Race, class, gender and identity are explored and transformed in “My Case is Altered: Tales of a Roaring Girl,” playing at Willamette University Oct. 23-24.
Bobby Brewer-Wallin, associate professor of theatre, has worked as the play’s designer and collaborator for more than a year. Professional peers introduced him to the work, which he describes as having evocative visuals and rich text.
For Brewer-Wallin, the work demonstrates Willamette University Theatre’s commitment to solo performance and diversity.
“The performance challenges the audience to consider their preconceived notions about an actor performing outside and beyond her normative roles,” he says. “It explores ways a person is seen and what happens when those roles don’t meet expectations — or when others don’t see us as we see ourselves.”
During the solo performance, guest artist Lisa Gaye Dixon assumes roles not typically assigned to black women, from Queen Elizabeth I to Julius Caesar. She also investigates her relationship to topics ranging from Shakespearean sonnets and hip-hop music to American football and classical theatre.
Work for “My Case is Altered” began in New York in 2013, followed by two-week residencies at Goldsmiths College London, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and now Willamette University. Collaborators hope to take the performance to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival within the next two years.
Lisa Gaye Dixon began her career with the Steppenwolf Theatre Co. in Chicago. She has since performed with numerous theatre companies around the world, including the Royal Shakespeare Co. and the New Globe Theatre in London. An associate professor of theatre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dixon has directed several productions that address experiences universally shared across racial, cultural, sexual and economic lines.
Straun Leslie is the London-based director of “My Case is Altered” and is directing the production at Willamette University. He worked as head of movement at the Royal Shakespeare Co. for five years, ending in 2013. He’s also worked on more than 150 productions in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States as a movement director and choreographer in theatre, opera, devised work and classical plays.
“My Case is Altered” is showing in the Willamette University Pelton Theatre Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $15 per person. Season ticket holders are entitled to two tickets for the price of one.