Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ben Sota of Zany Umbrella Circus on Factory 14S: Party II

This summer's Factory 14s workshop at the Mattress Factory is an amazing opportunity for 14-18 year olds to really see behind-the-scenes at the Mattress Factory. Participants get to explore all of the exhibitions, meet incoming exhibiting artists, hang out with and learn directly about the creative process of an artist and use all of that inspiration to create their own work and performances. The Circus + Activism workshop is going to be a wonderful learning experience - but mostly it will be tons of FUN. To find out more or to register via e-mail, contact felice@mattress.org

In this second part of our series, Zany Umbrella Circus Artistic Director Ben Sota, who will be leading the Circus + Activism workshop from July 21-August 8, will share details about the program and why young people should enroll in the class. 



What was your experience of art in high school?
I had a wonderful art teacher named Chris Fetter at the Winchester Thurston School who owns Fetter Studio.  Mr. Fetter encouraged us to go to the Manchester Craftsman Guild and I learned a great deal in his sculpture class.  He really helped me question how I thought about space, objects in space and how sculpture is communicative.

Why is this class / workshop / Factory 14s experience going to be so great?

We will start by studying circus, pantomime, mask performance and physical theater and after learning fundamentals we will begin to work as theater devisers.

I am interested in examining how non-violent activism and performance art intersects.  How circus and theater have been used by Bread and Puppet Theatre, the San Francisco Mime troupe and more recently in protests in Cairo in December 2013, during the Arab Spring protests and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

This class will be responsive to the zeitgeist of today and students will also have an opportunity to design costumes, create video and examine how sound design influences theater and circus.

What is a sneak peak into just a few of the fun things you have planned for Factory 14s?

I will bring a portable tight wire and students will have a chance to learn the skills of a funambulist [a tightrope walker].  I spent three years studying mask performance and design in Italy. I want to use that knowledge to give students the chance to sculpt and build very detailed masks that they could probably sell for a couple zillion dollars.

Why should young adults sign up for this awesome class!?

Balance, flexibility, and creativity are necessary skills for the 21st century and this class probably will not be offered again so seize the day!

Read Part I of the interview series with Zany Umbrella Circus Artistic Director Ben Sota here.

No comments: