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UC Davis Collaborative Performance Reimagined

UC Davis Collaborative Performance Reimagined

In fall 2020, theatre programs at UC Davis and Northwestern University joined forces to devise and generate a new form of virtual performance. Led by UC Davis professor Margaret Laurena Kemp and Northwestern professor Roger Ellis and featuring a cast from both universities, the show explored the characters and themes of Jacqueline Goldfinger’s play CLICK and the resulting performance evolved into [re: CLICK]. Now, after six months of development with American Music Theatre Project (AMTP), Northwestern’s incubator of new work, [re: CLICK] returns on a new reimagined platform. The performance will be available for the month of June and accessible through AMTP’s website.

[re: CLICK] is an app-based performance for the #MeToo era. Goldfinger’s story of trauma, transformation, and reclaiming who you are, has been adapted to the internet and is presented through an immersive website. What is the line between flesh-based and digital experience? Choosing from four avatars, cyber audiences will choose the version of the performance they want to ‘play’. Each audience member chooses the skin they want to play in, but don’t worry – you can choose another skin if you get tired of yours.

“Our creative inquiry was led by curiosity about ‘what is my body in the internet?’ We kept questioning the impact of the anonymous, weaponized, and often false voice of the digital chorus,” said Kemp. “Our cast(s) of digital natives is the first generation for whom the digital experience is more real than the ‘flesh-based experience.’ Our decision to present this material within the digital space invites the audience to experience this dichotomy.”

Ellis commented on this new era of performance and presentation.  

“Welcome to The Platform – part time capsule, part art installation, part speculative fiction, [re: CLICK] is an experiment in form and collaboration. During this era of raised global consciousness, we complicate the temporal and spatial stability of traditional theatre practice. Our process transposes embodied explorations of Goldfinger’s text into an app-based immersive experience. Thespis steps back into the chorus as each contributing artist amplifies each other’s voices through their contributions to the work. The experience is one of dialogue across difference.” 

The website experience is designed by Northwestern MFA graduate Jackie Fox, and the performance features students from UC Davis and Northwestern University and sound scores by four unique composers – Richard Chowenhill (B.A., music, ’10), Kory Reeder, Bahar Royee, and Ramteen Sazegari (B.A., music and English literature, ’07).

Please note that the performance contains strong language and emotionally charged material around the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence and suicidal ideation. The experience is free and open to all, though donations to WOAR – Philadelphia Center Against Sexual Violence are highly encouraged. WOAR, an organization dedicated to rape prevention and post-trauma counseling, were very generous in providing research materials for Goldfinger when she began writing this show.

[re: CLICK] was originally presented by the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and AMTP at Northwestern University in December 2020. Goldfinger was the fall 2020 Granada Artist-in-Residence at the time of the production.

The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance is part of the College of Letters and Science.

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