Theater/Dance Preview: THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY PROJECT (The Big Show Co. at the Ford Amphitheatre)

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by Frank Arthur on June 23, 2018

in Dance,Theater-Los Angeles

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain.
It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.”

Author Lois Lowry

On June 28 & 29, Ford Theatres, in association with choreographer/director Arianne MacBean and The Big Show Co., will present the world premiere of The Collective Memory Project — an original dance-theatre piece inspired by memories of not just U.S. military veterans but the performers and the audience themselves. This intimate performance will take place on stage at the Ford Amphitheatre, so there are only 135 seats available (as opposed to the normal 1,200 seats), and all audience members will be seated onstage and participate in the show.

As patrons walk in and find their seats, they are asked by the cast to anonymously write a short “memory of survival” onto a white index card. There are three separate sections in the piece where these cards are read by the performers in a semi-improvisational structure. These sections are interwoven with other choreographed sections that include memories of some of the cast members, as well as those of veterans who participated in Memory Writing Workshops over the last three years. (The Ford Theatres — working with veterans’ organizations to ensure that the work is seen by veterans and their families — has been the site for eight of the workshops that have created the material that constitutes the performance.) So, performer, veteran, and audience memories are seamlessly integrated into the whole evening — sometimes spoken, sometimes projected, or as part of the original musical compositions. The audience is seated on three sides of the stage facing the terrace, and are also included in the finale of the show, when paper sculptures made out of taped-together pieces of ripped paper from past performances and rehearsals are stretched across the stage over, across, and around the audience to create a visual connective web.

The work, which works more like theater than dance, examines memory’s effects through time — and the agency of remembrance and forgetting — while investigating aspects of the past by which the present is always haunted. Just like memories, no two versions of The Collective Memory Project are alike, as memories of audience members are incorporated into every presentation. It’s also an incredible opportunity for veterans to explore their memories through performance in front of an audience.

Founded in 1999, The Big Show Co. is an L.A.-based troupe that integrates dance, theater, music, and visual imagery for performances and workshops across the globe. Rooted in a passion for communication, Artistic Director MacBean creates work that highlights the triumphs and failings of language — the language of the body and of text. She makes work that is self-reflective — poking fun at human failings while exposing universal vulnerabilities that are simultaneously tragic and beautiful. Current company members include Brad Culver, Max Eugene, Genevieve Carson, and Angelina Attwell.

The Collective Memory Project
The Big Show Co.
Ford Theatres, 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in the Cahuenga Pass
(just off the 101 Freeway between Hollywood and Universal Studios)
parking info
Thurs & Fri, June 28 and 29, 2018 at 8:30pm
for tickets ($25), call 323.461.3673 or visit Ford Theatres

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