including panel and roundtable discussions, installations, performances and workshops. To complement the conference, there will be a festival of evening performances, featuring such American performers as Split Britches, Mabou Mines, Drastic Action, Pig Iron Theatre, Double Edge Theatre, The Civilians, Kate Bornstein, Fred Curchack and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, among others, as well as international guest performers.

Performance Studies international (PSi) is a professional association founded in 1997 to promote communication and exchange among those working in the field of performance. Scholars and artists in the visual arts, media and cultural studies, theatre, dance, public rhetoric, ethnography, musicology and philosophy will gather to find common ground, “however rocky and uneven,” according to conference organizer John Emigh, Brown professor of Theatre, Speech and Dance. This year marks the first time the conference has convened at Brown; last year’s events took place in Singapore.

“The theme of the conference, Becoming Uncomfortable, is an open invitation to performing artists and scholars of performance to engage with those issues that most challenge our sense of boundaries, our categorical constructions, and our strategies for order,” said Emigh. “We think this is a very exciting program, one that brings performance and scholarship together in engaging and productive ways.”

Registration information and a full list of conference events are available online at the conference Web site,

Numerous public festival events are scheduled for the evenings of the conference at locations on the Brown campus and in downtown Providence. Tickets for each event are $15 for the general public and $5 for conference participants; they are through and at the door.

The main festival events include:

Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m.

  • Kate Bornstein: Kate Bornstein is a Queer and Pleasant Danger – McCormack Family Theatre, 70 Brown St. (Brown campus)
    One of America’s funniest and most provocative performance artists premiers a new autobiographical piece dealing with fathers, daughters, cults, confusions and renewal. A post-operative transsexual, Bornstein self-identifies as neither a man nor a woman. Bornstein’s books and plays include The Opposite Sex Is Neither; Hidden: A Gender; and On Men, Women and the Rest of Us.
  • Chris Elam/Yin Mei/New Works: Exceptional Incorporealities – Stuart Theatre, 77 Waterman St. (Brown campus)
    An evening of new dance works developed by choreographers Yin Mei (China/N.Y.), Chris Elam (N.Y.), and the New Works collective led by Michelle Bach-Coulibaly (R.I.) and featuring Lacina Coulibaly (Burkina Faso) and Jude Sandy (Trinidad). Performances feature hot stepping, hip-hop, Jamaican dance hall, West African ceremonial dances, Balinese dance traditions, contact work, and American concert and vernacular forms.
  • Venus Opal Reese: Split Ends and Marc Bamuthi Joseph: The Spoken Word (double bill) – Providence Black Repertory Theatre, 276 Westminster St. (downtown)
    New works by two exciting African-American performers. Split Ends humorously explores how hair is both a burden and a liberation, a barrier and a connection. Actor, musician and national poetry slam champion Marc Bamuthi Joseph has been called “electrifying” (Houston Chronicle), “eloquent... seamless... and remarkable” (The New York Times), and “the cutting edge performer of the year” (Seattle Times).

Thursday, March 31, at 8 p.m.

  • Steve Dixon, Mathias Fuchs, Paul Sermon, and Andrea Zapp of The Chameleons Group: Unheimlich (Interactive Multi-Media Installation) – Modern Culture and Media Building, Forbes Center, 135 Thayer St. (Brown campus)
    Unheimlich (Uncanny) is an interactive performance installation resulting from a collaboration between four leading European digital arts and performance practitioners of the award-winning multimedia theater company, The Chameleons. Although it will be 1 a.m. in Manchester, England, performers there will use video conference technology to interact across the miles with the Providence audience.
  • Double Edge Theatre: the UnPOSSESSED (based on Cervantes’ Don Quixote) – Bass Auditorium, Rites and Reason Theatre, 155 Angell St. (Brown campus)
    Likening it to the films of Fellini, The New York Times call The UnPOSSESED, “fervid, otherworldly, poetic, bathetic, punning and perverse.” For 23 years, Double Edge Theatre has been fusing physical theatricality, popular and circus arts, shadow puppets, stilts and commedia dell’arte with live original music.

Thursday, March 31, and Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m.

  • Schauspielhaus, Vienna: Samovar: A Piece of Life, conceived and directed by Airan Berg and Marcel Ketter – John Nicholas Brown Center, 357 Benefit St. (Brown campus)
    Performed in an intimate and elegant room of an old Providence mansion, Samovar is an homage to Anton Chekhov featuring live comic Marcel Keller, live video by Airan Berg, and a live Russian, Anja Sebanz. Using drawings, video and found objects, members of one of Europe’s most adventurous theatre companies explore the world of characters created by master playwright Anton Chekhov.

