Theater Piece No. 2 Program Notes

Introduction:

Theater Piece No. 2 was initially conceived as a sort of compendium to a lecture on the music of John Cage, specifically his work done in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s at Black Mountain College. Cage’s creative output at that time culminated in a collaborative, multimedia performance in the summer of 1952 entitled Theater Piece No. 1 (a.k.a. Black Mountain Piece). The performance involved a number of performance elements such as live music, pre-recorded music, dance, film, slides, painting displays, and lectures. Theater Piece No. 2 is an attempt at emulating (without necessarily recreating) the same type of aesthetic environment in the folds of a lecture on this same topic. The end result is that there are a number of discreet events occurring simultaneously without necessarily being causally related to one another. The observer is awash in multiple sensory stimulants and has the freedom of selecting events, if any, on which to focus and of interpreting the gestalt as it pertains to everyday life experiences.

Layout:

Essentially, the work centers upon the lecture. Performers should be distributed amongst the performance/lecture space so that they may surround or be imbedded with the assumed audience. All performers must have a clear sight of the lecturer at the stage/podium in the front. As the lecturer delivers the speech, he/she also assigns performance materials and cues. Performers are cued by hand signals provided by the lecturer during performance. The lecturer decides cues, time lengths, and distribution of materials either during performance and/or beforehand. Additionally, the lecturer may choose to distribute materials in an improvised manner or may do so using chance procedures.

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