What’s the Story: Oracles of Lost Realism

  • Durham Studio Theater

  • Friday, November 20
  • 4:00PM-5:30PM, with a reception to follow

In the theatrical worlds of Mac Wellman and the Rude Mechs, narrative exists, but does not play by the rules of more conventional dramas. In fact, conventions themselves are called into question. If we recognize theatrical realism as a convention, and predictable narrative tropes part of what keeps that convention alive, what are these contemporary unsettlings, these challenges to what Wellman refers to as “the Already Known”? How do they function, and what is at stake? A poet, a playwright, a theater collective, a director and a dramaturge will muse on these and related questions, and facilitate a discussion with the audience.

“It is not interesting at this point in human time to portray the real world as it seems to be in its own terms;
but it is interesting to unfold, in human terms, the logic of its illogic and so get at the nut of our contemporary human experience.”                 -Mac Wellman


Mac Wellman — Playwright; author of A Murder of Crows
Rude Mechs — Theater Collective; creators of Stop Hitting Yourself
Lyn Hejinian — Professor, Department of English; Poet
Christian Nagler — Graduate Student, Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
Peter Glazer, moderator — Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies; director of A Murder of Crows

Mac Wellman’s recent work includes Muazzez at The Chocolate Factory as part of the 2014 PS 122 COIL Festival; 3 2’s; or AFAR at Dixon Place in October 2011. His books of poetry include Miniature (2002), Strange Elegies (2006), Split the Stick (2012) from Roof Books, and Left Glove (2011), from Solid Objects Press.   His novel Linda Perdido won the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction. He is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College.

Rude Mechs is an ensemble-based theater collective from Austin, TX with a full company of 28 members led by five co-producing Artistic Directors. Since 1995, Rude Mechs has created a genre-averse slate of original works that we produce at home in Texas and tour nationally and abroad. In Austin, we manage The Off Center, a performance venue for arts groups of every discipline. Off-Broadway productions include Stop Hitting Yourself, The Method Gun, Dionysus in 69, Get Your War On, and Lipstick Traces. We are deeply proud to represent Texas as a home for cutting-edge theatre.

Lyn Hejinian is the John F. Hotchkis Professor of English at UC Berkeley. Her academic work has addressed principally to modernist, postmodern, and contemporary poetry and poetics, with a particular interest in avant-garde movements and the social practices they entail. She is, herself, a poet, long associated with the founding and development of Language Writing in the U.S. and its affiliations abroad. Her most recent book of poetry is The Book of a Thousand Eyes; her most recent collection of critical essays is The Language of Inquiry.

Christian Nagler is a writer and performer. He has performed with Anna Halprin, and Open Experiments Ensemble and has presented performances most recently at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Berkeley Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The Lab. His writing can currently be found in the book Somatic Engagement (Chainlinks Press), and Six Lines of Flight (UC Press), and in the journals FillipAufgabe, Art Journal and Performance Research. He teaches performance and writing at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is a graduate student in the department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.

Peter Glazer is a playwright, director, and Associate Professor at UC Berkeley in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. For TDPS, he has directed plays by José Rivera, Maria Irene Fornes, Howard Barker, Harold Pinter, and now Mac Wellman. Two of his own plays have been produced by TDPS as well: Foe, based on the novel by J.M. Coetzee, and his own musical theater piece, Woody Guthrie’s American Song. Next fall, TDPS will mount Heart of Spain – A Musical of the Spanish Civil War, co-written with composer Eric Bain Peltoniemi, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War.