Killian Manning/NoForwardingAddress premieres “Uncle Sam Wants YOU!” at 8 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 1) through Sunday (Nov. 5) at Living Arts Collective, 410 W. Geer St., Durham as the kick-off for Durham Independent Dance Artists’ (DIDA) fourth season.
Tickets: $18 general public; $10 students, seniors & military.
To purchase tickets, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/e/uncle-sam-wants-you-tickets-38194620137
Also, for the first time this season, the DIDA Book Club offers a free, public “read” discussion-wise of the season’s performances on the Wednesday after each choreographer’s performance run. These discussions take place at 6:30 p.m. at bar Brunello, 117 E. Main St. Durham, 27701.
Producing artists will not be at these discussions.
The first discussion on Wednesday, Nov. 8, focuses on Killian Manning’s “Uncle Sam Wants YOU!”
“Uncle Sam Wants YOU!” Preview
By SUSAN BROILI
Chapel Hill-based choreographer Killian Manning had bad dreams about it, saw some of her UNC-G students affected by it and, because of it, even questioned the idea of how to be patriotic. Then, she decided to use it as inspiration for her 19th dance theater work: “Uncle Sam Wants YOU!”
“How can I be patriotic to my country with all this madness is going on,” Manning said, of current politics – the “it” of her inspiration.
And, she came up with a solution. “I can believe more in the American democracy [founded by our forefathers that includes] the idea that all people are created equal,” Manning said in the phone interview.
“I want to right all the wrongs,” the choreographer said of divisive acts committed by the Trump administration that include the ramped up activities of ICE (U.S. Department of Homeland Security Immigration & Customs Enforcement) and the rescinding in September of this year of DACA (Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals). Established by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA recipients, known as “Dreamers” could obtain a work permit and also receive help in order to pursue higher education. Under DACA, some 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children were safe-guarded from deportation.
“So many of my students are first-generation (U.S. residents). A student told me: ‘My mom has been called up by ICE. I’ve got to go home,’” Manning recalled.
“In Uncle Sam Wants YOU!”, Manning deliberately assembled a diverse, 12-member cast – something she has done since the very first work she created in 1988: “Father’s Day in American,” she said.
The current cast ranges in age from 16 to 55, cover a wide range of occupations, and are diverse in race, sexual orientation – and height, Manning said.
In some sections of the new work, this diversity signals the kindness and inclusiveness also demonstrated during the creation of the work as a whole, Manning said.
In other parts, Manning pulls no punches. “A couple of sections are clearly critical of the way America has failed to meet some promises. [In one such section}, “We strip the Statue of Liberty of her robes and use those robes to morph into clothing representing populations against whom discrimination is rampant and then further morph the robes into gags, handcuffs and nooses,” she added.
In one of her dreams, prompted by the chaotic political scene under Trump, “People are crawling on the ground trying to be let in or trying to get out. It says to me that our situation is untenable: fighting to get in and fighting to get out shows how our politics are overwhelmed by conflict.
“I think our mixed feelings about our country play a huge part in defining the tensions within sections of “Uncle Sam Wants YOU!”, the choreographer said.