Carnivals and Snowstorms

Better late than never...

I've had a hard time coming up a way to summarize the experience of working on this show.  That's not a bad or a good thing.  For over a year, I worked with Daniella Vinitski (a CU PhD. Theatre candidate) helping her to execute the technical aspects of her production Carnivals and Snowstorms.  I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and the team, and we executed a complex show with relatively small amount of rehearsal time within the Black Box Space.

The production played through four different scenes (I. Brilliant Silence, II. Carnival Barkers, III. Apotheosis, IV. Memory) carrying an avant-garde pacing, with multi-disciplinary collaboration throughout.  There were dancers, actors, music and a violinist with live audio processing, alongside a complicated curtain-rigged system juxtaposing a relatively simple set.  All in all, there were a few mixed reactions, but it was very well received.  I really enjoyed the outcome of the final show despite some last minute delays in production, and am proud to put my name alongside these fantastic artists.  In fact, it was one of the most pleasurable shows I've had to work on, as our run and production crew was extremely professional and creative (with a few exceptions, as always).  Videos below and more pictures here!

Brilliant Silence

This piece unfortunately had to be reworked during our tech week.  The upside of this is that I was able to compose the music to be used during this short dance sequence.  It is accompanied by a dancer, Cindy Brandle, who provided excellent improvisational dancing.  The story that is told is about a group of circus polar bears that learn to dance when there is a full moon.  It is a beautiful piece, and I have included an alternate video version of the recording.

Carnival Barkers

Travis Mouffe is by far the most professional and productive filmmaker I have had the pleasure of working with.  He created the video and projection design for the show and did a fantastic job.  This portion of the show combined the dancers moving in a butoh-inspired manner through the space while Travis' short film played.  It was put together brilliantly, and built perfectly on the Carnivals and Snowstorms theme.  Here is the full length version of this video.


Hannah Leland is a CU Masters graduate in Violin performance.  She performed a beautiful piece composed by Nathan Wheeler that incorporated live electronics with amplified violin.  As the Carnival Barkers end their piece, they approach the screen and crack it open to reveal that there is something behind it.  They then reveal Hannah in a golden dress performing a beautiful, swelling piece that shook the theater.  It is an absolutely beautiful piece, and by far my favorite portion of the show.


Daniella wrote this piece and had it professionally workshopped.  It is about a couple lost in their own memories trying to figure out who and what they are.  As they explore the depths of their lost memories, Autumn Bjugstad designed beautiful lights to accompany the subtly intricate projections Travis had designed.  Projected onto the revealed curtain, it created an amazing, multidimensional and immersive setting.  As the two lovers remember eachother, they embrace and a snow machine that we managed to acquire from the CU Theatre and Dance department splayed snow across the actors as they took their curtain call.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this production, and hope that Daniella will be able to continue to take certain aspects of the show and take them to their fullest potential, as she is an excellent playwright and collaborator.  While there was some last minute drama, we were able to overcome the challenges and put on a production like nothing I have ever seen in the Black Box.  This was particularly special for me, as this was also my final show working in the space... for now (although, I don't know if I'll be doing too many more shows down there).  All in all, this was a difficult process to pull off directly after Commuinkey11, but I had confidence throughout both in our lead production team and Daniella's vision.  I hope to work with her and other members of the team again soon!