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Big Names in Theatre Rehearse and Workshop at PUC

Lainey S. Cronk, January 12, 2009
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For the small theatre company at Pacific Union College, January brought a memorable week inspired by the expertise and creativity of three theatre professionals - an artistic theatre director from Serbia, the dean of the CalArts school of theater, and a co-artistic director of Theatre of Yugen.

On January 4, Dijana Milosevic, artistic director of Dah Theatre Research Centre of Belgrade, Serbia, did a cast workshop on campus. She worked with the group in PUC's Dramatic Arts Society (DAS) that is preparing to perform "Clay Feet/Wire Wings: The Space Between" in February.

Two days later, DAS enjoyed a lecture and demonstration with Erik Ehn and Jubilith Moore. Ehn is a playwright and dean of the School of Theatre at the California Institute of the Arts and has a long list of playwriting and drama leadership roles, including working with Theatre of Yugen and helping found the Regional Alternative Theatre Movement. Jubilith Moore is co-artistic director of Theatre of Yugen, an experimental theatre company in San Francisco,

The tie between these, as seen in a January 9 open process session at PUC, was the Theatre of Yugen's week-long residency at PUC. During their week on the PUC campus, Theatre of Yugen performers and musicians rehearsed a play called Dogsbody. The play was written by Ehn, is directed by Milosevic, and produced by Theatre of Yugen. Mei Ann Teo, PUC's drama program director, is the dramaturg for the Dogsbody project. A play about genocide and children soldiers, Dogsbody is inspired by the Iliad and will be performed in October of 2009 in San Francisco. Ehn's involvement goes beyond this work, however; he worked on developing the Center for the Study of Genocide and Culture to explore theatrical responses to events in Rwanda and to promote peace-building through the arts.

Teo initiated the residency week at PUC, since she is working on the Dogsbody project and has also worked with Milosevik, Ehn, and the Theatre of Yugen in the past. This is Milosevik's first stop before touring her company's latest show to New Mexico, Los Angeles, and London.

"These sessions have been amazing," said Teo. "These are international artists of the highest caliber… To be able to host the level of craft and talent here, and to have the students learn from them, is a very rare opportunity!"