Press release

Exciting Edge Performance Festival Kicks Off at UC Davis

The UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance presents The Edge Performance Festival, an exciting new dance and theatrical event. Combining what were formerly separate productions including Main Stage Dance/Theatre Festival and Solo Explorations along with new events such as the Festival Cabaret and The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along, this begins an invigorating new campus tradition.The Edge Performance Festival will take place over two weeks with some of the five events occurring on the same evening, all at Wright Hall, UC Davis beginning Friday, April 15, and continuing through Saturday, April 23.


Main Stage Dance features five new choreographies by a first-year graduate student and eligible undergraduate students who have completed the required composition courses: 

Habitat by Master’s of Fine Arts candidate Kevin O’Connor explores the various definitions of the work’s title. “It was inspired by watching videos of gibbons in their arboreal home swinging gracefully and efficiently in the forest canopy,” says O’Connor. “Their natural locomotion evolved in relation to their environment.” Utilizing 30 foot suspended ropes, this piece investigates how we interact with differently built environments on a physical level. Through a fusion of the subtle and spectacular, Habitat along with all of O’Connor’s current work investigates images and ideas related to the politics of the environment.

Exploring the relationship between gender and movement, Epicene by Kevin Moriartyuses lines, symmetry/asymmetry and silhouettes to convey observations that are both public and personal. Moriarty’s goal was to create movement without adhering to a narrative, focusing less on technique and more on expression. By looking at “typical” 1950’s gender roles, the piece seeks to reveal that gender has essentially ornamental aspects to it, that it can be removed or replaced like clothing or jewelry.

Kristi Kilpatrick’s Evolution is about the arc of personal growth and development that is unique to each individual and yet experienced by all of us. It touches on how we are assimilated into our culture and still remain distinct individuals within that culture. It focuses on levels—evolution and progression, beginning with dancers lying on the stage and slowly rising up as the performance gains momentum. 

A Murder at the Tyburn Tree by Sandra A. Lopez characterizes the struggle of everyday life. The piece focuses heavily on color in terms of lighting design trying to evince the look of several seasons or times of day. “The stage will transform from a white winter ambience into red amber sunset into night,” notes choreographer Lopez. These different moods and transitions all help further the goal of the choreography which is to communicate that life presents a dilemma that cannot be solved easily.

In Flash: Dinamicas de Familia by Daniela Leal the basic concept is photography and the idea of the family portrait. The performance will employ “framing” and camera sound effects to create the atmosphere of portraiture and the family and relationships captured within it.  


Three new plays written by current UC Davis students will be staged:

Brother(s) at War written by Michael Lutheran, directed by Sarah Birdsall. Playwright Michael Lutheran explains that Brother(s) At War focuses on the several conflicts a person is constantly waging, both with exterior forces and within oneself. The play begins with the main character, Sean, returning to his barracks after witnessing terrible atrocities in combat and continues following the dramatic tension of Sean’s coping process.

How to Grieve by Ashley Chandler, directed by Sabba Rahbar. Director Sabba Rahbar says that Chandler’s new work “is about dealing with grief in our own way and recognizing that no two people’s grief is the same.” Despite the emotionality of the play, Rahbar also explains that it feels more like a dark comedy than a starkly dramatic piece. The piece traverses emotional ground in visually interesting ways. Amanda, the main character, wears a bright green dress to celebrate her mother’s life, rather than black to mourn her mother’s death.  

The Ballad of a Tangerine by Karen Baldomero, directed by Jennifer Adler. Playwright Karen Baldomero describes The Ballad of a Tangerine as the “culmination of my four years as an Asian American studies major and my love for the Muppets.” This play focuses on Bradley Tangerine, a puppet trying to break into show business. Conflict arises when he is not taken seriously. The play explores themes of race and generational conflict through the lens of a puppet which creates levity. Ultimately, The Ballad of a Tangerine is an ode to following one’s dreams.


Four new solo performances by graduating Master’s of Fine Arts candidates in acting:

Baking & Bowling is the first solo work ever devised by Michael Davison. He explains that it was daunting to work “solo” because most of his work as an actor is about collaboration and creating and relating to other characters. In the piece Davison explores storytelling through character and gender. Key elements include imagery and the juxtapositions of good/evil and feminine/masculine working to create tension and psychological drama.

