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Work Samples

BATS! Dr. M with Genny (short for generalized anxiety)

Michele Minnick BATS!
From "BATS!" conceived, written and performed by Michele Minnick, created by Michele Minnick, Glenn Ricci, Ursula Marcum, Caitlin Bouxsein, Jess Rasp, with original drawings by Chelsea Demitras. Premiered at The Marquee Lounge at Creative Alliance, Baltimore. Photo by Glenn Ricci

Vital Matters

Vital Matters
Vital Matters is a devised work engaging participants' and audiences' relationship to self, other, and the non-human world in a time of climate crisis. An investigatory process framed by environmental theatre and somatic practices, it premiered at Kennesaw State University in 2019, with material created by 8 undergraduates and directed by Michele Minnick. The KSU project serves as a prototype for future iterations in other communities, which will each shape it in unique ways. In this image, audience members participate in a water ritual created by students. Photo by Kenehan Shotwell.

Lamatown

Lamatown
Lamatown, a play by Clotilde Tavares with original songs and music by Gabriel Soto. Co-directed by Henrique Fontes and Michele Minnick. This new play, a satirical fable about corruption, played in three different outdoor venues in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, in 2014, supported by a grant from NatalemCena. During the first two weeks of rehearsal, Minnick trained the performers in the Rasaboxes and other techniques, which served as the basis for developing the play's larger than life characters, and for performing outdoors.

Sotoba Komachi Ballroom Men and Women.jpg

Sotoba Komachi
Sotoba Komachi, directed and choreographed by Michele Minnick at James Madison University. Set by Richard Finkelstein, lighting by Emily Becher-Maceever, Costumes by Pamela Johnson, Sound by Nathan Leigh. Photograph by Richard Finkelstein.

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About Michele

Baltimore City

Michele Minnick's picture
Michele Minnick, PhD, C.M.A., is an artist, teacher, and researcher of theatre, performance and somatic practice. She creates and performs original solo and ensemble works, directs plays, and brings the tools of performance into everyday life. Her ongoing interdisciplinary process engages ritual, theatre, performance art, contemplative practice and the social and physical sciences in order to investigate realities we take for granted, and to heal and build community around experiences that are often... more

BATS!

BATS!, a solo work which premiered at the Marquee Lounge, Creative Alliance, in Baltimore in 2018, is a multimedia performative contemplation of fear and madness in American culture, structured by personal experiences of psychosis, anxiety and depression. The piece was produced by Submersive Productions (of which Michele is an associate artist), and features sound and video projection by Glenn Ricci, puppets, object and environment design, and puppetry by Ursula Marcum, original drawings by Chelsea Demitras and original text and songs for accordion and voice by Michele Minnick. The piece was performed for audiences of 20-28 people in the intimate space of a small bar. Michele's performance persona, Dr. M., (who, like Michele, is a doctor of philosophy), engaged audience members directly throughout the show about their experiences, moods, and sense of what is real.

  • Audience w Emoticons

    Dr. M. asks the audience to rate their mood
    Periodically, Dr. M. asks the audience to rate their mood, by choosing or creating emoticons. Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • Song: Strange Thoughts

    Song for accordion and voice: Strange Thoughts, sung by Dr. M
  • BATS! History of Madness Chalkboard

    Dr. M offers some background on the history of what is now known as "bipolar disorder." Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • History of Madness Overhead

    Dr. M. shares images of devices used to contain the mad
    As part of the History of Madness lecture, Dr. M. gives examples of devices designed to contain mania in the physical body. Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • BATS Lithium Song

    Dr. M. sings and plays Lithium Song on the accordion
    Dr. M. sings Lithium Song, an 8 minute humorous waltz detailing the history of lithium. Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • Dream Autopsy Bat

    Dream Autopsy Bat
    The strange doctor pulls objects from Dr. M's body while she is asleep. This one is a bat. Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • BATS! Sucking Poison.jpg

    Sucking out the Poison
    A moment at the hospital during Michele's psychotic episode, in which she could feel that she was sucking the poison out of the environment and the people around her, transmuting it. This crawing, by Chelsea Demitras, is part of a series of drawings that were incorporated into a short video by Glenn Ricci, that played at about the midpoint of the show, after Dr. M experiences a "break."
  • Minor Depressio Puppet

    M.D., or Minor Depression Puppet (A Marionette)
    M.D., or Minor Depression Puppet (A Marionette). Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • Lifting Bats

    The audience releases their paper bats
    At the end of the show, audience make paper bats and hang them in the air to release their fears. Photo by Glenn Ricci.
  • BATS! - Book of Mad

    This video was created from images drawn by Chelsea Demitras based on actual moments during Minnick's experiences of madness. Glenn Ricci created the sound and video editing. The video played on a screen at one end of the bar in a moment of "emergency," in which Minnick's lecture on the history of madness leads to a "break."

Lamatown

Lamatown, a new play written by Clotilde Tavares, with music by Gabriel Souto, was co-directed by Henrique Fontes and Michele Minnick as part of NatalEmCena, a municipal grant for the production of plays in multiple outdoor locations in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil in 2014. Michele led the cast through a 2-week Rasaboxes workshop at the beginning of rehearsal, developing a vocabulary for the creation of the larger-than-life characters, and tools for shaping scenes which had to project in outdoor spaces.

