Nitery Experimental Theater (NExT) aims to present bold and relevant performance meant to challenge, transform, and cultivate meaningful artistic expression. NExT is also committed to diverse communities, aesthetics, and politics that exist within the Stanford community. By building connections between student-artists and the Department of Theater and Performance Studies, NExT intends to foster performance as an integral forum for community conversation. Performance at NExT may be raw, political, provocative, or even playful. NExT is not a new home for performance; NExT uses performance to make Stanford a new kind of home.
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NExT Welcomes The Asian American Theater Project's mary magdalene, daughter, boatperson,
a play by Diana Khong, this May.
Mary Magdalene, Daughter, Boatperson is a two-act experimental play; is a Vietnamese ghost story; is a grief poem that asks: when a light goes out, what words still linger? Following the death of their mother, three siblings—Mercy, Jimmy, and Joy—spend considerable time indexing their grief. Mercy finds refuge in take-out containers, late-night suicide hotline calls, and foul-mouthed grandmothers quick to take her under their wing. Jimmy comes to terms with his sexuality, now freed from the constraints of his traditional upbringing. And Joy—well, Joy’s never been good at forgetting. While Mercy and Jimmy ascend—more or less—out of their grief, Joy becomes obsessed with the idea of following her mother through life and into death after an encounter with a goblin (in the form of an Asian grandmother) who informs her that her mother has gone to hell. So she follows her down.
An exploration of generational memory, queer futurity, and what it means to imagine a decarceral future (both in this world and the next), this work will debut for the first time onstage as the Asian American Theater Project’s Spring 2022 Mainstage Production.
NExT Welcomes Antigone: A New Trans Play,
by JJ Sutton, to the Nitery theater this February.
Antigone: A New Trans Play is JJ Sutton’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone. The play explores the themes of life, death, rebirth, family, mourning, loyalty, and duty present in the original through a queer lens.
Four shows will take on at the Nitery Theater on
2/3 at 8pm, 2/4 at 8pm, 2/5 at 2:30pm, and 2/5 at 8pm!
Tickets are free and reservation-based. Mask and Health Check (or vaccination proof/negative COVID test) required.
Please contact director JJ Sutton and producer Grace Davis at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with any accessibility concerns or general questions!
NExT Welcomes The Asian American Theater Project with Among the Dead, a play by Hansol Jung and produced by Evelyn Kuo this November.
Ana, a young Korean American woman, travels to Seoul in 1975 to retrieve her deceased father’s ashes. Discovering her late father’s journal, Ana ventures into the past with the help of none other than Jesus. In 1944, she finds herself in the shoes of a Korean woman who introduces herself as Number Four, a “comfort woman” for the Japanese imperial army. Number Four meets Luke, a young American soldier, in the battlegrounds of Myanmar. A year later, Ana is born. This is the story of a family forged by war, broken promises, and divine intervention.
On AATP: Founded in 1978, the Asian American Theater Project is dedicated to cultivating a space that empowers artists and audiences to engage with issues affecting the API community (including, but not limited to, discussions of identity, race, and representation), facilitate discussions of these issues within the larger Stanford community, and participate in the imagination and creation of a more equitable, just world through the language of theater.
How might freedom complicate, shift, or illuminate feelings of renewal and home? Freedom as artistic praxis allows us to experiment and create with ease and flexibility. We are continuing to find exciting and unconventional ways to connect, share art, and build community throughout this global pandemic. Our choice to forge ahead amid uncertainty ignites our vision for the NExT 2021-22 season: Open House. In the spirit of openness and with freedom at the epicenter, we invite the Stanford community to be courageous, bold, and daring. We’re seeking diverse works and performances that explore various kinds of art, issues, and themes. This season is an opportunity to bring forth artistic experiences, either virtual or in-person, that showcase the Stanford community’s brilliance, creativity, and diversity as we embark on a new landscape of artmaking. Therefore, we invite you to participate in a season of OPENness through a HOUSE, a home that continues to operate as a welcoming space for experimentation, artistic leadership, and growth.
Danielle (she/her/hers) is a PhD candidate in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford. Before arriving at Stanford, Danielle was working as an artist-writer and a teaching artist in Europe and in the United States. She has performed and premiered her original works in exhibition, screening, theater and concert venues internationally, including her two feature-length video works. At Stanford Danielle's research concerns technologies of sound, understandings of labor, and practices of listening in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is excited to explore the possibilities of a hybrid season at the Nitery this year.
