‘Breaking and Entering’ Collaboration Combines Installation and Theater

'Breaking and Entering' opens at Human Resources in Los Angeles this week.

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While many students dive into a much-needed summer break this week, several CalArts students are preparing a new production at the Human Resources gallery space in Downtown Los Angeles (May 25-27). The play, Breaking and Enteringis a collaboration between students from the School of Theater, School of Art and The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts and is presented with a gallery installation (May 22-27) by art alumnus Arjuna Neuman (Art MFA 11).

Conceived by writer and director Kestrel Burley (Theater MFA 13), the production “explores the relationship between war, sexuality and pornography.” Student performers began to devise material for  Burley’s text last summer when Burley discovered Neuman’s work, my marshall islands, which focused on the imposition of US nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands.

Neuman’s accompanying installation, which doubles as the scenic design for the production, is a response to Burley’s original text that uses “post-dramatic performance techniques during the exhibit, whereby performers work to incorporate the environmental elements as ‘characters’ in the performance.” Since the installation was created independently from the play, the two collaborators bring different perspectives to both pieces: Neuman’s installation is based on Burley’s text, and Burley’s performance is affected by Neuman’s environmental elements.

More about their collaborative process from Burley:

Neuman naturally works with specificity and thoughtful attention to detail, going to great lengths to obtain materials that have relevant meaning, each object containing a story within itself that relates to the bigger picture. Theatre, by contrast, naturally uses bold visual strokes that depend on the suspension of reality to create illusion. Installation work is also experiential and environmental, whereas performance is most often experienced at a distance through a presentational format. The challenge of negotiating these approaches—Neuman forced to consider the theatrical potential of his work while theater is forced to acknowledge the present, the real, through object—has fostered a unique and multilayered dialogue on the show’s themes.

The play also was workshopped during this years’ CalArts New Works Festival. For more information, visit the production’s website.

Below is a trailer for Breaking and Entering:

Breaking and Entering
Human Resources
410 Cottage Home St, Los Angeles
Installation Exhibit: May 22-27 

Performances: May 25-26, 8 pm
May 27, 7 pm
Closing Reception: May 27
Tickets: $10


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