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CFA’s InCite Festival Returns to the Big Apple

This year’s theme: the power of art

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Zachary Bruno (CFA’10) conducting Paul Bowles’ The Wind Remains, with (front row) Martin Baraki (CFA’11) and Rachel Hague (CFA’11) and (back row) Natalie Mednick (CFA’13) and Joseph Ahmed (CFA’13). Photo by Glen Kulbako. Photos below, from top: Cast of Fallujah. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky. Cast of Good. Photo by Frank Curran. Rick Meyerowitz. Photo courtesy of Rick Meyerowitz. Paul and Jane Bowles: Two Stars in the Desert. Photo by Glen Kulbako

When the College of Fine Arts launched its InCite Arts Festival three years ago, the goals were simple: promote collaboration among the Schools of Theatre, Music, and Visual Arts and bring young artists and exciting new work to New York audiences.

InCite continues that mission beginning today with a provocative mix of theater, music, and lectures. The festival, which runs through Monday, March 14, at venues throughout Manhattan, includes performances and an exhibition highlighting the work of CFA production and design students.

InCite artistic director Jim Petosa, director of the School of Theatre, says the idea for this year’s theme—the power of art—emerged after a video of an ant-covered Jesus at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in November unleashed a firestorm of controversy that led to the work’s removal.

Boston University CFA theatre students perform Fallujah. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky  for Boston University Photography

Boston University CFA theatre students perform Fallujah. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography

“Many of us at CFA discussed the potential for an uptick in the old ‘culture wars,’” says Petosa. “There was a good deal of recognition that the role of art in society does demand some degree of provocation. The ability of art to do that is where its power lies.” He says that this year’s festival offerings “share a desire to provoke an audience into substantial thought about compelling ideas.”

Audiences will very likely be provoked by Evan Sanderson’s Fallujah, which kicks off this year’s InCite festival tonight. Sanderson (CFA’10) wrote the drama, about an American journalist who loses himself after becoming embedded with a combat unit in Iraq, as his CFA thesis.

Fallujah was originally produced at BU in October 2010, and later performed as part of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts American College Theater Festival, where it won the young playwright two awards, including the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award.

Sanderson says the inclusion of his play in the InCite festival is “an incredible honor,” and points out that the production comes at a critical juncture in his career. “It’s a real bridge between the student and the professional world,” he says. “Even though I’m a recent graduate, I’m still feeling my way through the larger theatrical world and this is a way of doing that.”

The Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) opens its third season on November 6th with C.P. Taylor's Good, directed by BCAP's artistic director Jim Petosa. Photo by Frank Curran  for Boston University Photography

The Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP) opens its third season on November 6th with C.P. Taylor’s Good, directed by BCAP’s artistic director Jim Petosa. Photo by Frank Curran for Boston University Photography

Another festival offering likely to stimulate discussion is the C. P. Taylor play Good, set in Germany at the height of Hitler’s rise to power. First produced on campus this past fall, the play examines how a “good” man comes to embrace Nazism. Petosa, who directed the earlier production, directs again here and says the play is chilling.

On a lighter note, author and illustrator Rick Meyerowitz (CFA’65) will discuss his longtime association contributing to the iconic humor magazine National Lampoon, which began when it launched in 1970. Meyerowitz, best known for his many New Yorker covers, recently authored Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Writers and Artists Who Made the National Lampoon Insanely Great.

Author and illustrator Rick Meyerowitz (CFA’65). Photo courtesy of BU Photography.

Author and illustrator Rick Meyerowitz (CFA’65). Photo courtesy of BU Photography.

“I went to CFA to study fine arts so I could be a better cartoonist and illustrator,” says Meyerowitz (right). “I hope the audience believes me when I tell them I learned something at BU, and that I have carried what I learned through all of my working life thus far.”

The illustrator says he hopes the audience at his InCite lecture will be “entertained and slightly scandalized,” and he promises some laughs, as well.

In a different vein, Paul and Jane Bowles: Two Stars in the Desert celebrates the works of the legendary American expatriates. Directed by Petosa and Allison Voth, a CFA associate professor, the event incorporates rarely heard chamber music, songs, solo pieces, and dramatic readings by the Bowleses, including a staged and choreographed performance of The Wind Remains, Paul Bowles’ rarely performed zarzuela.

Celebration of Paul and Jane Bowles. Photo by Glen Kulbako  for Boston University Photography

Celebration of Paul and Jane Bowles. Photo by Glen Kulbako for Boston University Photography

Last, and perhaps of most importance to the many students, are the design and production exhibition and the performance showcase. The 32 men and women in this year’s performances are divided into four groups, with each group responsible for 15 minutes of the hourlong showcase. Michael Kaye, a CFA assistant professor, says the event is one of many opportunities to prepare and introduce seniors to the profession. Other events include master classes, alumni panels, and professional skills classes.

The design and production exhibition, which takes place in conjunction with the performance showcase, honors the School of Theatre’s graduating design and production students. It features work from the season’s productions and work by individual students and alumni.

Petosa says this year’s festival “reflects CFA’s core belief in the collaboration that occurs in a spirit of innovation with an awareness of its resonance outside of our small world.”

Asked to describe the changes the festival has undergone in its short history, Petosa says, “Our venues are stronger, our ability to draw substantial audiences has grown, and the work becomes increasingly adventurous each year.”

Ticket Information
Fallujah
Thursday, March 10, 8 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., N.Y.
Tickets are $12 in advance or pay what you can at the door.
Box office: www.tribecapac.org. Phone: 212-220-1460.

Artist Talk: Rick Meyerowitz and the National Lampoon
Friday, March 11. Reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m; lecture from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd St., N.Y. Phone: 212-838-2560.
Admission is complimentary.

Paul and Jane Bowles: Two Stars in the Desert
Friday, March 11, 8 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., N.Y
Tickets are $12 in advance or pay what you can at the door.
Box office: www.tribecapac.org. Phone: 212-220-1460.

Good
Saturday, March 12, 8 p.m.
BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers St., N.Y.
Tickets are $12 in advance or pay what you can at the door.
Box office: www.tribecapac.org. Phone: 212-220-1460.

Design and Production Exhibition
Monday, March 14, 3 to 7 p.m.
New World Stages, 340 West 50 St., N.Y.
Admission is complimentary but reservations are required.

Performance Showcase
Monday, March 14, 4 to 7 p.m.
New World Stages, 340 West 50 St., N.Y.
Admission is complimentary, but reservations are required.

More information is available here or by calling 617-353-3350.

John O’Rourke can be reached at orourkej@bu.edu.

1 Comments

One Comment on CFA’s InCite Festival Returns to the Big Apple

  • Robert J Oresick on 03.10.2011 at 6:44 pm

    This festival is yet another example of the vitality of Jim Petosa and the School of Theater at BU which gives us such an outpouring of creative theater each year. Bravo!

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