Tim (he/him/his) is a scholar-activist and multi-disciplinary artist with intersecting research interests in race, technology, sexuality, aesthetics of risk, and socio-political choreographies. He is primarily interested in the Black male body in undervalued performance and technological citizenship-making practices. Prior to Stanford, Tim earned an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University, a BA in English, and a BA in Drama from Morehouse College.
Marie (she/her/hers) is a junior majoring in Film and Media Studies - specifically Screenwriting, with minors in Comparative Literature and Communications. On campus, she sings in Stanford Talisman, is involved with Theater Lab, and spends the rest of her time resting with friends and writing what are mostly silly poems.
Genevieve (she/her/hers) is a frosh who is planning to double major in Biology and Theatre and Performance Studies. Before arriving on campus, she attended the National Theatre Institute where she performed, wrote, directed, and experienced her first theatre tech classes, developing a particular passion for lighting design. She spends most of her time posting pictures of her one-year-old dog, laughing with her partner, and baking delightful treats for her family.
PAST PRODUCTIONS (2020-21)
Hundreds of years ago, in the town of Corozal, Puerto Rico, a young woman named María drowned her children and then herself in a nearby river after hearing of her Spanish husband’s infidelity. To this day, her spirit wanders the streets of the town as she searches endlessly for the souls of her missing children, weeping as she walks. With the classic Latin American folktale as its backdrop, La Llorona is a horror musical set in early 2000’s Puerto Rico, inspired by the sounds of the Puerto Rican countryside and the ghosts of the island’s past. Still living with her son, Gaby, in her hometown of Corozal, Elena finds herself in the process of re-branding her public image. Once a volleyball legend in her town, Elena has retreated into a more private life, now beginning to explore herself as a singer and musician as she recovers from a troubled and traumatic past. This recovery is cut short, however, when news of her ex-husband’s death becomes the talk of the town. Some townsfolk begin to spread rumors that Elena was responsible for his death, while others are convinced of a ghostly presence haunting the town. As Elena’s past starts catching up to her, she and Gaby must try to make sense of this curse that’s surrounding them before it’s too late.
When George Balanchine came to America and forged the foundation of American ballet, he placed thinness on a pedestal, and sang of whiteness and collarbones and delicacy. I have struggled to feel at home in an industry whose teachers and consumers prescribe unattainable standards to my body. Misunderstanding and mishandling of my anatomy have accompanied me throughout my journey in dance from amateur to pre-professional, obstructing the healing power of my practice.
My project is speaking to the women who are most often denied care. I listened to the stories of black women who work professionally in dance, and I used their experiences to drive my choreography; their words have been carefully crafted into a soundscape that accompanies the piece, much like what you saw in the beginning. This project is a synthesis of auditory and performative mediums, as well as storytelling in the most intimate sense. This project addresses the reading of the Black ballerina’s body, a body perennially denied love and care. It is my way of reconciling the loss and the heart break, but also embracing the overwhelming joy of being a black woman in dance. Welcome to Black Bones.
Acknowledgments: None of this would’ve been possible without the support of the Honors in the Arts program and Nitery Theater. These programs lent me artistic freedom, without which I couldn't have made Black Bones, and I will never forget their patience and encouragement. I also want to recognize some important people: Barbara Nerness, Anna Kimmel, and Jessi Piggott have been by my side since day one, helping me shape my vision and bring it to life. None of this would have been possible without them, and I couldn’t be more grateful.
** Inertia is supported by the program in African and African American Studies, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, and the Committee on Black Performing Arts. **
Inertia gestures to Newtonian laws of motion as a metaphor for our current moment. “Objects at rest tend to stay at rest and objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.” Right now, we're in a prolonged motion of continuous suffering: from the surging wave of the pandemic, the percussive drumbeat of antiblackness, and a throbbing ache that comes from the inability to purge this dis-ease. These forces seem unstoppable. Inertia is an examination of how we can provide an outside force to disrupt those homeostatic forces in our lives that are continuous yet very important to be upset.
Inertia is a multi-artist collaboration that invites audiences to reflect on the intergenerational performances shaping our past and to participate in new performances for our collective future.