Volume 18, 30 | June 9, 2020
Spring Week 11 NEWSLETTER
Week 10 - June 8-14, 2020
Department News
Congratulations to the Student and Faculty Artists who contributed to our Spring 2020 Virtual Studio!
Please join us in congratulating all of the student and faculty artists who contributed to the great success of the many productions that performed last week in our Spring 2020 Virtual Studio !

This past week saw our online productions of Mr. Burns: a post-electric play and New Directions -- as well as our virtual LAB productions of Drive-in , Piece of the Pandemic , and a live reading of W.E.B Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk by the UCSD Chicanx Teatro Ensemble.

Pictured above is a video still from undergraduate Patrick Li 's digital dance performance, "Closure," from New Directions, a program of experimental dance and digital performance directed by Dance faculty member Patricia Rincon . The production was recently the subject of a feature story by Julia Dixon Evans for KPBS , in which she writes, "the package of films is a time capsule not just of student creativity, but of the places and ways these students existed during a global crisis."

This week brings a number of new and innovative online performances from our department. See below, in this newsletter, for more information about our upcoming virtual LAB productions. Meanwhile, New Directions as well as many of our other past productions are now available to watch at our Spring 2020 Virtual Studio. Click the button below to visit and explore!
UC San Diego Theatre & Dance MFA Acting Program Ranked in Top 5 Best Drama Programs by The Hollywood Reporter
UC San Diego Theatre & Dance's MFA Acting program is once again ranked among the top 5 of "The Best 25 College Drama Programs Around the World" by The Hollywood Reporter ! Our program comes in at an impressive #4 in the prestigious annual list of the world's top acting schools.

As The Hollywood Reporter writes: "Not many acting schools can boast a department chair who's also a working TV actor — but UCSD's Richard Robichaux now co-stars on David E. Kelley's Big Shot for Disney+. UCSD accepts just eight students a year, but they receive free tuition and a chance to work at the La Jolla Playhouse."

Congrats to our terrific faculty, staff, and students for once again placing us among the nation's top programs!

Click here to read the entire Hollywood Reporter list.
Upcoming Productions & Events
This Week's Featured Virtual LAB Productions*:

*All LAB dates and information subject to change. Stay updated on all performance information by visiting our online Spring 2020 Virtual Studio .
The Gathering

The Gathering is an ultra secret society whose purpose has been shrouded in mystery for millennia. All that is known is that somehow they are awakened to action when humanity is most in need of saving. Only a select few will be chosen for fellowship. Will you be brave enough to accept and rescue humanity before it's too late? 

June 10 & 11 @ 7:30pm PST
Richard II Solo Project

A short video bringing together a number of speeches and the deposition scene from Shakespeare's Richard II. Exploring how to carry this story with just one actor, focusing on Richard as a character, and the journey of these specific speeches within the play. 

June 11 @ 7:30pm PST 
The Museum of You: An Audio Guide

Plug in your headphones, press play, and walk us through your space as we walk you through the museum. Take part in a few Institute-Approved Exercises, rediscover the life inside the objects around you, and empower yourself to see your space with fresh eyes. We hope you enjoy your visit. 

June 12 @ 6pm PST
Do the Stars Gaze Back

On an outpost deep in outer space, a mysterious emergency forces everyone to flee in their individual escape pods. Drifting alone in space, gazing at the stars, yearning for human connection. Is there anybody out there? Do the stars gaze back? 

June 13 @ 7pm PST 
Virtual Meeting: Finger Me Through the Screen

The central theme of this variety piece revolves around taboo and catharsis and examines the societal significance of taboo and peoples’ fascination with it. Taboo attracts an intrinsic curiosity; if you forbid someone from doing something, they wonder what would happen if they did. The mysterious and deviant nature of taboo entices people and the goal of this piece is to capture its essence. The piece utilizes and embraces a 2D medium while incorporating video art to supplement movement elements. 

June 13 @ 8pm PST 
Tangible Scores 

Connecting with what we can touch. An interactive experience where we explore the "art of touch" following the traces of Marinetti, the founder of the Futurist Movement, and other sources.

       June 13 @ 12:30pm & 1:45pm PST
(14 participants maximum)
Current Student Successes
PhD Student Jim Short is Finalist in UC San Diego's Grad SLAM Competition
Grad SLAM is an annual competitive public speaking event that gives UC San Diego graduate students the chance to showcase the impact of their research. Graduate students are asked to present their work and share how their research is cutting-edge, breaking barriers, and has the potential to change the world.

PhD student Jim Short was selected as a 2020 Grad SLAM finalist and was invited to present his work at the recent Graduate Student Virtual Research Showcase. In his Grad Research Showcase presentation, Jim reveals how risk can be an integral part of performance, presentation, and audience perception.

Click here to watch Jim Short's illuminating Grad SLAM presentation!
PhD Student Sam Mitchell Awarded 2020 President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship
Please join us in congratulating PhD student Sam Mitchell , who was awarded the prestigious 2020-2021 President’s Dissertation Year Fellowship from the UC San Diego Graduate Division!

