After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCI once again held its popular New Swan Shakespeare Festival on campus this summer. With the curtain now closed, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts announces its Fall 2022 season, which includes some of its boldest and most ambitious programs to date.
Starting October 1 and running through January 23, 2023, the fall season features everything from contemporary choreography and a heady lineup of jazz and classical music to a robust drama series, including an updated “Romeo and Juliet,” Shakespeare’s tragic tale of tribal rivalry and doomed romance.
Since its inception in 1965, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts – which was renamed in 2000 – has proven to be a national leader in training emerging artists and performers.
The fall season kicks off with the unveiling of “Leaves for Burning,” an art exhibit that includes three solo projects by Cognate Collective, Bassem Saad and Artur Zmijewski. This collaborative artistic inquiry into biopolitics was curated by UCI’s Heather M. O’Brien and Juli Carson and takes its title from Peter Weiss’ 1964 play “Marat/Sade”, a thought experiment on the reciprocity of Reign of Terror and the French Revolution, a legacy that democracies continue to grapple with in 2022. Hours for the free exhibition, at the Center d’art contemporain gallery, will be 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with an opening reception from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday October. 1. “Leaves for Burning” runs through Saturday, December 10.
From October 13-16, the 25th Anniversary Conference of the African American Art Song Alliance will take place at the UCI. Founded in 1997 by UCI music professor Darryl Taylor, the alliance is one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations, representing black composers of Western classical art songs. Conference registration is free and events are open to the public.
The Claire Trevor School of the Arts Classical Music Program begins Nov. 4 with “Dr. Sharon Mann: Piano Master Class. A professor of piano and chamber music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Mann is a respected soloist and ensemble player who is widely regarded for her penetrating interpretations of Bach’s keyboard music, including her recent reissue of Bach’s “Six Partitas.” Bach. This free performance will take place at 1 p.m. at the UCI’s Winifred Smith Hall. It is followed on November 5 by a concert at 8 p.m. at the same venue by UCI lecturer and internationally renowned violist Jerzy Kosmala.
The UCI Fall Jazz Series includes performances on November 9 by the Small Jazz Bands of the UCI Undergraduate Jazz Program and November 16 by the UCI Jazz Orchestra, all two at 8 p.m. at Winifred Smith Hall. The venue will also host “What I Did During the COVID Lockdown”, an experimental work by dance teacher and UCI pianist Alan Terricciano mixing live piano and digital playback, at 8 p.m. on November 19.
Continuing the classical music lineup, on November 22, the UCI Symphony Orchestra’s annual Thanksgiving Concert will take place at 8 p.m. at the Irvine Barclay Theater, featuring orchestral classics conducted by Geoffrey Pope to be announced in October. . This will be followed on November 28 by a free performance of traditional and contemporary works by the UCI Wind Ensemble at 8 p.m. in Winifred Smith Hall.
On November 30, as part of the Gassman electronic music series, guitarist-composer-producer Rafiq Bhatia will present a set of improvised solo music alongside new material created through a project with Rajna Swaminathan of the UCI, assistant professor of music, who will join mridangam, piano and voice. The musical season culminates with performances in late November and early December by the UCI Guitar Ensemble and Chamber Singers, as well as a chamber music concert. Additionally, December brings “New Slate 2022,” a three-day showcase of original choreography by dance MFA candidates at the Claire Trevor Theater.
Play to emphasize healing
This year’s UCI Fall Drama Season is themed “How We Heal” and features traditional and contemporary tales exploring how humanity grapples with traumas old and new, the lingering effects of racism and hatred to global pandemics. One of the stars will be a modern version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, directed by Andrew Borba, the outgoing artistic director of the Chautauqua Theater Company, which will be staged at the Irvine Barclay Theater from November 10-13.
“The production explores the seeds of racism and the conquering and healing power of love,” said Don Hill, chair of UCI’s drama department. “He asks what are the lessons learned from this story so that we can bridge our divisions and how we forgive ourselves for having those judgments that those who raised us taught us to have.”
The drama season is also marked by “The Biddy Mason Story,” a play told in the style of Homer’s “Odyssey” and based on a short story by Dana Johnson, associate professor of English at the University of California du South.
Biddy Mason is a real person who was born into slavery and walked from Mississippi to California to earn his freedom. She worked as a midwife during the treacherous trek and later became a landowner and humanitarian in Los Angeles, where she was known as “Mama” Mason.
“We’re so excited to be able to create this and focus on the story of a brilliant African American and her journey and her story that a lot of people may not know about,” Hill said. “It will be shown in an experimental theater with two constantly moving projection screens, with actors playing characters who transform into a horse or a tree so that the human body is seen pushing the limits in a visceral way.”
On a lighter note, the winter play ‘Airness’ explores the history of air guitars and is directed by UCI’s Eli Simon, Chancellor’s Theater Teacher and Artistic Director of the New Swan Shakespeare Festival. It is followed by “Men on Boats”, which – despite its title – has nothing to do with men but rather features female characters, identifying with women and vague gender directed by Juliet Carrillo, associate professor of directing at the UCI.
Spring 2023 will bring “The Sweetheart Deal,” directed by Santa Ana-based writer, director and producer Sarah Guerrero, which tells the story of immigrant Mexican workers in the early 1920s.e century, as well as “Rent,” directed by Telly Leung, who starred in the original Broadway musical production.
Boasting an internationally acclaimed faculty who work in a wide variety of disciplines and partner with others on campus, the Claire Trevor School of the Arts comprises four theaters; a concert hall; three art galleries; the Beall Center for Art + Technology; electronic music studios; state-of-the-art costume, lighting and set design studios; a stage production workshop; digital arts labs; and a video production studio. For more information on the school’s 2022-23 schedule, visit www.arts.uci.edu.
If you would like to learn more about supporting this or other UCI activities, please visit the Brilliant Future website at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu. Launched publicly on October 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and raising $2 billion in philanthropic investments, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/claire-trevor-school-of-the-arts.