Fall Quarter Production
“[re: CLICK],” an innovative contemporary drama spotlighting five students who struggle with their identity in the digital age, marks a new collaboration between the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance and the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University.
The free performances Dec. 9, 10 and 12 at 7 p.m. (PST)/9 p.m. (CST) can be accessed at re-click.ucdavis.edu.
The play by Jacqueline Goldfinger, fall quarter Granada Artist-in-Residence at UC Davis, is being co-directed by Margaret Laurena Kemp, associate professor of theatre and dance at UC Davis and Roger Ellis, assistant professor of theatre at Northwestern University. The play has been previously produced on stage, but this version has been conceived specifically for digital performance.
The play contains strong language and emotionally charged material around the topics of sexual assault, sexual violence, and suicidal ideation.
“[re: CLICK]” includes participation by students from both universities, rehearsing across four time zones and three countries, and performed through a special website created by Jackie Fox, a recent graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program in stage design at Northwestern. This site allows the viewer to follow the characters by selecting various portals on show’s homepage which alters the storytelling perspective for each patron.
“The goal of the website is to offers users an experience while allowing them to make choices for themselves and individualize their experience,” said Fox. “In live theatre, so much of the experience is controlled for the audience. Much of that still rings true in the virtual landscape except that we can’t control how audiences experience the work, what they choose to click on or how they decide to activate it,” she said.
Ellis and Kemp adapted Goldfinger’s original play, “CLICK,” for remote rehearsal and digital presentation.
“In this moment of raised global consciousness, ‘[re: CLICK]’ challenges the notion of ensemble as being tied to geographic location,” said Ellis. “Our rehearsal process centered on embodied explorations of Goldfinger’s text in the context of solo and group performance. Each ensemble member amplifies each other’s voices through their individual and communal contributions to the work. What happens when we de-center the singular perspective, challenge the false notion of ‘universality,’ and create space for a wider array of voices?”
During the rehearsal process, co-director Kemp discovered that using the students’ digital experiences may challenge audiences’ expectations.
“Our creative inquiry was led by curiosity about ‘what is my body on the internet’”, Kemp added. “We kept coming back to questioning the impact of the anonymous, weaponized and often false voice of the digital chorus. Our cast of digital natives are first generation for whom the digital experience is more real than the ‘flesh-based experience.’ Our decision to approach this material physically within the digital space is an invitation to the audience to not just think about but experience this dichotomy.”
Playwright Goldfinger has been impressed by the evolution of her work in its new format.
“I’m honored that Margaret and Roger chose to use ‘CLICK’ to create this beautiful and thought-provoking show,’ said Goldfinger. “I hope this piece encourages and supports students in their search for identity, and helps us determine how we can best support their journeys.”
Goldfinger teaches playwriting at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founded The Foundry at PlayPenn. She won the Yale-Horn Drama Prize for an Emerging Playwright and received the Smith Prize for Political Theatre by an Emerging Playwright, Barrymore Award for Outstanding New Play, the Brown Martin Award, and Philadelphia Theatre Critics’ Award for Best New Play.
Goldfinger credits Women Organized Against Rape for providing research materials early in the writing process.
Adriano Cabral, assistant professor of voice and movement at University of Nevada, Reno, is the production’s voice and intimacy coordinator. Owen Marshall, postdoctoral scholar and lecturer, science and technology studies at UC Davis, is the sound ecologist, and Gabrielle Strong, graduate student in stage design at Northwestern, is the lighting designer. The production features original music by UC Davis alumni Richard Chowenhill (B.A., music, ’10) and Ramteen Sazegari (B.A. music and English literature, ’07). “[re: CLICK]” is co-choreographed by Rebecca Blaich.
For information about future performances at the UC Davis College of Letters and Science’s Department of Theatre and Dance, visit theatredance.ucdavis.edu. For more information about future theatre performances at Northwestern University, visit wirtz.northwestern.edu.