On behalf of the Performance Studies faculty, Professor Julie Burelle writes: "We are thrilled and extremely proud of you! Your work and teaching, which are committed to decolonization and social justice, are deeply important. Your research on and with Indigenous dance-makers is already changing the field and it continually demonstrates the importance and impact of doing scholarly research that is in conversation with and deeply responsive to communities whose stories have long been marginalized and silenced or appropriated by academics without accountability... You remind us that Indigenous people have always affirmed their sovereignty through their art. Dance, you write, is inherently political. It is a way to embody vital stories and, in doing so, to hold space for the ancestors' voices. There is healing in that embodied space, and what is needed for a radically different future. Thank you for your work and congratulations on this well-deserved fellowship."
Faculty Corner
Congratulations and Happy Retirement to Faculty Members Kim Rubinstein, Janet Smarr and Patricia Rincon!
The end of our Spring 2020 quarter brings the retirement of three of our beloved faculty members -- Kim Rubinstein (Acting), Janet Smarr (Performance Studies) and Patricia Rincon (Dance)! Please join us in congratulating them and wishing them a happy retirement! Please also join us in thanking them for sharing their knowledge and wisdom with our students and for helping to create the next generation of world-changing theatremakers!

We also wish sustained artistic and teaching success to Acting faculty member Natalie Griffith Robichaux upon her transition from campus this July and heartfelt thanks to her wonderful contributions to the department during her prominent years on our faculty.

Click here to learn more about these four wonderful faculty members who have contributed so much to our department over the years. We wish them the very best in their future endeavors!
Professor Robert Brill and the Legacy of Anna Deveare Smith's Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
When Anna Deavere Smith’s drama Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 first opened on June 13, 1993 in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum, it made national news for its profound and unflinching look at the fallout from the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The set for that production was designed by our very own Professor Robert Brill , Head of Graduate Design.

As Brill remembers: "I was 5 years out of undergrad here at UC San Diego when I worked with Anna Deavere Smith on the stage version of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. In fact, we delayed opening by 2 weeks as she gathered more material during the Federal Trial that was in session directly across the street in downtown LA. It was an opportunity to engage in work that was immediate, an opportunity to respond in real time to events that were happening in our community, and it informed the way that I consider how we work as visual storytellers."

Now, on the 28th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots, PBS' "Great Performances" presents a special encore of Marc Levin’s film adaptation of the play (pictured above). Smith provides a new introduction to her landmark piece as its themes continue to reverberate powerfully within the context of today’s current events.

Click here to read an article from KPBS about Twilight: Los Angeles and how to access the film, which is now streaming for a limited time on demand on the PBS Video App.
Alumni News
Alumnus Michael Anthony Torres Featured in PlayGround's Disbelief
In Disbelief , part of PlayGround ’s Zoom Fest, playwright Garret Jon Groenveld makes the Greek myth of Cassandra come to life through the medium of digital performance. The play, which had a two-day run that opened Saturday, May 30th, followed by on-demand streaming, is just one of more than 50 discrete components in PlayGround ’s five-week online festival.

MFA acting alumnus Michael Anthony Torres (pictured above in rehearsal with the cast) played Apollo in the production which has been dubbed by the playwright as a "#MeToo-era retelling of the myth." According to the San Fransisco Chronicle 's Lily Janiak, "Torres’ Apollo is all-consuming, greedy of praise, acknowledgement and possession. But he is not the sort of out-and-out villain that makes a play one-sided or black-and-white. There’s something off and mysterious in Torres’ portrayal, as if his Apollo doesn’t know himself, as if his obsession with this mortal unsettles him on his pedestal, in his chariot driving across the sky."

Click here to read SF Chronicle Datebook 's full review of the production.
Alumni Liz Elkins Newcomer and Abdul-Khalik Murtadha Featured in Crescent City Stage's A Doll's House
MFA Acting alumni Liz Elkins Newcomer and Abdul-Khalik Murtadha (pictured above with the full cast) are set to star as Nora and Dr. Rank in Crescent City Stage's virtual reading of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House on Monday, June 15th at 7:30pm CST.

A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen is described as part feminist play and part romantic thriller. Nora is living a dream. Torvald is a devoted husband. The children are thriving. But underneath this façade lies a secret that would destroy it all. When the floodgates open and truth pours out, can the marriage survive?

Click here to visit the Crescent City Stage website, where you can RSVP for this free virtual reading.
Artist Resources
Need Help? Visit the COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource Page
The COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource webpage is an aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all disciplines. It is specifically designed to serve freelance artists, and those interested in supporting the independent artist community. This includes, but is not limited to actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, photographers, etc.

Click here to visit the webpage and to learn more.
Have news to share?
Send it to us at tanddnews@ucsd.edu and we'll pass it along for you. Photos are encouraged.
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Sincerely, UC San Diego Theatre & Dance