Partnership Project: McKnight Artist Fellow | Oct 11 - 30, 2015
Leaves of Grass – Uncut
Patrick Scully utilized his first residency at MANCC to continue his development of Leaves of Grass - Uncut, a theater/performance/dance work that brings Walt Whitman to life on stage. Scully was inspired to create a performance work on Whitman after reading Gary Schmidgall’s Walt Whitman: A Gay Life, which reveals a young Walt bursting out of the closet in the 1850’s and 60’s with his explicit, erotic poetry, and then spending much of the rest of his life swinging between furtive caution and his youthful openness and honesty. As a queer ancestor, Whitman is a man more than a century ahead of his time, whose work and life changed western culture, creating space for queer people to live their lives more freely, but whose own era forced him to write cryptically about his sexual attraction to other men and impeded his acceptance by US culture. Leaves of Grass - Uncut aims to claim the space for radical queer expression that Whitman began in the 1850’s and help people realize that their struggles to live life on their own terms, to fully claim all of their human rights, have historical precedents, going back not just to the Stonewall riots in 1969, but to more than a century earlier.
Working with collaborators Oscar Loeser and Clemens Kowalski of Berlin and Nancy Mason Hauser while at MANCC, Scully investigated how to reintegrate dance video from the original large cast version (18 male dancers) of the show, into a solo performance via video projection mapping. This solo “hi-tech” version is the third iteration of the work, following the large ensemble and the solo ”unplugged” version, which strips the work to its theatrical core. As part of his research in residence, Scully met with dance faculty Russell Sandifer to consult on technical components and FSU English professor, Dr. David Kirby to discuss Whitman and further explore the themes within the work. Scully also devoted significant time to working with dramaturg Ben Gunter to refine the script and performance. Scully and his collaborators tested the technical and performative aspects developed at MANCC through a public showing toward the end of the residency.
Leaves of Grass - Uncut premeired May 31 - June 2, 2016 at Dixon Place in NYC.
This residency was supported, in part, by a partnership with McKnight Choreographer Fellowships, funded by The McKnight Foundation and administered by The Cowles Center For Dance & The Performing Arts.
Collaborators in Residence: Oscar Loeser, Clemens Kowalski [Video Designers] and Nancy Mason Hauser [Videographer]