Visiting actresses to perform '10 Brecht Poems'

Two New York City-based actresses will bring 10 poems by German playwright and social critic Bertolt Brecht to life at 8 p.m. Oct. 16 in Hewitt Union ballroom at SUNY Oswego.

“10 Brecht Poems” was created and is performed by Tannis Kowalchuk and Leese Walker, who use a variety of performance styles to bring realism to each poem, including hand-painted slides, song, dances and props such as shadow puppets, to give a voice to the political topics of each poem.

Dr. Ana Djukic-Cocks, assistant professor of German, was instrumental in bringing the production to Oswego. She emphasized that all 10 poems will be in English and that the performance will be open and free to the general public.

“Poems are usually just read, never interacted. So I found it interesting and unique when I saw a show of these poems being acted out and interpreted using props and one’s imagination,” Djukic-Cocks said.

After seeing the twosome performance in Washington, D.C., in 2002, she said, she knew such a performance would be great for campus. She explained that with “a lot of e-mailing” and sponsorship assistance from other campus departments, her wish was granted.

Poems that will be performed include “In Darktime,” “When Evil-Doing Comes like Falling Rain” and “To the Students of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Faculty.”

“10 Brecht Poems” had extended runs at New York City’s Brecht Forum in 2003 and 2004 and has since toured to over 35 venues.

Kowalchuk and Walker are both prominent performers who, together and separately, have numerous experiences in acting and theatre work.

Kowalchuk is the director and co-founder of the North American Cultural Laboratory, an experimental theatre company. She has performed and toured internationally as an actress. She has played leading roles in plays such as “The Secret Storey.” Walker, like Kowalchuk, is the founder and director of a multidisciplinary company of performing arts. Her company is called Strike Anywhere.

The hour-long show Oct. 16 is sponsored by SUNY Oswego’s modern languages and literatures department, College of Arts and Sciences and Office of International Education and Programs. A discussion with the performers will follow.

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(Posted: Oct 02, 2007)