|Playwright's Residency Will Culminate in Plays About Issues of Alternative Sexual Identity
October 29, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
Playwright Tim Miller will present a performance and lecture at Davidson College of “Us,” a whirlwind, touching comedy that combines his passion for Broadway musicals with an exploration of home, exile, and the injustices lesbians and gays face.
|Tim Miller from his play, "Glory Box"|
The event begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, November 2, in the Alvarez College Union Smith 900 Room. Miller will lead a discussion following the performance about the play and the issues it raises. Miller is conducting a five-day residency at the college, and there will also be a performance the next evening, Saturday, Nov. 3, beginning at 8 p.m. in the Alvarez College Union Smith 900 Room, of a workshop play that Miller and students have developed. There is no admission charge to attend, and tickets are not necessary.
There is also no admission charge to attend “Us,” but tickets are required. They may be reserved by calling the ticket office at 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, or picked up on site beginning an hour prior to the show. The play contains some nudity, and is intended for mature viewers only.
Miller has written more than a dozen plays in his twenty-five years as a performer and writer, all of which explore the artistic, spiritual, and political dimensions of his identity as a gay man. “Us,” written in 2003, focuses on the decision he must make when his Australian-born partner's visa expires. Miller explained, "Here in America, gay couples have not one single federal right respecting our relationships. We have to leave since Alistair is from Australia and we can't get married to get Alistair a green card."
Since 1990 Miller has taught performance in the UCLA theatre department, and he is cofounder of the influential Performance Space 122 in Manhattan and Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica, Calif. He was also one of the “NEA Four,” a quartet of artists who gained notoriety in the 1990s when they sued the National Endowment for the Arts for declaring their work indecent and withdrawing funding.
His performances, including “Us,” often resound with the music of Broadway. He explained, “From these shows I learned everything I needed to know about love, politics, and America. Forget Marx and Engels, I had Rodgers and Hammerstein!”
In addition to his performances, Miller conducts workshops and residencies around the world, teaching how theatrical performance can be used to raise awareness of discrimination against queer people, a term that encompasses gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals.
During his five-day residency at Davidson, Miller will work three hours nightly with eighteen students to create a workshop show concerning queer identity at the college. That performance will be Saturday evening, November 3 (see above).
Most of the students involved are enrolled in two Davidson courses this semester, “Community-Based Theatre for Social Change” and “Queer Performance And/As Activism.” Ann Fox, associate professor of English, is team-teaching the “Queer Performance” course with Sharon Green, associate professor of theatre, and Green is teaching the “Community-Based Theatre” course.
Fox and Green’s course considers the many ways in the past forty years that queer people have invigorated theatre aesthetics and used many forms of theatre to advocate for equal rights. Green’s course more broadly examines the ways in which many categories of oppressed people use theatrical performance to seek equal rights and raise awareness of injustice.
Junior Corey Hutchins, a student in Fox and Green’s class, explained, “‘Queer activism’ is a term of empowerment that includes more than just people in the gay community. It’s used to bring issues to the forefront, gain awareness and support for social equality and public health initiatives.”
He continued, “Davidson is a diverse community, and it’s important to be aware of issues that tend to remain hidden. Some people won’t discuss queer concerns, but they’re real, and will become more important as time goes by because they affect not only members of that community, but everyone.”
For more information on the performances, call 704-894-2012. The event is sponsored by the Public Lectures Committee, the Departments of Theatre and English, the Charles Nelson Williamson Trust, and the offices of the Dean of Students and Dean of Faculty, Friends of the Arts, and the Gender Studies Concentration.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,700 students. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.
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Posted By: Bill Giduz