Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman are composing and performing movement-based theatre artists working professionally since the ‘70s and together since 1991, who apply complex composed structures to ordinary daily human behavior. Notated graphic scores often accompany their movement productions. In their collaborative work for theatre ‘natural-looking’ behavior is subjected to contortions, subversions and convolutions, letting ‘naturalism’ show its socially constructed face. They invent systems for organizing movement and speech in theatre, similarly to how new systems for organizing sound have been invented for composing music. Each theatre composition, utilizing a repertory of gestural-choreographic innovations invented by the duo, proposes a specific critical look at social life. These inventions include for instance a technique for the orchestration of instantaneous shifts of time and place in complex patterns, which they name ‘pivoting.’ One of their interests is to lay new ground for composing form in theatre in a way that makes ‘theatre composition’ closely analogous to music composition.

In addition to performing, we are engaged with communities locally and in South Korea in projects that bring young people through the process of imagining, creating and performing their own theatre. We have been conducting residencies at the Haja Center (Seoul Youth Factory for Alternative Culture) and their Haja Production School in Seoul, South Korea, beginning in 2007 and in 2009 we were featured artists and teachers for Haja in the 2nd international Seoul Youth Creativity Summit and Festival. We’ve conducted other projects for a week in Seoul for twenty professional actors in 2013 and 2014, a week in Jeju on Jeju Island in Korea with a community theatre group, and in Chicago this February for actors, directors and writers over two weekends.

We have been artists-in-residence at Haja in 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Each residency of 1-4 weeks has been built on daily workshops with a selected group of teens, with Haja Production School faculty involvement, sometimes with the Haja middle-school, and in 2013 for young children from low-income backgrounds. Haja Center and its Haja Production School were established in 1999 as an experimenting and innovating youth center by Yonsei University and the City of Seoul, in an effort to address the obstacles to opportunities for teens and youths resulting from the financial disaster among the “Asian tigers” in 1997. The emphasis is on invention, creativity, community, and resourcefulness. Each time our workshops culminated in a public performance by the group, who perform their own original theatre compositions of movement, gesture and dialogue on themes of importance to them.

Interests: Social Engagement

Company: Lisa Fay and Jeff Glassman Duo


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Urbana-Champaign, USA


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