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Johnsonville – An Eastern Multi-Media Production

Published on April 23, 2015

Johnsonville – An Eastern Multi-Media Production

Race, feminism, and body image were only a few of the themes portrayed in Eastern Connecticut State University’s production of the original multi-media production, “Johnsonville.” The play was performed April 16-April 19 by Professor David Pellegrini’s Experimental Theatre class, with Pellegrini directing.

“Experimental performance breaks boundaries between forms, avoids ‘naturalistic’ representational modes, and usually proceeds from a paradigm or set of conditions not unlike a scientific or social-science hypothesis,” said Pellegrini. “Unlike those disciplines, however, the goal is not so much to prove or disprove a theory, but to guide a process of creative discovery.”   Each student brought his or her own talent to the table, including singing, dancing, acting, playing instruments and even baton swirling. “A huge ingredient of “’Johnsonville’” was also collaboration,” said Kindee Queenan, a senior theatre major. “No one person is responsible for any one piece, which made the end product feel so much more than a class project. Students, professors and production teams all contributed poetry, songs, movements, dances, props, clothing, time and heart to ‘Johnsonville.’”

The production also incorporated images through video, interactive websites and live feed animated text — all portrayed on a giant projection screen. There were moments of depression, moments of comedy, and moments of enlightenment and insightfulness. The play even used strobe lights in one scene, surprising many of the audience members. With all the unique elements compiled into one play, it was a one-of-a-kind performance by Eastern students. “Theatre is acommunity like any other, except far more intimate than many others,” said Queenan. “Working in a theatre for weeks on end every night and putting on a show takes not only you but everyone around you on a journey, together.”

“That a whole Connecticut town could be ‘up for auction’ seemed an intriguing metaphor for what else might be ‘up for grabs’ in our culture and in our lives,” said Pellegrini. “From there we considered presence – both live and technologized – and the implications for how we view ourselves, our bodies our interrelationships … and also our theatre.”

Written by Kathryn Shpak

Categories: Theatre