For Students, By Students
Passion and perseverance transforms an interesting idea into a work of art. For the many UC Irvine students itching to hear the roaring applause of an appreciative audience, World Premiere Weekend (WPW), which runs from Jan. 13 to 15, is a chance for these visionary Anteaters to present their creations.
Actors, composers, dancers, musicians, performance artists, playwrights, singers and improv comedy groups are uniting to per-form original material across cam-pus over the course of three days.
Original student work will be found throughout campus, not only across the bridge in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. All performances are all free to see.
Early fall quarter, many aspir-ing playwrights submitted their best work with the hope that theirs would be among the lucky few to be given a full-scale production in World Premiere Weekend. The shows are directed by the MFA directing graduate students, and drama majors Vincent Tangherlini and Jessica Irvine, who both had the privilege of seeing one of their plays selected.
“[WPW is] deeply theatrical but also deeply personal,” Irvine said. “You can watch a script go from being something conceived alone at a computer into a breathing thing on a stage, with live human beings taking on its words. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Irvine’s “Celestial Ashes” ex-amines religion in a respectful yet comedic way. Primarily focusing on how a religion begins, the play is Irvine’s “own supposition and not meant to target any faith in par-ticular, but it’s something [she has] always thought about.” A very unique piece, “Celestial Ashes” is written “in the absurdist vein” and utilizes movement pieces and poetic language to study the creation of creationism.
“How does a faith start, and how is it supported over time?” said Irvine. “How does it come into conflict with other faiths, and how is that conflict justified and resolved?”
Tangherlini’s “Bumps on a Log” — a relatively short play — depicts five elderly people sitting as “bumps on a log” and reminiscing about their past. They swap stories without “hearing a word the others are saying.”
The five characters, consisting of an old married couple, a couple experiencing young love later in life and their peculiar friend, illustrate the importance of companionship.
“You don’t need to go any-where or do anything to be togeth-er,” Tangherlini said. “You just need the people. [There are] no rules or knots to tie them down. Complete organized anarchy one could argue. It’s a chance to shine — and what better way than anarchy and chaos? I’m all for it.”
However, the majority of the new works performed during WPW aren’t student-written plays. WPW is broader. UCI’s Improv Revolution, which is starting a series of free non-audition improv work-shops called “Workshop Revolution” at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 and holding auditions for their winter quarter team directly after, is also performing in WPW. Their show will be Friday at 9 p.m. in the Nixon.
Creative brains in Irvine have been begging for a new works festival for a very long time.
“The only way we can ensure new work will always be entering our world is if we make it,” said drama major Sabrina Schloss. “So what better way to do this than have a whole weekend dedicated to this purpose? You’re seeing something that hasn’t been seen by anyone else in the entire world, and that’s pretty spectacular. Plus, it’s free theater. It doesn’t get much better than that.”