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Department ofTheatre and Dance

Charisma

Faculty Advisor: Kristin Kusanovich

Directed by Freya Helton

Fess Parker Studio Theatre

January 17–19, 2019

 Members of the Charisma group reflect on their lives in an intense exploration of spirituality and the arts that combines art, music, dance and the spoken word.

A Note from the Director

Charisma is an annual student devised performance which provides a space for students to explore their own spirituality and views about the world through the arts. Charisma relies on its cast to devise a compelling piece of performance art to communicate a vision discovered during an exploratory process, and this performance both reflects that process and exists without it as a freestanding work. It is a unique undertaking for students in that it encompasses approximately nine months of engagement, giving the cast sufficient time to build immense respect and trust, and therefore allowing us to “go deep,” share our vulnerabilities, and find our strengths. It has been a deeply rewarding process, and all of the steps that led us to this final series of performances are incredible to look back upon.

I have always believed in the power of stories. It’s the greatest reason I have found to pour myself into theatre, as a way of taking those stories and presenting them in a way that challenges hearts and minds to become more open to what they do not or can not understand at first glance. As collaborators and great friends -- with occasionally opposite views on the “answers” to spiritual questions -- it was important for us to cherish the mystery that came with creating this show, and emphasize the deep love we have for being in community with each other. Our show is a collection of stories, from experience and from imagination, that address mysteries of life, of death, of isolation, and of connection. We hope that you carry these stories with you, and allow yourself to grow wings.

Special thanks go to Kristin Kusanovich, without whom none of this would be possible, I am so grateful for all of our tea-fueled meetings, and all of the hugs. Thank you so much to the wonderful playwright Erik Ehn for kicking off this process with our silent retreat, which ended up being invaluable to our process, we are so grateful for the time you shared with us.

I would also like to deeply thank George Drance S.J., of Magis Theatre Company for all of his workshopping help, his wisdom, his kindness, and free refills. Thank you so much to Michael and Vickie Poitevin, Carolyn Silberman, former faculty advisor to Charisma, and Ted Biagini for their generous support that makes these and future performances possible. Warm thanks to all our designers, advisors, and crew for your invaluable hard work. Thank you to Gabby for your fantastic stage (meaning, of course, cast) management. Thank you to our fellow theatre students who never went home after mainstage rehearsals for making sure we didn’t sleep at all during fall quarter. Thank you to my mom, who is my hero. Most of all, I want to thank my cast, whose compassion, talent, intellect, and humor I have been so blessed by. I love you all so much!