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What's Up For Today?

New York Cool - Ask Miss Wendy

New York City - Theatre

Incite Festival Press Preview Luncheon
Hudson Hotel
356 W 58th St. Gallery B
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Written by Francesca Simon


Jim Petosa (BU's School of Theater Director and InCite Arts Festival Producer)
Photo Credit: Eliette Pascal

BOSTON UNIVERSITY BLOWS ITS HORN IN NEW YORK
TO SHOW STUDENT TALENT
March 9 - 16, 2008


Incite Festival
Photo Courtesty of Boston University College of Fine Arts


The Boston University College of Fine Arts (CFA) is coming to New York in March (March 9 - 16, 2008) to incite, not a riot, but a fine arts festival to showcase CFA talent New Yorkers, who are considered a “natural constituency.” Walt Meissner, Dean ad interim of the CFA, who brought some of their show on the road said twenty percent of the CFA students are from New York. “Boston University has a huge number of alumni from New York,” said Meissner during a luncheon at the Hudson Hotel on Tuesday, which featured some of InCite’s performers.

Our strategy is to make known the excellence and innovation of our programs," Dean Meissner said. "We don't want to be the best kept secret." Notable alumni include producer Stewart Lane, actors Jason Alexander, Geena Davis, Olympia Dukakis, Faye Dunaway, Julianne Moore and Alfre Woodard, who have made their mark in performing arts. Meissner said that CFA alumni are performing artists among the country’s leading symphony orchestras and performing arts organizations. “We felt we needed an initiative that reached out to demonstrate how proud we are of our students and alumni,” Meissner said.

The Boston University College of Fine Arts was created in 1954 to bring together the School of Music, the School of Theatre, and the School of Visual Arts. The University’s vision was to create a community of artists in a conservatory-style school offering professional training in the arts to both undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students.


The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Photo Courtesty of Boston University College of Fine Arts


Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
Photo Courtesty of Boston University College of Fine Arts

The festival, scheduled for March 9-15, will feature a series of musical and visual performances, as well as art exhibitions. New-York based art supporters and a Host Committee of prominent Boston University alumni, including Lane, director Nicholas Martins, and painter Pat Steair will lead the week long celebration showcasing the BU students. The Town Hall, various theatres and galleries are venues which will feature the performances by a chamber orchestra concert featured a world premiere, three New York premiers of works by composers with close affiliation with the BU School of Music and a performance of Tom Stoppard and Andre Previn’s rarely performed Every Good Boy Deserves Favor. An unusual marriage of science and art will be exhibited through Michael Nyman’s one-act opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. The opera is adapted from the case study of the same name by neurologist Oliver Sacks. The plot concerns the investigation by a neurologist of the condition of a singer who suffers from visual agnosia, or the loss of the ability to recognize objects.

“The festival seeks to incite and reinvigorate what the arts should be,” says Jim Petosa, InCite Festival Producer and Director of the School of Theatre. “Sometimes Universities think in terms of ‘let’s do what grownups do’ to show that the students can be just like grownups.” InCite, Petosa says, is designed to showcase the students in works that are “uniquely their own voice.“

The collaboration between students and professionals to produce new works and forge creative exchange, Petosa said, is the secret to preparing artists for the 21st century. “It’s rare when professionals and students can pull together an event like this. CFA, he said, is seeking to “create a community of artists housed together discovering possibilities inside each other’s work.”

The festival, Petosa says, provides an opportunity for secondary school students to see future possibilities. “Witnessing young artists engaged in high level creative output can be quite mind-blowing,” he said. “We view our conservatory as the real world,” Petosa says, adding that innovative and collaborative projects give students the opportunities to explore in an environment where they can afford to fail. He says universities should be the training grounds for 21st century artist. Let the university be the lab. The university has the resources.”


Sow and Weep
Photo Courtesty of Boston University College of Fine Arts

Nitzan Halperin, playwright and recent CFA graduate is proof of CFA’s commitment to supporting their alumni in their creative endeavors. Halperin will present her new work Sow and Weep, which she says “is the embodiment of everything I got from Boston University. I found a story that was personal and specific to share with the world.” Halperin, who is from the Israeli-Palestine region, began work on the play in her sophomore year. “I just couldn’t write about anything else,” she says. “It’s a play about fear, love, boundaries and crossing them. Every side also has more sides – it’s not just black and white. Two societies can look very different and it can seem that the distance between them is insurmountable. But to me that distance is an illusion.” Reading two monologues from her work she made a poignant point in one of them. “Occupation has ruined every human emotional except hatred.”


Boston University Chamber Orchestra
Photo Courtesty of Boston University College of Fine Arts

One of the musical highlights of the festival will be the performance of the Boston University Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Richard Cornell, presenting one world premiere and three New York premieres of works by composers associated with the Boston University College of Fine Arts, featuring baritone Simon Estes.

“It’s a moveable feast,” says Petosa. “We have a plan. Their goal is to take the show on the road to Washington, DC in 2009, to Boston in 2010 and then back to New York. “But this first year we need to uncover and discover all the challenges of pulling this off.

For further information on the festival check out the website: www.bu.edu/cfa/incite


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