Anne Bogart and members of the Saratoga International Theatre Institute (SITI) will soon be in residency at Utah State University conducting actor training workshops and seminars. The nationally acclaimed company will complete its residency with the performance of "The Medium."
"The Medium" will be presented May 11 at 8 p.m. in the Morgan Theatre of the Chase Fine Arts Center on the USU campus.Tickets are available at the Spectrum Ticket Office, the Information Desk of the Taggart Student Center (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and at the door. Admission is $8 for the public and $4 for all high school and university students with ID.
Bogart is widely considered to be a leader in expressionist, avant-garde theater and is a co-founder of the company, which is visiting Logan and Utah State University.
Under Bogart's direction, the SITI company develops new theatrical expressions using a variety of concepts as points of departure, according to company spokesperson Ruth Nightingale. For "The Medium," that point of departure is the writing of media critic Marshall McLuhan.
McLuhan is generally remembered as a hopeful proponent of the belief that electronic communications would knit an alienated world into an all-embracing global village, according to The New York Times.
In "The Medium," McLuhan's character has a stroke and is catapulted into the world of television.
"He is armed with a remote control as he moves through several TV formats talk show, dating game, family show. . .," Night-ingale explained.
The presentation is not, however, a linear progression or plot-oriented story as a more trad-itional play might be.
"Instead of dialogue being, `Hi honey, how was your day, Mikey's doing his homework . . . ' the TV characters are speaking the words and ideas of Marshall McLuhan: how media controls our lives, how we don't know it, and how we better wake up.
"He was writing these ideas 30 years ago. What is interesting is how relevant they are to our lives in 1996," Nightingale added. "He predicted things that are already happening, not the least of which is the Internet, the talking computer, non-fattening fat and no calorie sugar."
The New York Times describes "The Medium" as "a visual and aural collage that exists both in the Op-and-Pop past of McLuhan's hey-day and the present of virtual reality and a galloping communications industry that turns yesterday into instant nostalgia," and as a "vivid, surprisingly diverting piece of expressionist theatre."
"The presentation is very theatrical," she said. "The set is a white floor painted with brightly colored sharp shapes, an arch, four neon-colored chairs and a table which are arranged to signify the various settings."
Sound plays a vital role in the production. Sound designer Darron L. West worked with Bogart and the actors in the creation of the show. He incorporates everything from the sound of the remote control to '60s music to floor-rumbling bass and sounds, Nightingale said. "This is a loud show, an active show," she said.
"We feel very fortunate to have this opportunity," said USU theater arts department head Sid Perkes. "This is a chance to see a type of theater that is a rarity in Cache Valley or even Utah."