The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Programs in Dance and Theater present there.remaining., a dance-theater fusion of text, movement, music, and projections, created and directed by senior Ogemdi Ude and featuring original music by Lewis Center Resident Musical Director and Composer Vince di Mura. Performances will take place on April 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 8:00 p.m. in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. The production is free and open to the public, however, advanced tickets are recommended.
Emerging from W.E.B. Du Bois’s seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk, there.remaining. explores Du Bois’s theory of double consciousness as a racial and mental phenomenon. Created in collaboration with the six performers, the work questions the ways we see ourselves and how we come to understand our often conflicting identities.
Ude, who is from Stone Mountain, Georgia, and a first generation American of Nigerian-born parents, is a senior in the English Department pursuing certificates in Theater and Dance with a special interest in African American performance theory. As a junior, Ude was awarded a grant from the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Mallach Senior Thesis Fund, an award established by Douglas J. Mallach ’91 to support the realization of a proposed senior thesis project that incorporates historical research and creates an alternative path to learning history. With this funding, Ude spent the summer researching representations of “double consciousness” in contemporary Black performance art, attending a summer intensive with the dance-theater company Witness Relocation, where she studied the creation of original work through devising methods. She also worked with and interviewed African American artists in Chicago, St. Louis, and New York to advance her understanding of their processes of creation in various disciplines, focusing most on theater, dance, and mixed media art. Ude has become especially interested in how performers are viewed onstage, noting, “I’m interested in the gaze, and how we can use performance as a way of manipulating it and therefore transforming the ways others see us.”
As a recipient of the prestigious Daniel M. Sachs Class of 1960 Graduating Scholarship, Ude will spend next year as a Sachs Global Scholar studying indigenous Australian physical theater in Melbourne, Australia. Ude’s interest in indigenous Australian performance was sparked by her research on the Black performance tradition, noting how both Black Americans and Indigenous Australians in the 1960s and 1970s used theater to express their political struggles. “Ultimately,” says Ude, “my goal is to advance theater’s role in challenging sociopolitical oppression.”
there.remaining. features six undergraduate performers: Scot Tasker ’16, Selah Hampton ’18, Catherine Ivanovich ’17, Peter Deffenbach ’17, Yasmine Eichbaum ’18, and Ugonna Nwabueze ’18. Tasker’s performance is part of his senior thesis as well. Of the process of collaborating with these student performers, Ude notes, “Working with the cast on this show has been an incredibly collaborative process, often grounded in improvisation and module-based movement. Hopefully, this will keep the cast as active and present as possible through each performance, allowing the show to constantly transform by simply doing.” there.remaining. also features projections designed by Sydney King ’17 and lighting design by Wesley Cornwell ’16.
R.N. Sandberg, Director of the Program in Theater, serves as theater adviser for Ude’s project and Dean Moss serves as her dance adviser. Moss is a recent guest choreographer in the Program in Dance whose re-conception of a dance based on the board dance duet from his larger work, johnbrown, was performed at the Princeton Dance Festival. Other influences on her work that Ude cites include studying with theater faculty members Tracy Bersley and Brian Herrera with whom she took an an autobiographical storytelling course; a directing course last fall with the late Director of the Program in Theater Tim Vasen; dance courses with Aynsley Vandenbroucke; a Princeton Atelier course with the theater group Elevator Repair Service; and a course on “The Nature of Theatrical Reinvention” with Tony Award-winning director and faulty member John Doyle.
Vince di Mura, who composed original music for the performance piece, is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and musical director, appearing on concert stages and theaters throughout North America, Canada, and Latin America. He has completed multiple compositional commissions for the Programs in Dance and Theater, as well as for Rutgers University, Rider University, the Pingry Foundation, the University of Colorado, The Scioto Society, Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Passage Theatre in Trenton, the University of Northern Colorado, and a host of scores for People’s Light and Theatre Company outside Philadelphia.
A talkback discussion led by Professor of Dance Judith Hamera will follow the performance on April 7. Hamera’s scholarship is interdisciplinary, contributing to American, communication, and cultural studies, as well as performance and dance studies. Her research examines the social work of aesthetics, especially play with genre conventions for self-fashioning and community building on and off stage. Hamera is the author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City (Studies in International Performance: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), which received the Book of the Year award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography Division. Other books are Opening Acts: Performance In/As Communication and Cultural Studies (Sage, 2006); and the Sage Handbook of Performance Studies, co-edited with D. Soyini Madison (2006).