The plot of Ratchet by Barry Hubbard revolves around a day in the life of an unlucky salesman. The salesman finds himself in situations that are a showcase for the physical, psychological manifestations of tension and ease and how these qualities can be expressed in performance. The piece projects absurdist and dreamlike qualities. Hubbard explains, “The inspiration for the piece derived from the Slow Movement and its philosophy of reducing the hectic and destructive pace of modern life.  In addition to exploring how tension and ease manifest in performance, Ratchet portrays the high cost of living in a consumer culture. One image that stands out for me is when the salesman is perched on top of his desk frantically trying to save a sale from falling though.  It’s his desperation that mirrors the relentless effort in this country to market and sell products to all of us, often without regard to other costs.”

Fragments of Artaud’s Desk by Brian Livingston, text by Antonin Artaud. This piece is an investigation of the writings, theories, plays, biography, and contemporary relevance of Antonin Artaud, a French madman/visionary. The performance explores a multitude of themes including: threads of death, the audience/actor/theater/societal role, out-of-body experiences, Artaud’s creation of the theater of cruelty, Dadaism, revolution, the metaphysical connection of soul, spirit, heritage, being, mystery, magic, the body,  the body as landscape for the impossible leaps of thought and perception for both actor and audience alike.

Something Like Enlightenment by Avila Reese is loosely based on the relationship of 12th century nun and scholar Heloise de’ Argenteuil with philosopher and monk Peter Abelard. The text is an assembly of their love letters and Reese’s writing. Something Like Enlightenment creates a space in which the actress experiences a whirlwind of emotional intensities. The actress and her character are continuously in flux so that the audience might view the work from various perspectives with dualistic vantages and alternative narratives. Reese comments, I am thrilled to get the chance to mount a production in which I have (through blood, sweat, tears and twisted ankles) shaped every facet, from choreography, to design, to video and writing.”


The Festival Cabaret showcases undergraduate and graduate student talent in unique and exciting acts of the performers’ own devising. It will include music, poetry and much more.


The most famous of all midnight movies “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) comes to UC Davis! The film, starring Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon, is an overtly sexual, highly provocative and comedic portrayal of gay and transgender culture, and sexual quirks. The film is a stylized macabre musical as dark as it is daring. The film has garnered a tradition of audience participation and interaction and that is precisely what audiences are encouraged to do at these exhibitions of the film—interact and sing (and dance!) along. So, “Let’s Do The Time Warp Again!”

(Rocky Horror costumes can be rented in advance or in the lobby before the show — contact The Enchanted Cellar at 530.752.0740.)

The inauguration of the Edge Performance Festival offers myriad opportunities to explore and experience the diversity of performance that takes place at UC Davis, whether through the solo explorations of graduating Master’s of Fine Arts acting candidates, the collaborative efforts of undergraduate writers and directors, or the choreography and movement of graduate and undergraduate dancers. The Edge Performance Festival offers a diversified menu of dramatic, theatrical, and artistic events, culminating in the cult phenomenon The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along, blurring the lines between film and theatre, audience and performer.

Events are rated PG-13 with the exception of The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along which is rated R.

All programs and venues are subject to change.

What: The Edge Performance Festival includes original choreographies in Main Stage Dance, new Undergraduate One Act Plays, Solo Explorations by MFA acting candidates, the Festival Cabaret of music, poetry and more, and a late night Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along.

Where: Main Theatre, Arena Theatre and Lab A, Wright Hall, UC Davis

When: Friday – Sunday, April 15 – 17; Thursday – Saturday, April 21 – 23

Tickets: $10 per event, in advance or at the door.

$30 Festival Pass allows ONE ENTRY to all events, in advance or at the door. (The pass excludes admission to The Rocky Horror Picture Show Sing-Along. All Sing-Along tickets are priced at $10.)

View all UCD Arts departments and programs

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

Cinema and Digital Media

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

and Dance

Melody Chiang

Performance Studies

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

UC Davis Arts