Theater director Tatiana Pandiani and composer Jacinta Clusellas, both based in New York City and originally from Buenos Aires, will be living and working collaboratively in Lanesboro from April 10-24, 2017, as artists in residence with Lanesboro Arts, supported by the Jerome Foundation. The pair of artists is creating “NORA,” a new documentary musical theater piece inspired by Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” and the true stories of mothers and wives across the country, beginning with Lanesboro.
Tatiana and Jacinta are convening a core group of area women to read the 19th century play by Henrik Ibsen as a group, discuss its themes and issues, and bring life experiences into the exchange during their residency. An examination of the symbolism of Nora in particular, an icon of female representation, will help drive discussion and sharing. Women have naturally come a long way culturally and politically since “A Doll’s House” premiered in 1879. However, society still must address challenges women face, such as under representation in particular career fields like media and government. In this context, “NORA” is an investigation project that queries the difference between the fictional character’s trials and tribulations and our own.
Anyone interested participating in the project or learning more is invited to join the artists at a welcome lunch and open studio on Tuesday, April 11, in the upper level of the St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro. Feel free to bring a dish to pass, but a light lunch and refreshments will be provided from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A public storytelling and oral history workshop is happening at the Lanesboro United Methodist Church on Saturday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where Pandiani will lead participants through five fun and creative exercises that will each touch upon different skills and approaches useful for collecting and telling stories. This workshop is a good fit for historians, business people, community leaders, performers, public speakers, and anyone with a strong interest in learning new communication skills. This is a free workshop. Advance registration is encouraged, but not required.
Clusellas is leading a participatory group song writing and community singing workshop at the High Court Pub on Thursday, April 20, at 6 p.m. Musicians of all abilities and experience levels are welcome. Feel free to bring an instrument, but this workshop focuses on utilizing singing, vocal sounds, and body percussion to explore and develop group compositions. The resulting song will be performed on the High Court Stage at the open mic following the workshop! This is also free event where advance registration is encouraged, but not required.
A capstone reading and performance will take place at the St. Mane Theatre on Friday, April 21, at 6 p.m., following two weeks of participants meeting regularly to read “A Doll’s House,” reflect on the play’s theme, and share stories. Women from the Lanesboro area and Pandiani and Clusellas will stage a presentation of music and text featuring a reading of selections of “A Doll’s House” and local stories inspired by it, interwoven with musical performances inspired by Joni Mitchell and American folk music. This is another free event where advance registration is encouraged, but not required. The performance will last one hour and attendees will also be able to attend the 7:30 p.m. performance of Ibsen’s “When We Dead Awaken” next door at the Commonweal Theatre.
In conjunction with the Ibsen Festival, the Commonweal Theatre Company is graciously hosting a farewell discussion forum with Pandiani and Clusellas in the Commonweal Theatre events hall on Sunday, April 23, at 11 a.m. Provide feedback or learn firsthand about the themes explored, and the stories revealed, through community engagement in the Ibsen-driven residency with Lanesboro Arts.
Originally from Buenos Aires, Pandiani grew up around tango salons, antique stores and dance studios. Diplomatic childhood meant home was always temporary and in cities such as Kingston, Miami, Atlanta, and Boston. She studied performance and philosophy at Florida International University (BFA) and directing at Columbia University (MFA) where she studied with masters such as Anne Bogart and Gregory Mosher. Currently based in Brooklyn, her work combines live performance, dance, music, and storytelling to challenge and entertain today’s audiences and is inspired by the work of Maria Irene Fornes, Frida Kahlo, Pina Bausch, Bob Fosse, Bertol Brecht, and Astor Piazzola.
Clusellas believes in music as a universal language and is very passionate about combining music performance with multidisciplinary arts. Born in Buenos Aires, her music brings together Argentinian folklore and jazz, in the context of songs influenced by landscapes, poems and literature from Latin America. Clusellas earned her Bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston and, for the past few years, has been performing original music as a band leader, writing and arranging music, while also being part of different theater productions in New York City. She works as a teaching artist at the New York Philharmonic and is a participant at the Carnegie Hall Music Educators Workshop.
Pandiani and Clusellas come highly recommended by the Lanesboro Arts residency panel, selected from a pool of more than 65 applicants of artists from Minnesota and New York City. Since the Lanesboro Residency Program’s inception in 2001, Lanesboro Arts has brought 43 artists to Lanesboro for artist residencies. Supported by the Jerome Foundation, the Artist Residency Program provides opportunities for emerging artists to create new work and integrate work into the local community. Lanesboro Arts residencies include a stipend, lodging and studio space. For more information, visit lanesboroarts.org or call 507-467-2446.