Movement without motion. A message conveyed without words. A language that speaks to the soul rather than to the ears. All these aspects and more accompany the experience that is the show “Moving Voices.”
UC Santa Cruz’s Barn Theater, the usual haunt of the student-produced BarnStorm, will play host to a unique set of theater arts department shows entitled “Moving Voices” for the next two weekends. The show is a collaboration of two directorial visions that explore various aspects of body movement and vocal work in performance.
Although the shows are considered a single program, they are separate artistic entities. The first is “The Splendor and Death of Joaquin Murieta,” written by Pablo Neruda and directed by Guzman.
“Our show is about going on a journey,” student director Yave Guzman said. “It’s about finding yourself and your strengths while on that journey.”
“This is not your traditional show,” Guzman added. “It’s creating a story — a language — as the show unfolds.”
This part of “Moving Voices” is a bilingual piece. While Neruda’s story was originally written in Spanish, Guzman has his characters alternate speaking in both Spanish and English.
“This [show] is a response to my own anger towards cuts aimed at theater that encourages fluency in another language,” said Guzman.
The second show of the set is called “The Spiral” and is inspired by a short story about a mollusk by Italian short story Italo Calvino. It is directed by UCSC student Matt Kedzie.
The cast plays as an ensemble and has developed individual characters named and inspired by Calvino’s stories.
Both pieces are steeped in movement and the exploration of physicality.
“It is about observing with all the senses,” actor James Tipton said. “[The play] is a growing and changing in awareness [for the audience].”
Kedzie had his actors heighten and dull their own senses to gain a better grasp of what the play was trying to achieve.
“We played with our senses a lot,” he said. “We had a deaf rehearsal and a blind rehearsal.”
The two directors said their choices when working on these shows were motivated by the concept of the show’s namesake — moving voices.
“They are words, but they are moving,” Guzman said. “[The words] force you to take up action. It moves your soul.”
Although similarities can be drawn between the shows there are differences in the performance aspects of the two pieces. According to Kedzie, the ensemble in “The Spiral” serve to draw the audience into themselves and reflect rather than weave a direct narrative.
“There is not a story you can easily follow, it’s not a linear theater piece we are used to,” Kedzie said of his show. “If you are an audience member, you get to see something different every night.”
Both directors agree that their pieces transcend traditional theatrical performances.
“We could do this on a street corner, it would still be powerful,” Guzman said.
The theater space itself, Kedzie added, changes the audience’s perception of the piece.
“It is only a theater piece because we are in a theater,” Kedzie said. “If we were out of a theater, it would be performance art.”
He said that the two pieces deal with issues that will hopefully be both inspiring and thought-provoking to audiences.
“These authors inspired us,” said Kedzie. “We hope to move other people with our voices.”
The directors encourage audience members to keep an open mind when attending the show in order to fully experience the range of emotions each offers. They said that “Moving Voices” will be an interesting experience and have a different effect on each person who attends.
“If they want to have a positive experience,” Kedzie said, “the audience has to come willing to experience a treat for the senses.”
Moving Voices opens on Oct. 30, 2009 in the Barn Theater at the base campus. Tickets can be purchased through the Barn.