Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Stage, Conversation on the Mic: ICP at CoHo

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
Mary Oliver

These directives from Mary Oliver might describe the commitment undertaken by the students of the Institute for Contemporary Performance whose culminating performances will be seen at CoHo in Lost. Found., May 16 – 19. ICP is a year-long performance training program that involves not only achieving precision and clarity in thought, movement, and speech, but also consideration of the role of the artist in contemporary theatre. Inspired by such disparate sources as Mikhail Bakhtin, Maurice Ravel, Pina Bausch, Mary Oliver, and the IRS tax code, the final projects reflect the hard work faced by all artists of translating concept into reality and the personal into a shared experience.

To create for the audience a world “actually experienced, and not the merely thinkable world,” as Bakhtin suggests, the artists had to develop a communal vocabulary using speech, gesture, silence, repetition, and mythology, all the while keeping in mind the parameters of the performance space. In moving from theory to practice, they needed to consider, for example, what signals an audience needs, after entering a world of magic and wonder, to encourage exploration and participation. And also, how will the Styrofoam heads be mounted or removed? In another work, the artists deliberate about how much speech is necessary in a physical dialog. In another, the performers work to ensure that anguished screaming packs enough comic punch.

The results are by turns cerebral, physical, literal, ironic and sincere—an experience like no other. Where else, for example, would you find a presentation on financial responsibility become a dance of joy? The performances end with the exhortation to “keep making art,” to which the only appropriate response to ICP students and faculty is “keep making art matter.”

– Ellen Walkley (Dramaturg and CoHo Blog Contributor)

Learn more about ICP and the creative process for Lost. Found. on the Radical Listening Podcast!

Radical Listening is the new podcast from CoHo, hosted and produced by Phil Johnson with assistance from Clifton Holznagel, that seeks to engage with CoHo artists on a deeper level about their work and their place in the world.

This week’s conversation features ICP members Julia Brandenberger and Bayley Brown chatting about process, training, finances, high-fiving accountants, and more! Listen in below and get your Pay What You Will tickets for Lost. Found. today!

Radical Listening: In Conversation with Julia Brandenberger & Bayley Brown
Hosted by Phil Johnson & Clifton Holznagel.
If you enjoyed the show please comment @Philjohnsonlive (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook)
or visit for more content.

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