Our week of shadows continues here at What Weekly, as we now focus our attention to another production at the Theatre Project as part of QuestFest Visual Theater Festival.
Photo Credit: Gwenaelle Gobe
Last weekend featured four performances by California based Miwa Matreyek, whose bio describes her as an animator, designer, and multi-media artist. After experiencing her work, it is clear where all three of these components meet to create her unique shadow shows. The short but provocative evening actually consisted of two of Miwa’s shows, “Dreaming of Lucid Living” and “Myth and Infrastructure.”
I have had the privilege to watch a handful of amazing shadow performances lately, and Miwa’s was no exception. Her detailed and elaborate animations were perfectly timed to her live performance, which we witnessed only in shadow.
Photo Credit: Scott Groller
Her unique approach to this work utilizes two projectors—one in front of the screen and the other behind—both connected to her computer. This use of dual projections allows her to achieve a level of depth in her bizarre two-dimensional realm that I have really never seen accomplished before. At times, her shadow moves between buildings. At other moments, projected hands overlay on top of her shadow creating images that are confusing to figure out, but seem to make perfect sense within her world of dream logic.
Photo Credit: Scott Groller
Miwa is a graduate from CalArt’s Experimental Animation program, where she began to develop the style of works presented at the Theatre Project. CalArt’s is world-renowned for the multi-disciplinary approach it encourages its students to take when creating art. Miwa is a shining example of the brilliant work that can emerge from environment that encourages exploration and experimentation. Different from most other shadow shows, Miwa began to explore shadows after her interests in animation eventually led her to want to incorporate her body and live performance into the show.
After the show in a talkback session, Matreyek explains that her explorations of animation began from an interest in surrealist collage. It is clear from seeing her shows that surrealism is an inspiration in her life, and even the name of the second work “Dreaming of Lucid Dreaming,” is reminiscent of a surrealist inquiry.
Aside from her solo-work, Miwa also heads up a theater troupe in California where she collaborates with a variety of other artists to explore the ideas, mechanisms and aesthetics that we saw at the Theatre Project, in a larger form. Cloud Eye Control produces large scale shows utilizing multiple projectors, performers, and ideas to create immersive theatrical environments.
All in all, the Theatre Project once again delivers on its promise of being Baltimore’s year-round fringe festival. I look forward to my next trip, and have no doubt that I will be blown away once again!
QuestFest is a biennial international visual theater festival taking place in the Baltimore Area for the next two weeks. The 15 professional plays, with over 50 performances, will take place at Theatre Project, The Creative Alliance, and Joe’s Movement Emporium. QuestFest also features free workshops throughout the festival, a community showcase, and a full-day FreeFest at Galludet University.