After deciding on the title of her honors project, senior Jane Chung dove into a space others are not as comfortable dipping into. Under the Surface, inspired by the art form Butoh, a new modern Japanese physical theatre movement, reaches into a dark and unexplored place most people have beneath the image they portray to the rest of the world.
“While I was choosing performers, I wanted to use non trained bodies because they are more willing to go that place that I wanted to reach when I thought about this piece,” Jane Chung said. “Laura Johnson is the only dancer of the cast members and I think it has allowed the piece to have a fresh take on movement.”
The focus of this physical theatre piece was on how artistic movement can be accessible to any body in the world. It is made of simple movements, and gives room for each cast member to add their interpretation of the emotions they want to portray.
“I hope the audience can find a moment in the piece where they can reflect on struggles that they themselves are having or have had in the past,” First-year Mia Cannon said.
“The piece is very abstract and requires a lot of thought and time to understanding it’s meaning. I think people need to come see it because it is a manifestation of internal struggles that I believe everyone has gone through at some point in their life,” Sophomore Kory Kolis said.
Reaching into a dark place is what Chung aims for in the pieces she creates. Going to this place allows performers to reach a different level within themselves that they wouldn’t normally think about.
“This piece is important for people to see because it is about human beings. It’s about our bodies, minds, thoughts, and feelings and how they all intertwine,” First-year Laura Johnson said.
“For me, the piece is a journey of finding yourself in a sense of being able to completely accept yourself and your imperfections.”
Along with the director and the performers, the stage manager has just as much influence on the creation of the piece. Senior Yiyi Chen is Under the Surface’s stage manager and her duties include preparing the stage for the performance, prepping the performers, and calling out cues for the lights and sound during the performance.
Each person’s role is vital for the success of the show and making sure that the audience feels something while they watch is what the team for Under the Surface is aiming for. The piece is also relevant to all people interested in seeing the concept of an uncomfortable topic in front of them.
“I want the audience to think about the relationships we all have with our bodies and what we don’t always show or let people see. I want people to feel free to expose themselves and let others see what is under your skin, what is under the surface of your external self,” First-year Allison Hosman said.
Chung has developed her own style of creatively giving her audience a new way of viewing a piece of life. The risk of making people feel uncomfortable but wanting to see more of what is being exposed is in the art of her choreographed movements.
“I hope that my work has opened up the door to any artist on campus to go out of their comfort zone. I worked at both theatre and dance and knew that I wanted to mix them together, to open a new realm of performance. Art does not limit you, it gives you a place to go and fall into a dark space that has no limits and restraints. We will have two midnight showings so that people can loose themselves in the magic of the theatre,” Chung said.
Giving an outlet for performers and audience members to view a place that is not often paid attention to has formed a connection with many different people.
“I’m excited to see the different responses from different people and how they relate the idea of “body and mind” to their own fields and daily life, whether they make art, dance, play sports, meditate, perform in science labs, or just walk down the street,” Senior Yiyi Chen said.
Under the Surface will show at 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. April 26 and 27, and at 2:00 p.m. on April 28 in the Black Box.