Ground and Field Theatre Festival 2018
Wyatt Pavilion Theatre
The Ground & Field Theatre Festival (GFTF) at UC Davis returns to introduce new works for the stage. Co-produced by the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and the Theatre and Dance Ensemble, the festival’s public performances take place Oct. 4-6 in the historic Wyatt Pavilion Theatre.
Mark Rigney’s “Summertime” opens the series on Oct. 4. Directed by GFTF co-founder Tom Burmester, this contemporary drama tracks a nominally successful upper middle class clan dealing with an impending political crisis in which the United States Congress, in its infinite wisdom, has outlawed both medicine and medical practitioners in an attempt to deal with a burgeoning population crisis. Performed in the historic Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, the play is performed again on Oct. 6 and both performance begin at 7 p.m.
“Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King,” a dark comedy by Sam Collier, centers on young sisters Josephine and Henrietta who create a new sister for their family. Their creation is monstrous, violent and embodies everything they’ve dreamed of: the rage of children, the fury of girls. Directed by alumna and GFTF co-founder Lisa Quoresimo, the play is performed Oct. 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. in the Della Davidson Performance Studio in Nelson Hall, next to the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre.
On Oct. 6 at 2 p.m., GFTF Field Day begins with a program of devised works in the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre. Devised Theater, also called Creative Collection, is a theater-making technique in which the script originates from an improvisational rehearsal process. At 3:30 p.m., Burmester gives a presentation of sustainability for today’s environment, cultivated from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. An open reception with the artists and performers on the Della Davidson Deck begins at 5 p.m.
GFTF’s dedication to sustainability is the springboard for these pieces- the actors bring creative ingenuity to the marriage of sustainable work and theater. Through their collaborations, we will bring to the stage many different voices and views on climate crisis and sustainable practices in theater.
During a month-long intensive, GFTF develops new plays and musicals under the guidance of the festival’s co-artistic directors Broadway veteran Mindy Cooper and award-winning director/producers Burmester, Quoresimo and Danika Sudik. Collaborating with ensemble members, comprised of UC Davis students and guest artists, they nurture a playwright’s vision to create vibrant storytelling for our time. The intensive includes workshops and invited readings that culminate with the public festival performances.
GFTF’s charter year saw readings of over a dozen new plays from playwrights and composers from across the country. Its weekend of public performances, with many of the writers in attendance, featured two separate programs each presenting two new works. The performances drew enthusiastic capacity audiences.
GFTF premieres on the campus of one of the finest agricultural research institutions in the world, and in a community committed to a thriving arts community committed to social, economic and environmental sustainability. With roots firmly planted in this community, GFTF welcomes diverse and exciting new voices from across the nation while giving particular consideration to those projects exploring sustainability and agriculture, either through narrative, practice or production.
“GFTF is very excited with this year’s’ crop of new works,” said Cooper. “We have chosen eight new pieces submitted by authors from all over the country, with an interesting through-line of what we are calling History and Future History. Unique voices exploring unique and vibrant ideas.”
“Professional playwrights come to Davis from around the country to fine tune their work in our community,” Said Sudnik. “We’re creating space for them to practice within their field supported by an ensemble of dedicated student actors, a small cadre of professional actors, experienced directors, and a community of engaged audience members. We have an eye towards sustainability in all of our practices which includes laying the groundwork for the sustainable creative life of our artists and for ensuring that theatre continues to address our highest aspirations of our society.”
“This festival is an intensive training opportunity for the UC Davis students,” said Quoresimo. “The daily ensemble work they do with Tom Burmester gives the entire company a solid grounding in technique and a way of working easily together that is crucial when they are sometimes working on several different scripts in a week. Last year, we watched performers learn how to make bold choices and make them quickly; we then saw those skills and confidence carry over into the work they did the rest of the year.”
Performances are free but reservations are recommended. For more information and reservations, visit the festival’s website www.groundandfield.com.
The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and the Theatre and Dance Ensemble are members of Arts Alliance Davis. Support for this program has been provided by City of Davis Arts, Culture, & Innovation Funding.
The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance is housed in the College of Letters and Science. For more information about additional performances, visit www.theatredance.ucdavis.edu.