Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Skillat Hans: a play performed by MFA students from California College of the Arts

Currently on display in the windows of Adobe Books are props, costumes, and remnants from Skillät Hans, a play originally performed at PLAySPACE Gallery on March 25, 2010, by a class of MFA students from California College of the Arts.

Skillät Hans is the story of a man with problems. He seeks pharmapoiticals to help him with his troubles, and winds up sleeping in the underground world of sweatshop production and human skinning. Skillät abandons life as a successful painter to make more socially conscious art. He befriends immigrant laborers and collaborates with them on a new body of work. Embroiled in kidney stones, brutality, stardom, pharmapoiticals and lavender, this smash-hit-sold-out-on-opening-night exhibition is set in current day New York City.

Some notes on process:
The product of a three-week intensive collaboration, Skillät Hans is a play in which the characters are themselves enacted by characters. An exercise in personality switching and empathy, and a conversation on modes of artistic production, the play is evidence of the rare but serendipitous “organically democratic” success. Each player contributed ideas, adding upon collective agreements, all accepted though imperfect but collectively permitted consensus. Working in such a manner—rushed, without stringent conceptual editing—this process yielded an oneiric portrait that repeatedly folds over upon itself. The discussion of dream states, the fulfilled “dream” of the artist’s success, and the nightmare of confrontation with the ethics of production are astutely explored alongside the cathartic draining of unconscious thoughts—eloquent, grotesque, taboo—to produce not only a narrative, but also a miasmic state.

Georgia Carbone as Natasha Wheat as Dr. Natasha Wheat, the French Pharmapoitical Commercial star, Nancy, and the News Girl; Natasha Wheat as Kai Althoff as Skillät Hans; Kai Althoff as Rebecca Ora as Nadia, The Receptionist, and the Snake; Sasha Krieger as Matthew Waldbillig as the Pharmacist and the Father; Alex Wang as Sasha Krieger as Suo Chow and the Thing; Brigid Mason as Georgia Carbone with Kidney stones, as a drug addict and Becky; Matthew Waldbillig as Isaac Gray and the Boss, and Drunk Man with kidney stones; Rebecca Ora as The Table and Matthew Waldbillig with kidney stones

Music composed and performed by Jim Fairchild

Written by Kai Althoff, Georgia Carbone, Isaac Gray, Sasha Kreiger, Brigid Mason, Rebecca Ora, Matthew Waldbillig, Alex Wang, and Natasha Wheat. Organized with the assistance of Chrissie Bradley, Ted Purves, Arden Sherman, Maria Elena Ortiz, and Katie Hood Morgan