The Center for the Art of Performance is honored to bring back New York-based SITI Company. A world-renowned ensemble, SITI Company is lauded for its innovation and the creation of new forms of theater that challenge accepted norms and defy classification. Their recent work, the theater is a blank page, is a much-heralded collaboration with celebrated visual artist Ann Hamilton, internationally recognized for the sensory surrounds of her large-scale multimedia installations. Hamilton has a long history of including performative elements in her installation work, and the theater is a blank page demonstrates her interest in shaping performance from a conceptual, visual art-based perspective. Co-directed by Hamilton and acclaimed SITI Co-Artistic Director Anne Bogart, the project draws equally on SITI Company’s impeccable skills as theater-makers, pushing their aesthetic into fresh, new territory.
This intimate, immersive performance installation utilizes the entirety of the theater, as the audience is led through the balconies, to the production shops, into the wings and finally onto the stage itself. With text drawn directly from Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse, the novel’s evocative language and inventive narrative—which skillfully deploy shifting temporal and psychological perspectives alongside poignant ruminations on loss, subjectivity and perception—make it a fertile point of departure for artists of different disciplines to find deep kinship in a collaboration addressing the experience of reading and being read to.
NOTE: The capacity for this performance is limited to 80 people.
SITI Company and Ann Hamilton have created a site specific, immersive theater experience that incorporates spaces in and around Royce Hall and Powell Library. Please plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to curtain, as you will be guided to Powell as part of the performance journey.
Here are some logistics you need to know:
—The box office will open 90 minutes prior to curtain, please check in at the Box Office window at Royce, there will be no will-call table for this production. If you have already received your tickets, you must still check in to receive special instructions.
—Guides will be standing by to direct you to Powell Library, the first stop on your journey, surprises await you at the Library!
—Because this is an interactive and site specific performance, please leave large bags at home, and wear comfortable shoes and clothes. We will have a check-in available should you need to check any personal items.
—Because of the nature of the performance, there is no late seating, please leave enough time to get to campus and park.
The Theater is a Blank Page is a meditation on Virginia Woolf’s groundbreaking novel, To The Lighthouse. It is also a response to the enduring power of words in a digital landscape. Our collaboration with Powell Library and UCLA Special Collections, offers an opportunity to revisit the time we spend with words: reading, writing, speaking, listening. The project’s co-creator Ann Hamilton, puts it this way:
"Like paternal twins, Powell Library and Royce Hall stand face to face as sentinels on either side of UCLA’s central staircase. If the library is the house of the book and a space of silent, solitary reading, the theater is the house of the voice, a space of sound, an architecture for the collective experience of the vocal. As both readers and speakers we cross between these dwellings and their twin immersions. The Theater is a Blank Page began in the condition of the theater’s cavernous volume and the spaciousness of a page. We remarked how reading simultaneously links the tactile sense of a book’s weight and the immediacy of the chair where we sit, to the far-away of the world found between its folds. We asked, “How can the near-at-hand and the far-away, intrinsic to this experience of reading, become a shared experience in the theatre?"
Photo by Brooke LaValley
Funds provided by Royce Center Circle Endowment Fund, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation multi-year grant for Collaborative Intersections in the Visual & Performing Arts and Deborah Irmas.
Additional funds were provided by Susan & Leonard Nimoy and the Good Works Foundation in support of the CAP UCLA Artists’ Fellowship program.
SITI Company and Ann Hamilton’s the theater is a blank page was commissioned by the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University under the auspices of its Wexner Center Artist Residency Award program.
the theater is a blank page was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds come from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Support was also given by the Rauschenberg Residency/Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.