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New Visions, New Voices 2016 showcases student work, alumni involvement March 30-April 3

Rehearsal for New Visions, New Voices new play festival at SMU 2016

Rehearsal for the 2016 New Visions, New Voices Play Festival

Now in its 22nd season, the New Visions, New Voices play writing festival brings the raw stories, language and characters of graduating SMU Meadows theatre students to the stage.

The full-length plays written by students are presented as staged readings, without costumes or sets. The students are partnered with either an alumnus or a Meadows faculty member who directs the student’s play and provides mentorship. Each performance is followed up with a discussion between the audience, playwright, director and actors.

All performances will take place in the Greer Garson Theatre at the Owens Art Center from March 30 to April 3, 2016.

Students involved in the production learn an invaluable set of skills while seeing their own writing come to life. “One of the most important things New Visions has helped me develop is creative discipline. If I wish to be a creative professional, I can’t just make things when inspiration strikes. I need to show up every day, and be there waiting for inspiration when it finally decides to show up,” says Jeremy Arata, whose piece will be showcased on Sunday, April 3.

Here is this year’s dynamic line-up:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.Tough Love by Holly Settoon, Directed by Jacob Nice ’15

The play looks at the lives of three young people who meet in a teen detention center somewhere in the American heartland, all of whom are struggling to survive the boredom, emptiness and anarchy of their time in the system.

Thursday, March 31, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Filth by Isaac Young, Directed by Alia Tavakolian ’12

In a tiny Virginia town, a young woman struggles to keep the family farm afloat. But between the memories that haunt her and the introverted ways that make her unable to keep a job in town, she’s going to lose everything. That is, until a man needs her farm for his low-budget porn films – and offers to make her a star. Based on an unbelievable true story, the play is a tale of survival in the face of tragedy. Adult language and situations; not suitable for children and pre-teens.

Friday, April 1, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Finale by Dylan Guerra, Directed by Samantha Rios ’13

If they can survive the Dolphin Apocalypse, how bad can graduation be? When the seam of the universe opens, four best friends and one uninvited guest find themselves sucked into an alternate world on the eve of their college graduation. Secret loves are revealed, lies are uncovered, milkshakes are shaken and tickets to the Sunday Church Carnival are sold. Will they make it home in time to graduate, or will they become insignificant casualties in the bloody uprising by man’s favorite mammal? Adult language and substances.

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Siren’s Song by Sasha Davis, Directed by Kristen Kelso ’14

Eager to escape the ghettos of Detroit, Wren studies to get into any college far away. When tragedy destroys her plans for a future with Thomas, she disappears into her grief for a decade, until awkward, funny Arthur drops into her life. The play considers the questions of lost love, new love, and self-love: which one is the hardest to accept?

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – 8:00 p.m.: Knew You by Laura Dupper, Directed by Jenna Hannum ’15

What is love? What makes it spark between one couple, and fade between another? In Knew You, James and Ellie ask the questions people have been asking for centuries. They fall in love as they interview friends and dissect classic romances for a school project. But as they fall out of love, will they find the answers they need or will love stay as elusive and enigmatic as ever?

Sunday, April 3, 2016 – 2:00 p.m.: Tiber by Jeremy Arata, Directed by Associate Professor of Theatre Sara Romersberger

At a minor way-station in space, seven strangers find themselves gathered on the 25th anniversary of the Ceasefire. Old wounds and new griefs arise as former enemies and feuding family members confront one another. When the life and communication systems fail, everyone’s lives are threatened. The group will have to pull together – but can they forgive to survive?

Tickets are free for each showing. For more information, call 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

March 30, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Escher String Quartet showcases work of student Michael van der Sloot

Escher

Members of the Escher String Quarter, left to right: Aaron Boyd, violin; Pierre Lapointe, viola; Adam Barnett-Hart, violin; and Brook Speltz, cello.

The internationally acclaimed Escher String Quartet is set to perform two free concerts, open to the public, at SMU. This will be the second program of their 2015-2016 Meadows residency. This group has previously performed at New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall and Berlin’s Piano Salon Christophori. Now, they’ll perform at  Caruth Auditorium on March 17 and at O’Donnell Hall on March 18, both at 7:30 p.m.

The concert on March 17 will showcase three pieces, most notably the world premiere of Night Music, composed by Meadows Master of Music degree candidate Michael van der Sloot. Van der Sloot, who studies composition and is also a talented cellist, he has written works for the Calgary Youth Orchestra and Grammy-winning violinist and SMU Meadows Artist-in-Residence Matt Albert, among others.

Michael

Michael van der Sloot (M.M. Composition ’17)

Van der Sloot describes the piece as “pretty creepy and restless.”

“It’s like when you’re lying completely still in bed, wide awake because you know there is a monster in the closet. There’s a little bit of anxiety and anticipation,” he says.

His piece was chosen among submissions from multiple other music composition students. “The atmosphere and the title of the work were a compelling fit for our program, which deals with death, either through direct personal experience as in Benjamin Britten’s Quartet No. 3, or indirectly as in Franz Shubert’s Death and the Maiden,” says Aaron Boyd, one of two violinists in the Escher String Quartet. “We were struck by the quality of all of the composers’ submissions, but van der Sloot’s work was an impressive combination of  aleatoric freedom with real textural and timbral beauty.”

The quartet will also hold workshops and classes as part of their residency. One workshop will be a particularly immersive experience for the students and will culminate in the formation of the March 18 concert. This side-by-side concert with the quartet and music students of the Meadows school will include works by Brahms, Dvorak, Shostakovich, and Haydn.