Thursday, March 31, at 9:30 p.m.

  • Fred Curchack: Gauguin’s Shadow – Trinity Repertory Theatre (downtown)
    Fred Curchack celebrates and confronts the myth of the artist Gauguin, using spellbinding theatrical imagination, masks, puppets, Gauguin's own words and video projections of his art. The production has been called “The Best Play of 2004” (Dallas/Fort Worth Theatre Critics).

Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m.

  • Maria Porter: Ennobling Nonna: An Original Movement Theater Work and Neo-Spinsters: Dora E McQuaid, Pat Payne, reina a. prado, and Evie Shockley: Second Wind (double bill) – Ashamu Studio, Lyman Hall, 77 Waterman St. (Brown campus)
    Inspired by the work of Japanese director Tadashi Suzuki and directed by Thomas DeFrantz, Ennobling Nonna tells its story through physical movements, spoken texts, recorded music, projections and everyday objects. It is the story of a woman’s search for cultural identity through an intensely physical performance. Second Wind is a performance poetry ensemble, using video and soundscapes to bridge diverse ethnic and cultural communities.

Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m.

  • The Civilians: Gone Missing – Bass Auditorium, Rites and Reason Theatre, 155 Angell St. (Brown campus)
    Called “one of the dozen young American companies you need to know” by American Theatre magazine, The Civilians is an ensemble creating new theatrical works based on actual events.

Friday, April 1, at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

  • Mabou Mines (Lee Breuer, Ruth Maleczech, Fred Neumann): Summa Dramatica from La Divina Caricatura – Starr Auditorium, MacMillan Hall, 167 Thayer St. (Brown campus)
    The Mabou Mines ensemble combines passion with parody in this culminating section of Lee Breuer’s epic Divina Caricatura, produced specifically for the conference.

Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m.

  • Dance Theatre of Bali (I Wayan Dibia, I Nyoman Catra, Desak Made Suarti Laksmi and Ni Made Pujawati and friends, with the Gamelan Gita Sari of Holy Cross College): The Death of Dalem Dungkut – McCormack Family Theatre, 70 Brown St. (Brown campus)
    Some of the most acclaimed performers of Bali, Indonesia, accompanied by a full gamelan orchestra, demonstrate the brilliance of Balinese dance and theatre. Performed in Balinese and English.

Saturday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 3, at 2 p.m.

  • Drastic Action, directed and choreographed by Aviva Geismer: All Fall Down and Rocker; and Ex.Pgirl: Waving Hello (double bill) – Stuart Theatre, 77 Waterman St. (Brown campus)
    Aviva Geismer was recently named one of “25 to watch” by Dance Magazine for her unique explorations of the comic and grotesque. Ex.Pgirl is a dance collective of artists from the United States, France, Japan and Argentina who draw from the techniques of clowning, satire, vaudeville, rock concerts and performance art to create images of America though the eyes of ex-patriots.

Saturday, April 2, at 8 p.m.

  • Split Britches (Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver) with Holly Hughes: Dress Suits ... Still for Hire – Trinity Repertory Theatre (downtown)
    First performed in 1987 at New York’s PS 122, Dress Suits for Hire blended erotic fantasy with pulp fiction to create an instant classic. Now being revived at La Mama ETC, the original cast will perform and read excerpts from the work and discuss the then and now of making and remaking Dress Suits for Hire.

Saturday, April 2, at 9 p.m.

  • Bonus Performance – free (no ticket required): Adam Gertsacov and the ACME Miniature Circus – Trinity Repertory Theatre Lobby (downtown)
    Professor Providence’s A.G. Gertsacov and his ACME Miniature Circus of trained fleas have performed before (and on!) the crowned heads of Europe, providing “entomological entertainment that dazzles, disgusts, and confuses his audience... Too ludicrous and perversely fascinating to miss!” (Boston Phoenix).

Saturday, April 2, at 10 p.m.

  • Fred Curchack and Laura Jorgensen: Golden Buddha Beach, East Coast premiere – Trinity Repertory Theatre (downtown)
    Laura and Fred go on a dream vacation/yoga retreat in Thailand. Combining dazzling visuals, live action, video, shadow magic, stories and songs, Laura and Fred invite you on a once-in-a-lifetime theatrical adventure.

Sunday, April 3, at 3 p.m.

  • Lostwax, directed by Jamie Jewett: Rest/Less – Ashamu Studio, Lyman Hall (Brown campus)
    Jamie Jewett’s Rest/Less, with text by Thalia Field, uses interactive technology to create a dance-world set on a grid of music and poetry.

Further details are available at or by e-mail to [email protected].


News Service Home  |  Top of File  |  e-Subscribe  |  Brown Home Page