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Fostering open-mindedness through experimental theatre

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications

With a goal of fostering open-mindedness in the Miami-Oxford community, Miami University's Independent Artist Series—part of the department of theatre—presents its first productions in experimental theatre March 2-5.

The student-run Independent Artist Series (IAS) community “strives to educate and empower actors and audiences alike through experimental theatre,” according to their mission statement.

The first three productions raise issues ranging from the effects of bullying and LGBTQA+ themes to mental illness and the recovery process for those affected by abuse.

Productions are free, but online ticket registration is required since the nontraditional performance spaces have a limited number of seats.

A tableau of 3 actors from Blu. The actor in the center wears a backward baseball cap and a tie-dyed shirt; this full-color image stands out against the rest of the grayscale scene."Blu"

by Gloria Bond Clunie, directed by Jeffrey Miller, second-year master’s degree student in theatre.

100 Hiestand Hall. Reserve tickets here.

  • March 2: 7:30 p.m.
  • March 4: 7:30 p.m.
An open pill bottle lies on its side as pills spill out. Text: The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland

"The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland"

By John Haynes and David Woods, directed by Kayla Loree, second-year master’s degree student in theatre.

100 Hiestand Hall. Reserve tickets here.

  • March 3: 7:30 p.m.
  • March 5: 7:30 p.m.

A colorful lotus graphic representing the play For Remembrance, Rosemary"For Remembrance, Rosemary"

Written and directed by Natasia Reinhardt (Miami ‘16), first-year master’s degree student in theatre.

207 Hiestand Hall. Reserve tickets here.

  • March 4: 2 p.m.
  • March 5: 2 p.m.

About the plays

"Blu"

Jeff MillerBlu is not like the other eighth grade students at her school and she doesn’t want to be. Inside Blu’s room, her brother and his friends search for Blu’s missing journal. In their quest, they discover that there is much more to be found. Told at the intersection of two worlds, the play offers the opportunity for the audience to see the bullying problem from multiple perspectives and to make connections to the direct and indirect effects of bullying behavior on the world around us. A talkback will follow the show.

“I chose to work on this show to bring awareness and start a conversation in the Oxford community about bullying and its connection to suicide with LGBTQA+ youth,” director Jeff Miller said.

"The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland" 

Kayla LoreeThe play is a reproduced, devised piece that explores ethical representation of schizophrenia in hopes of minimizing associated stigma and promoting understanding, according to Kayla Loree, director. Through this piece, we are invited to observe main character Richard’s interactions with his psychologist as he is treated for schizophrenia. The play explores family dynamics and groundbreaking tactics of representation and shares the experience of mental illness. A talkback will follow the show.

"As someone who lives with mental illnesses, the creative, academic and emotional challenges and opportunities of this project resonated deeply, marrying a number of my venerations with the potential to create meaningful dialogue and new relationships on Miami University's campus,” Loree said.

"For Remembrance, Rosemary"

Natasia ReinhardtShakespeare's "Hamlet" has lasted through the ages, bringing with it Ophelia’s tale of abuse and manipulation, director Natasia Reinhardt said.

Her original play is a script adaptation of Ophelia’s tale in "Hamlet" to reclaim the term "victim" in the recovery process for those affected by abuse. The play explores Shakespeare’s words with movement and a modern reimagining.

About the Independent Artist Series

Visit the IAS blog to learn more about the organization.

Future productions include:

  • "Mac's Worlds," March 31 and April 1. Written and directed by Jeff Miller, the participatory theatre event aims to empower youth to begin to understand their own worlds.
  • "The Latest Show," April 5-8, written by the ensemble and directed by David DeVita. Performed in the TV production studio in Williams Hall with a live "late-night" band.