March 16, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

SMU Russian Club celebrates 20th anniversary of Russian Winter Festival Feb. 29-March 13, 2016

russian-festival-20th-anniversary-400The SMU Russian Club and Russian Studies Program present two weeks of lectures, film screenings, art exhibits, concerts and music master classes during its 20th annual Russian Winter cultural festival Feb. 29-March 13, 2016.

The festival, which will conclude with the traditional celebration of Maslenitsa, also includes a talent show featuring SMU students.

The festival kicks off with the lecture “100 Years of Russian Art, 1917 to Now” by Vladimir Zimakov, director of the Wedeman Gallery and an associate professor of art and design at Lasell College in Boston. As an artist, designer, and illustrator, Zimakov has worked with leading publishing houses such as Penguin, Random House, Farber and Farber, and the Folio Society. He has illustrated books and book covers for the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexandre Dumas, Gustav Meyrink, Nikolai Gogol, Herman Melville and A.T.A. Hoffman, among others. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in America, Europe, and Russia.

The event begins with refreshments starting at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 29 in the Huitt-Zollars Conference Room, J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building. The presentation and Q&A begin at 12 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 2, the award-winning journalist and photographer Sergei Loiko, who has written about events in Russia and the former Soviet states for The Los Angeles Times since 1991, will speak on “Putin’s War in Ukraine.” Loiko has covered wars in countries including Afghanistan and Iraq and will talk about why the war in Ukraine is different from others.

Loiko will also present his new documentary novel, Airport, which is about the defense of Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine. The book has already been translated into several languages and has become a bestseller on Amazon. Book signing will begin at 11:30 am with presentation and Q&A beginning at 12 p.m. in the Huitt-Zollars Conference Room, J. Lindsay Embrey Engineering Building. This event is co-sponsored by the Embrey Human Rights Program.

Diana Cates, a student of intermediate Russian and political science emphasizes the importance of the Festival for the SMU and Dallas community. “Russia is the world’s largest country and still remains one of the most misunderstood. The festival offers a unique and challenging opportunity to enrich a better understanding of Russian culture, art, history, current politics and Russian-American relations through lectures, discussions, art exhibits, and concerts.”

Students of SMU Russian Studies are helping the Dallas-based Russian American Center, the Russian School of Dallas, Art with Perspective, and Dallas and Saratov Sister City, Inc. to organize several community cultural events which are part of the Russian Festival.  Students work as coordinators, advisers, volunteers, and interpreters at the International Children’s Festival “Planet of Talents” and at art exhibitions and concerts in the J. Erik Jonsson Central Library. They will also participate in the International Women’s Day party, which is very popular in Russia, and is organized by SMU graduate Kostya Chernikov.

At the culmination of the Russian Festival, students participate in the traditional Russian celebration of long winter’s end and the greeting of spring called Maslenitsa. SMU students will serve as volunteers at this event, doing fun activities such as cooking pancakes, dancing, organizing children’s games, helping with the arts and crafts exhibit, and conducting costume and drawing contests.

“Participation in our festival and meeting with native speakers also helps students who are studying Russian to improve their language skills,” says Dasha Flowers, vice president of the SMU Russian Club and a student of advanced Russian. “This festival has rich traditions at SMU. The first festival was presented in 1967 and since 1997 it has become an annual tradition. Each year the Mayor of the City of Dallas signs a proclamation recognizing this festival as an important city cultural event.”

For more information, contact Russian Club president and graduate engineering student Vanessa Qixuan.

sergei-loiko

February 29, 2016|Calendar Highlights, News|

Meadows Theatre showcases Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyards Feb. 24-28, 2016

This article was originally published Feb. 17, 2016.

St Joan 6

Photo by Kim Leeson

For its first play of 2016, Meadows Theatre will perform Bertolt Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyards. The play will run from Feb. 24-28 in the Margo Jones Theatre, Owen Arts Center. Tickets are $7 for SMU staff, faculty and students.

> Buy tickets online for the Meadows Theatre production of St. Joan of the Stockyards

The play features an innocent heroine, Joan Dark, who battles Pierpont Mauler, the owner of a meat-packing plant. This engaging and slightly dark drama is laced with humor as the story grapples with the theme of freedom from material exploitation. Throughout the play, individuals seek justice in a society driven by profits.

St Joan 10

Photo by Kim Leeson

This reworking of the martyrdom of Joan of Arc has been described by The New York Times as “…a good workout for the sense and soul.”

Meadows School of the Arts Assistant Professor Blake Hackler is directing. In Dallas, he is a company member at the Undermain Theatre and has also appeared with the Trinity Shakespeare Festival and Dallas Theatre Center. Currently, he is the acting coach for Lisa Lampanelli, who is working on a one-woman show.

For more information, call 214-768-2787.

February 24, 2016|Calendar Highlights, For the Record, News|

Tune In: SMU students take on CNN

SMU students at CNNRita Kirk, SMU communications professor and director of the Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility, recently took three students to New Hampshire to visit presidential headquarters and organize focus groups for CNN during the Iowa Caucus. As a CNN analyst herself, Kirk has the opportunity to bring students as part of her research staff and throw them into a high-paced, challenging, exciting and demanding atmosphere.

Students put together a focus group of 60 independent voters, gathered poll data, and analyzed the data in real-time. They had to be in control of every piece of data that came across them. They visited different campaign field offices and ended the trip by helping Dr. Kirk run her focus group on live international television.

Learn more and read the perspective of a student on this trip at the SMU Adventures blog

February 18, 2016|Faculty in the News, For the Record, Tune In|
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