Virtual Vibrance Program
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The Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA)
Graduate Researchers in Media and Performing Arts (GRMPA)
Cornell Ambassadors for Media and Performance (CAMP)
Virtual Vibrance: Making, Shaking, Breaking Performance
Produced by Jayme Kilburn, Levi Wilson, Kelly Richmond, Abbey Crowley, Carley Robinson, Andy Colpitts, Brian Sengdala, and Sara Pistono
Exhibit Noir, devised by Faith Parris ’24
October 30, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.
October 31, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.
The American Slavery Project’s In the Parlour by Judy Tate, directed by Carley Robinson ’21
October 31, 2020, at 7:30 p.m.
Reserve your free ticket at schwartztickets.com. A link will be emailed to you 30 minutes prior to showtime.
Note from the Chair
Dear community members,
In a more typical year, you would be reading this note in a physical program while gathering in a public space. As you well know, there is nothing typical about this year, and so this note must also depart from the conventions that have tended to govern it in the past. Ordinarily I might describe particular projects with confidence that they would materialize in ways of which we could be basically certain. But not now; the very digital program in which this note appears could change before the end of the semester—and could change even more dramatically for the coming spring.
Indeed, what we were intending as a year’s worth of programming in our immediately prior spring has already been radically reimagined. I am proud of students, staff, and faculty who have responded with inventiveness and imagination to making virtual work in socially distanced ways. I am proud that the majority of this work is centering perspectives on systemic racism and white supremacist ideology, of which the Department of Performing and Media Arts must take urgent stock, for which we must be accountable, and whose dismantling we must actively undertake. I am proud that numerous BIPOC guest artists and scholars will visit classes and make public presentations via Zoom. And I am proud that all of this activity is free to our publics, who now more than ever need access to art and intellection that we hope will sustain us through the anxieties and exhaustions of our current political and historical circumstances.
I look forward to a time when we may all convene again in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts and communally enjoy film, dance, theater, performance art, installation, public lectures, and more. In the meantime, I wish everyone reading this note physical health and emotional and spiritual well-being.
Artist's Statement: 'Exhibit Noir'
My inspiration for creating Exhibit Noir is to explore my blackness and to demonstrate the importance of dance and music when it comes to cultural preservation. Especially in today’s tumultuous political climate, Exhibit Noir is meant to emphasize the overanalyzing and policing of black bodies. This policing extends as far as our whereabouts, our movement, our emotions, our countenance, and our existence. My goal is to give the audience a chance to learn and explore blackness through dance, highlighting freedom, tension, excitement, pain, and all of the above within the African Diaspora. What drives me as a creator is the opportunity to be flexible to share my story, thoughts, and experiences in any combination of literary and creative media.
My main inspiration for selecting Black female dancers came from the strong female characters portrayed in Diaspora literature, mainly from the Harlem Renaissance period. Considering the reinvigorated interest in racial injustice as the BLM movement, this could be a good contribution to the awareness, as well as the enlightenment in the complexity and commonality in the ever-emerging Black Experiences discourse in schools, colleges, and galleries as the Black History Museum, to evoke reactions/responses.
Since I was nurtured in an Afro-Caribbean cultural household by strong female influences, for me, from Zora Neale’s Hurston’s quote "De woman is de mule uh de world so far as Ah can see," in Their Eyes Were Watching God it begs the questions: Is this true? If so, is that a bad or a good thing, considering the circumstances, conditions of the Black Woman's experiences?
—Faith Parris '24
Artist's Statement: 'In the Parlour' by Judy Tate
I'm so excited to work on this project and uplift the voices of Black women in the PMA department.
This script by Judy Tate is phenomenal, and so timely with the election right around the corner.
Showcasing the necessity of Black women on both a national and local stage has been so rewarding.
Make sure to vote!
—Carley Robinson '21
Company Bios: 'Exhibit Noir'
Kelly Richmond(Graduate Producer) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell Univeristy. Her research project examines the spectacular and spectral interactions between contemporary queer performance, climate crisis, and ghosts. In addition to reading a lot of books on haunting, Kelly is an avid theatre-maker and enthused educator. She has previously produced the 10-Minute Play Festival (2018), the Feminist Directions Symposium (2019), and eTRASH Lab (2020) within PMA.
Abbey Crowley(Undergraduate Producer) is a junior at Cornell University from Columbus, Georgia, pursuing a major in Performing and Media Arts and minors in Education and Inequality Studies. She happily serves as the Vice President of Cornell Ambassadors for Media and Performance (CAMP) as well as the President and Lead Producer of Melodramatics Theatre Company. Abbey has been happy to work with organizations and companies such as RWS Entertainment Group (Theatrical & Development Intern), the Springer Theatre Academy (Administrative Intern), the Springer Opera House (Board of Directors), and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America (Drama Teacher). Abbey sees theatre as an invaluable tool to spread information, start discussions, and build community.
Faith Parris(Director/Choreographer/Dancer) is a freshman at Cornell University (A&S) from Brooklyn, NY. She is an intended Psychology and Philosophy major. She began praise dancing at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church at the tender age of 6. As an active member of the Guyana Cultural Association, she performs Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese folk dance for a number of international and annual events in New York and Guyana. On one of her previous trips, she was even blessed with the opportunity to perform in Georgetown’s Sports Complex for the former president of Guyana, David Granger, himself. At her elite NYC private school, Saint Ann's School, she danced for five years. She participated and choreographed a number of dances including bhangra, modern, and West African dance (more specifically, performing dances such as Kuku, Sunu, Lamba, Dudunba, Gumbe, Nago, and Fanga). She recently returned from an intensive dance trip in Havana, Cuba, to learn from and dance with the Malpaso Dance Company. From this, she learned Afro-Cuban Orisha dances, such as Yemaya and Elegua.
