Today I spent the whole day working on my capstone, which means I ran around campus all day; from the Security office to get a key to a storage closet, to document services to print a Mac Weekly from 1948, to Wallace Hall to prepare tea for 55 people, to the Theater Building to check on box office counts, and then to the scene shop to help construct a set piece. I never thought that my capstone would involve so many errands, but then again, capstone is pretty non-traditional.
I’m directing a piece called I/Macalester about Macalester history that moves across the campus, starting in Wallace Hall, heading to the Old Main War Memorial, and ending in the Theater Building’s furniture storage. It’s a new theatre piece, half written by me, and half devised by my cast, that combines archival documents, fragments of oral history interviews, stories of objects, and history of spaces to weave a web of voices around Macalester’s past, present, and future. As performance moves from place to place across campus, the audience of 18 is invited to take part in an afternoon tea, bear witness to war, and experience the magic that exists in everyday objects and spaces that we take for granted.
I’ve been gathering bits and pieces for this project ever since my sophomore year at Macalester, when I a) decided that I was, in fact, going to pursue a theater major and b) I started working in the Macalester archives doing oral history interviews with Macalester faculty, staff, and alumni, learning a lot more about the school’s history in the process. Add to that pot a class where I worked with site specific performance, a chance encounter with contemporary playwright Charles Mee’s fractured text structure, my involvement in the Theater Department’s devised work season last year, my access to the archives, my summer work on Bedlam’s piece The Big Lowdown (a piece that had the audience walk all around Lowertown St. Paul) a pinch of ambition and a dash of craziness, and I/Macalester appeared.
And you know what? It’s been well worth the running-around. It opens this weekend, and I can’t wait to see all that hard work come to fruition.
Admission is free. Space is extremely limited. Reserve tickets by calling 651-696-6359.
Show starts in the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Building, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul.