A Toss, for Theater Piece No. 1 - Leap Before You Look Performances


1:30 PM to 4:30 PM

Wexner Center for the Arts, The

1871 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43210

(614) 292-3535

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A Toss, for Theater Piece No. 1 Leap Before You Look Performances Sun, Nov 6, 2016 1:30 PM Sun, Nov 6, 2016 3:30 PM Associate Professor Richard Fletcher enlists fellow Ohio State faculty and graduate students to reimagine Theater Piece No. 1, perhaps the most legendary performance staged at Black Mountain College. Often referred to as the first Happening, the multilayered, multidisciplinary event was initiated by composer John Cage in August of 1952. During lunch one day in Black Mountain's communal dining hall, Cage proposed that various teachers and students reconvene there later that evening to contribute their talents to participate in a fairly spontaneous performance that utilized parameters Cage conceived in dialogue with fellow composer and pianist David Tudor. With the help of choreographer Merce Cunningham, visual artist Robert Rauschenberg (then a student at Black Mountain), and poets Charles Olson and M.C. Richards, among others, Theater Piece No. 1 (as it was subsequently known) combined in unexpected ways music, dance, a lecture by Cage, poetry, a painting, projected films, and even an impromptu appearance by a dog. This early piece of performance art has since achieved iconic status, despite the absence of any actual documentation of the occasion. A faculty member in the Department of Classics with a keen interest in the history of pioneering arts experiments, Fletcher aims not to recreate Theater Piece No. 1 with his colleagues (which is patently impossible) but to use this breakthrough performance as a point of departure in making their own multidisciplinary event-summoning its spirit in their own way.