Cory Koehler(Cinematographer) is a senior majoring in Performing and Media Arts and English. He has been involved in a various pool of production modicums and roles, such as acting in Edy Kennedy's student film The Fixers (2020) and Real Friends' music video for their song "Mess" (2016), shooting scenes for narratives and countless side projects in high school, and writing/studying screenplays from his senior year of high school through to his senior year now. Cory believes in the entertainment industry for its ability to immortalize important messages and emotions.
Elissa Palmer(Dancer) started practicing dance and movement at the age of five. She recently moved back to Ithaca (class of '99) and is a greenhouse grower in CALS. Elissa danced in several productions while a student at Cornell and is excited to be part of this project.
Jasmine Scott(Dancer) is a senior from northern California. She studies sociology with minors in Spanish and Inequality Studies. Although she hangs out a lot around Schwartz and has taken a few classes there, she made her performance debut last year in The Next Storm. Jasmine is incredibly grateful for this lovely opportunity.
Cole Romero(Actor) is a junior at Cornell University. Originally from the California Central Valley, Cole is studying Performing and Media Arts and English Literature in the College of Arts & Sciences. Cole has previously been seen onstage and behind the scenes throughout the Performing and Media Arts department, such as starring in 10-Minute Play Festival and Spill their first year, being involved in Festival 24, and co-directing There for You: A New Musical last fall. They are very honored to have been cast in this production and are excited to work with a diverse group of people. Cole hopes to graduate with honors in PMA and pursue a career in entertainment. They find the arts to be an incredible outlet for individual and group expression and hope to bring people together to tell new, untold stories.
Company Bios: 'In the Parlour' by Judy Tate
Carley Robinson(Director/Undergraduate Producer) is a graduating senior studying Human Development, Education, and Theatre. You may know her through her work in other PMA productions including 10-Minute, The Next Storm, The Awakening of Spring, and others. She also is on staff at Civic Ensemble and is looking forward to their upcoming Community Soup event! Carley is so grateful to have the opportunity to uplift the voices of some phenomenal Black women through this production and hopes the Performing and Media Arts will start to adopt this work of centering and celebrating their historically marginalized students.
Andy Colpitts(Graduate Producer) is a first-year PhD student in Performing and Media Arts. He trained at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq and graduated with a BA in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies from Brown University. His scholarly interests include popular performance styles, rural spectatorship, and queer meaning-making.
Allison Borton(Actor, Alice Paul) is a sophomore Computer Science major in the College of Engineering. She is currently taking her second acting class at Cornell. She has been involved with the Shakespeare Troupe at Cornell for a year now and was in Othello (Fall 2019) and rehearsals for As You Like It (Spring 2020). She also acted in Footsteps, a short play that was part of Cog Dog Theatre Troupe's Spring 2020 productions.
Amaris Henderson(Actor, Mary Church Terrell) is a senior and a singer-songwriter and poet from El Paso, TX, studying Performing and Media Arts. Her poetry has been featured in TEMPO, the official peer-reviewed journal of the Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented, among others. At Cornell, Henderson is recognized as a Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar and currently serves on its executive board and works as the student liaison for the Director of Admissions' executive mentoring group. Furthermore, she is a writer and editor for Slope Magazine, the Public Relations Chair for CAMP, and works as a communications assistant for the College of Arts & Sciences. While abroad in New Zealand, Henderson was a social media ambassador for the University of Auckland's abroad program. She would like to thank you for supporting the work of BIPOC women and hopes that this story will inspire others to pick up their pens and write.
Kayla Bouazouni(Actor, Edna Brown) is a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences studying Performing and Media Arts and minoring in Fine Arts. She has studied theatre at the conservatory Gabriel Fauré in Paris and has been in a previous play in the department, Tartuffe. She is so grateful to be a part of this experience and cannot wait to do more!
Christel Robinson(Actor, Nellie Quander) is a queer writer, activist, and actor. She is a Cornell University undergraduate in the College of Arts & Sciences, majoring in Psychology and Performing and Media Arts. She has also been a part of the PMA department's 2020 Festival 24 and the MCC theater company's 2020 edition of Uncensored.
Virtual Vibrance Producer Bios
Levi Wilson(Overall Undergraduate Producer) is a senior Performing and Media Arts and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies double-major at Cornell. Some of their favorite onstage work has been in Tartuffe, An Evening at The Caffe Cino, and The Next Storm. They also currently serve as Co-President and Performing and Events Representative of CAMP and are a former dramaturgy intern with the Life Jacket Theatre Company. Levi is thrilled to be exploring new ways of making equitable, innovative, and ambitious performance/art/storytelling alongside such incredible peers!
Jayme Kilburn(Overall Graduate Producer) is currently in her seventh (!!!) year as a PhD candidate in Theatre Arts at Cornell University. Jayme has been involved with several community-based projects and in 2019 co-organized a campus-wide community symposium entitled "Feminist Directions.” Jayme's research focuses on feminist performance, specifically as it pertains to women directors.
Steven Blasberg, Master Electrician
Lisa Boquist, Costume Shop Manager
Partner Support: Kitchen Theatre Company
Kitchen Theatre Company
The Journey to 30