February 2, 2015
Las Vegas, New Mexico – Highlands University presents French playwright, actress and director Isabelle Kessler in a one-person theatrical performance Feb. 10 that gives the audience a chance to explore the active and artistic role they play as spectators.
“The Art of Being a Spectator” is a free public performance at 7 p.m. in the university’s Student Union Building Theatre at the northwest corner of National Avenue and 8th Street.
“There is nothing passive about being a spectator, and this performance essentially turns a mirror back to the audience,” Kessler said. “It asks viewers to examine their role as spectators at a personal and collective level. The show intends to start a conversation that asks audience members to think beyond “I like it/I do not like it” or “I agree/I disagree.”
Kessler’s performance is 45 minutes long and incorporates paintings, sculpture and other art works. The post-performance discussion asks the audience to reflect on what they have seen in the performance as well as the variety of media that surrounds them in their everyday life.
“It is a mistake to minimize the intense work of being a spectator. We hear, see, feel, decipher, understand, evaluate, analyze and more,” Kessler said.
She is known for a dynamic approach that engages audiences on both intellectual and emotional levels.
Kessler is a member of the international Society of Dramatic Composers and Authors and has written and directed nearly 50 plays during her 35 years in theatre. She toured with numerous theatre companies in Europe and also managed the Phenomene Tsé-Tse´theatre company.
Kessler was on the faculty at Télécom Paris Tech for 15 years, teaching classes such as body language and cultural shock.
She moved to New Mexico in 2000 and is currently the co-artistic director of the Albuquerque-based Loren Kahn Puppet & Object Theatre, a bridge between theatre, visual art, and puppetry.
The Highlands University Department of English is sponsoring “The Art of Being a Spectator,” with support from the Las Vegas Arts Council.
“This theatrical performance will be an interesting and unusual chance to think about our activity as spectators, and how that relates to our own creativity and artistic sense,” said English professor Donna Woodford-Gormley. “It is part of an ongoing commitment that the Department of English has to work with the Las Vegas Arts and Culture District.”
Woodford-Gormley said the event will encourage Highlands University students and community members alike to build their critical thinking skills and self-awareness.