Although the annual Instant Play Festival is still two weeks away, student writers have already started preparing for the 12-hour window they are given to write their plays. This past week, the 14 writers have been engaging in a 2-credit IPF workshop. The workshop runs for the three weeks prior to the festival weekend and each week a different visiting artist joins the class to lead the workshop.
Karinne Keithley Syers is the first of our three guest playwrights. She has been on campus for the past week now, guiding the class as they get a chance to hone their writing skills in the context of theatre. However, Syers doesn’t just describe herself as a playwright. She has worked in editing, publishing, dance, sound, animation, and projection. Her most recent work, Another Tree Dance, is a solo performance piece inspired by her readings of and dissertation on Ralph Waldo Emerson. The performance itself combines speech, dance, song, recorded voice-over, and projection into a trance-like exploration of what Syers calls, “the natural history of character.” On Wednesday, she presented a portion of the piece in Harper Joy’s Freimann Studio Theatre.
The Department of Theatre and Dance’s Guest Artist Program allows artists like Syers to visit Whitman each year and share their expertise with students and contribute to performances. You can find out more about Karinne’s work, including Another Tree Dance at http://fancystitchmachine.org/.