HSU and Dell’Arte present ‘The Living Newspaper’

HSU Department of Theatre, Film and Dance

The Department of Theatre, Film and Dance at Humboldt State University in cooperation with Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre presents the Humboldt County premiere of The Living Newspaper, two original productions based on current events.  Content will include the unexpected effects of gender-reveal parties, relationships with virtual friends and robots during the time of COVID, the erasure and silencing of marginalized voices and more. These plays will be streamed online.  The first play streams on Friday, April 2; the second on Friday, April 16.  Both performances will begin at 8 p.m.

The Living Newspaper concept was originally created during the Great Depression in the 1930’s in the United States. It was part of the Federal Theatre Project which itself was part of the Works Progress Administration. “Living Newspaper” is a term for a theatrical form presenting factual information on current events to a popular audience. Historically, Living Newspapers have also urged social action (both implicitly and explicitly) and reacted against naturalistic and realistic theatrical conventions in favor of the more direct, experimental techniques of agitprop theatre, including the extensive use of multimedia.

This special production form HSU will feature a partnership with three directors from Dell’Arte:

Michael Fields is a founding member and producing artistic director of the Dell’Arte Company, and director of the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA). He has been a member of the Dell’Arte performing ensemble for the past 30 years and has co-authored and performed in over 25 Dell’Arte productions.

Carlos Gallegos is an actor, teacher, playwright, and theater director. He has performed, directed and taught theater on five continents. He is currently a faculty member at Dell’Arte.

Elizabeth Colón Nelson is also a faculty member and a Dell’Arte International MFA 2010 graduate. She is currently developing, “The Magnificent Execution of Mary the Elephant” with Dell’Arte School Director Lauren Wilson.

Fields explains that “the intent of this project is for the students to choose new stories that resonate for them… now… and put them into a theatrical form in this moment in time. These pieces will be ‘devised’, that is, created collectively as an ensemble in a short time with a specific intent. It will give voice to this generation at HSU.  It is an opportunity to experience something that has not been done before with new voices.” Gallegos finds the concept of the Living Newspaper “very intriguing and important because students need to have a space to talk about what’s happening in our society.”

HSU students will create, perform and stage-manage the shows. From the HSU Department of Theatre, Film and Dance faculty, Associate Professor Dr. Troy Lescher will act as dramaturg and producer. Lescher describes the production as “such an exciting project-based learning experience.  This project and collaboration with Dell’Arte engages students in creative processes that diverge from our usual approaches and encourages students to reimagine how they can participate within and serve the ensemble.” Associate Professor Rae Robison will act as technical theatre advisor, and Lecturer Michael Thomas will act as production manager. Joining this collaboration is HSU Librarian Garrett Purchio providing research support and Pablo Midence providing tech support.

These unique productions will be performed for free. Running time is approximately 40 minutes for each of the two shows. The first show will be accessible online on April 2 and the second will be on April 16.  Both will begin at 8 p.m. Both productions will be available to stream after their opening performances. The productions are not recommended for small children. To watch the performances, please use this link: https://humboldtstate.zoom.us/j/89298293149?pwd=YmZudHFYYXNDOXV4WTdva2E2WldRQT09  or go to the HSU Theatre website at https://theatre.humboldt.edu.

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HSU and Dell’Arte present ‘The Living Newspaper’