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* College of Liberal Arts
* 2007 Prague Quadrennial

April 19, 2006

Purdue debuts new performance for the global stage

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
"Labcoats on Clouds"
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Purdue Theatre will preview a performance on May 11-12 that is being prepared for the 2007 Prague Quadrennial, the world's largest international stage design and architecture event.

"Labcoats on Clouds," which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on both days in the Dance Studio Theatre in Pao Hall. The project is a collaboration among the areas of dance, art and design, theater, and computer graphics technology. Purdue's performance will be premiered at the Prague Quadrennial, which is June 14-24.

"This is a theater piece conceived, born and performed by designers, rather than the more traditional theater which begins with the playwright and a dramatic text," said Richard Thomas, a professor of visual and performing arts who specializes in sound design. "We spent this year working intensely with a group of advanced students on a piece for a series of performances at the Prague Quadrennial called 'Design as Performance.'

"Purdue faculty and students in Purdue's academic arts have enjoyed a significant history of collaboration related to new art works of an experimental nature. These productions often revolve around integrating a core strength of Purdue - its engineering program - into the theatrical art form."

The piece, which was inspired by the quadrennial's theme of Babel, explores communication and the creation of civilizations. The 30-minute work features one male and one female who interact with other dancers and a third actor, the computer-generated images and sound, said Carol Cunningham, who co-directs the project with Thomas and is chair of the dance division.

"Labcoats on Clouds" rehearsal
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"This performance was created knowing that anything we use must fit in our suitcases," she said.

Six graduate students, an undergraduate student and a recent graduate have created the performance along with David Sigman, head of the Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts; Fabian Winkler, an assistant professor in art and design; and Laura Arns, assistant professor of computer graphics technology and associate director of the Envision Center.

The graduate students are Matt Brisbin, a computer graphics technology student from Wabash Ind.; Jason Ducat, a theater sound design student from Bowling Green, Ohio; Robert James, a sound design and technology student from Salt Lake City; Jason Knox, a theater sound design student from LaCrosse, Wis.; Ingrid Shults, a fine arts student from Tempe, Ariz.; and Onur Yazicigil, a visual communications design student from Ankara, Turkey.

Ron Shoemaker, a theater sound design senior from Lafayette, Ind., is the undergraduate student, and Christy Jacobs of Augusta, Ga., began working on the project before she graduated in December with a bachelor's degree in interior design.

The Prague Quadrennial creates a platform for seminars, workshops and meetings of leading theater practitioners and students from more than 60 countries, Thomas said. It also provides an opportunity for observing and comparing the development of world theater, particularly its design components.

Purdue also is participating in a new event called Laptop Connections. The Purdue participants will be one of six teams at the Masarykovo Railway Station recording sounds to send to collaborators in California, France and Germany. The teams and collaborators will compile and process the sounds to create sonic works of art about travel and transit to play to the pedestrians at the railway station.

The event is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and the Theatre Institute in Prague. The first quadrennial was organized to bridge the divide between the East and West during the Cold War.

Funding for Purdue to participate came from the College of Liberal Arts, division of dance, division of theater, Envision Center and Department of Computer Graphics Technology.

Purdue arts also will be represented in the quadrennial's exhibitions. Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts will be one of 17 new theater facilities in the United States featured at the Prague Quadrennial 2007 Architecture & Technology exhibition in the Czech Republic. The theme of the June exhibit is art facilities for theater education.

The sound score for the 2005 production of "His Occupation," which was composed by Thomas and Ron Shoemaker, a senior from Lafayette, Ind., was selected for exhibit in the United States National Exhibition at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial. In addition, work by students in visual design and sound design will be highlighted.

Pao Hall is home to the Nancy T. Hansen Theatre and the Carole and Gordon Mallett Theatre. The Patti and Rusty Rueff Department of Visual and Performing Arts is located in this building, which celebrated its dedication September 2005. Scholer Corp. served as the architect for the facility.

The department houses the divisions of art and design, dance, music and theater. More than 800 undergraduates and 60 graduate students are pursuing degrees in the department. In addition, several thousand other students enroll in courses offered by the department. This year marks the centennial of student theater productions at Purdue.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, (765) 494-9723, apatterson@puurdue.edu

Sources: Richard Thomas, (765) 494-8150, zounds@purdue.edu

Carol Cunningham, (765) 496-3644, carolec@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

PHOTO CAPTION:
Christy Jacobs, a Purdue graduate from Augusta, Ga., and Ron Shoemaker, a theater sound design student from Lafayette, rehearse for the upcoming performance of "Labcoats on Clouds." The piece will preview May 11-12 before it debuts June 14-24 at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial, the world's largest international stage design and architecture event. The project is a collaboration among the areas of dance, art and design, theater and computer graphics technology. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/thomas-dance.jpg

PHOTO CAPTION:
Jason Knox, (from left) Onur Yazicigil, Ingrid Shults, Christy Jacobs (above) and Ron Shoemaker rehearse "Labcoats on Clouds." The piece, which was inspired by the quadrennial's theme of Babel, explores communication and the creation of civilizations. The 30-minute work features two performers ? one male and one female ? who interact with dancers and a third actor, the computer-generated images and sound. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A publication-quality photo is available at http://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/+2007/thomas-dance2.jpg

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