Rebecca Holderness  
(Commissioned World Premiere) Theatre Department, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 2007
Intro | Photos


Ghost, as the first play in 508 at Kenilworth, set a standard for challenging work done in a new way. It modeled for the audience, students and artists a theater made without expensive sets and costumes; it inspired in them an entrepreneurial spirit for developing New Work. Ghost gathered a new audience in a new venue. With 13 mixed-discipline performers and a set made of graffiti covered wallboard pulled from the garbage, staged in a barely outfitted 508 – the performance was as complex as the issues it dealt with, and as raw. What was the purpose in this? In the rehearsal room black student actors worked along side a top cutting-edge black playwright. In performance a racially diverse audience that crossed generational lines was inspired to debate.

At my request the Theater Department commissioned a new work written for these students by Zakiyyah Alexander, a nationally known award-winning playwright who often writes in a hip-hop inspired African-American vernacular (her awards include, Helen Merrill Award, ACT New Play Award/Lorraine Hansberry Award, Stellar Network Award, the Theodore Ward Prize, Jackson Phelan Award). To reinforce my idea of working across disciplinary lines, I asked Brazilian choreographer Simone Ferro, of the UWM Dance Program, to create a movement language for the production based on the forms of street dance.

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