Vital Matters

Vital Matters originated with an ensemble of students at Kennesaw State University in the fall of 2019. It is an ensemble laboratory for exploring our relationship to ourselves, each other, and the non-human world in this moment of climate crisis. We use the environmental/immersive theatre framework of The Performance Workshop (originated by Richard Schechner), and Somatic Movement approaches such as Jamie McHugh's Somatic Expression to enable deeply embodied engagement with existential as well as immediate social and political questions. It also draws upon the ideas in the Climate Lens Playbook, a working document developed by Una Chaudhuri and others dedicated to exploring the ways performance can address climate change. In this pilot version of the project at KSU, we invited our audiences to share some of the questions we had been exploring for ourselves. The basic framework of Vital Matters, which addresses both local and global aspects of climate change, can be adapted to different communities in different environments.

A core practice of The Performance Workshop is the Rasaboxes, a form of actor training based in the classical Indian theory of "rasa." I have been developing and teaching this work for the past 20 years, and find it particularly relevant to this project, which engages us directly in our relationship to the earth and the elements. Rasa means juice, flavor, or essence, and in the wellness and culinary practices of Ayurveda, pertains to the tastes of foods, their elemental qualities, and their capacities to balance our physical, mental and emotional selves. In theatrical context, rasa refers to aesthetic enjoyment--specifically, the flavor of emotions performed and savored by performers and spectators. Rasaboxes training offers a playground for performers to investigate, express and apply the eight basic emotions (and their combinations) described in the Natyashastra through body, breath, voice and movement. Engaging with the full palette of rasas, including the ninth rasa, shanta (an opportunity to practice peace and equanimity) in the context of work with climate change provides opportunities for experiencing and expressing all the vital energies that allow us to sense, feel, and express our relationship to the material with our whole being.

Vital Matters is about what is vital in both senses of the word; what makes us feel alive and gives us the necessary energy to move, act, and relate in a time that can be paralyzing and isolating, and what is most important and urgent right now. Rather than address this urgency through the business as usual intensities of politics and activism, this project is an invitation to slow down, connect with self, other, and the natural world. The rhythms and textures of water, air, earth, trees and stones, the smell of essential oils, the taste of home cooked foods open up a space within the chaos to remember what "home" is to us, what is sacred to us, to connect with one another through our differences.

The performance at KSU, which took place in a large dance studio, was based around a combination of personal material students generated during The Performance Workshop and research on climate change. The 50-minute experience unfolded in an immersive environment that included both group performance and intimate experiences the performers created for 3-5 audience members.

LUNGS

Lungs, by Duncan Macmillan, directed by Michele Minnick at The Kitchen Theatre, Ithaca, NY. This play follows the life of a couple (She and He) from the moment they first start discussing the possibility of having a child to the end of Her life, when He is already gone. It is clear that environmental degradation and climate catastrophe are the backdrop of the lovestory. For this play, which is written without any indication of time or setting, and which involves radical shifts from one life moment to the next-for example from a heartwrenching breakup to their first reunion several years later-the Rasaboxes served as an essential framework for making quick transitions between emotional states and moments in time. The staging was breath and movement-based, a choreography of intimacy over many years.

Kid-Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh

Kid-Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh by Jordan Harrison, Directed by Michele Minnick at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), 2013. Set by Greggory Schraven. Lights, sound and projections by Adam Mendelson . Costumes by Rebecca Eastman. Kid-Simple tells the story of Moll, a girl inventor who wins the school science contest with her noise machine, only to have her invention stolen by an evil shape-shifting mercenary. What follows is the fable of her adventures to save sound as we know it. The play requires over 1,000 live Foley sounds, and all actors except those playing Moll and the Narrator, to play multiple roles. We used the first week of rehearsal to do a Rasaboxes workshop, which gave us tools for creating each character, and shaping the mood of each part of the play.

ReDress

ReDress is a solo work commissioned by Vertice Brasil, a Florianopolis-based branch of the Magdalena Project, an international network of women theatre and performance artists (https://themagdalenaproject.org/). It was first performed at the Vertice Brasil festival in 2012, under the title "Mulher, Sem Titulo," (Woman, Untitled). I have since performed it in Ecuador, Uruguay, and Natal, Brazil.

Born of my personal frustration with gendered street harrassment, and my pedagogical urge to address my undergraduate students', particularly my female students' cynicism and dismissal of feminism as a thing of the past, I created ReDress as a way to bring attention to connections between verbal sometimes seemingly "harmless" harrassment on the street and the continuum of violence against women.

The performance always takes place in a public square or other public place of foot traffic and meeting. It begins with an image, of myself, in a red dress, red heels, white sweater and hat, sometimes coat, and a suitcase, walking onto the scene and setting up my space. Once I have made a circle around myself with corn meal or a similar substance, and set up my things, I gather a crowd around the circle and explain to them with written signs what I'm doing there. I've come to make visible the everyday violence of street harrassment, and do so by inviting the women in the crowd to step inside the circle and write things that have been said to them in public places that made them feel violated, lesser, afraid.

I end the piece by having the audience (men and women) write hopes for the future, which I pack up in my suitcase. Before I leave the scene, I tell them that this is a performance I do not want to do, but that I will keep doing until it is no longer necessary. I leave them with my calling card, and invite them to take some for their own use, to inspire their own resistance. With each iteration I have also become interested in how this figure, the woman dressed elegantly with nasty comments written all over her body, then interacts with the local landscape. I have enlisted photographers to document me in different parts of the city.

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