An "Invocation" and a celebration of "Earth!" to open UMass Theater's Rights of Spring Festival
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Successfully opening a festival that spans online and in-person events, not to mention different performance genres from installations to devised theater, needs to be marked with some sort of rite. Audience are invited to join UMass Theater in celebrating the start of our festival at Invocation + Earth! on April 22, starting at 7:15 outside on the Haigis Mall. (Registration is available through our festival website.)
The evening will begin with an Invocation. The Rights of Spring Festival, according to producer Judyie Al-Bilali, is meant to offer theater-makers and audiences alike an opportunity to consider the myths and stories we tell in our culture and to re-examine and redefine our values after a hard year of upheaval.
Flowing into the Invocation will be Atlas, a piece that is part of Monuments of the Future, a series of interactive performances taking place around campus throughout the festival. (More details about the Monuments series will be shared in a separate announcement and on our website.)
After the Invocation and Atlas, audience and performers alike are invited to join in a procession to the pond-side location where our Earth!, a 20+ foot-tall installation of a globe and related informational exhibits, will have its premiere at 7:45 p.m.
Over the past few years, Technical Director Michael Cottom has created a series of projects that demonstrate the benefits of merging of the STEM fields and Arts, aka STEAM. In this latest case, the project displays a blending of theater, sustainability, technical design, engineering, and building skills. A version of Earth! was first conceived last year for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but plans to actually build it were scuttled by the pandemic. It was reconceived this year. Originally planned to have an interior display area, the design is now viewable solely from the outside, with informational posters that will be illuminated and projected up onto the Earth.
In keeping with the spirit of Earth Day, which happens the day before our festival, this Earth! is sustainably built — the metal frame of the construction will be recycled into a turntable for the stage, and the fabric stretched over the frame is a reused parachute.
After its premiere, the Earth! installation will remain up for viewing beide the campus pond through the end of the festival — no registration is required for viewing.
Invocation + Earth! are part of The Rights of Spring, a theater festival presented by the University of Massachusetts Department of Theater to rebuild connections with each other and celebrate what matters in life. As winter thaws out, there is no better time to safely gather and spark joy together. Events run from April 22nd to May 2nd and are free to the general public with performances in person and online.
Invocation + Earth! are free to attend. Visit the Fine Arts Center Box Office to claim your spot in the audience of Invocation + Earth! and other Rights of Spring Festival events. There is a procession between the two events. If you are unable to participate in the procession due to mobility issues, please contact UMass Theater.