Ghostbird Theatre Company
ONE ISLAND CONNECTS US ALL
“One Island,” the hybrid performance-installation piece from Ghostbird Theatre Company and FGCU’s Wasmer Art Gallery,
will feature performances on
June 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The installation will remain at the gallery until June 25
Visit Ghostbird Theatre Company for tickets
Early in the pandemic, a trio of FGCU luminaries came together. Dr. Jim Brock, professor in the university’s Department of Language and Literature, alumna Brittney Brady, who is based in California, and former instructor Kimberly Campanello, who lives in the U.K., met over Zoom for connection and collaboration. What arose from those early conversations is “One Island,” a hybrid performance-installation piece appearing at the Wasmer Art Gallery in June 2022. The show features interlayered vignettes, poems, songs, videos and soundscapes.
“I like to think of it like a collection of poems,” Brock explains. “As you move from one to another, you can have a completely new subject. Yet the work still registers the same note thematically and emotionally.”
“One Island” explores ancient history as a way to lend perspective on the current situation humans find themselves in. The performance turns around a central image—Pangea, the land mass formed when the continents drifted together roughly 335 million years ago. Evidence of this once-united continent is present today in the existence of trilobites, inch-long vertebrates whose fossilized remains can be found in such far-flung places as Florida, Morocco and Ireland. Brock sees them as “the vestigial remains that connect us to the very deep time of earth’s history.”
“One Island” speaks to the isolation, upheaval and displacement of the last few years, not just the pandemic but also the continuing climate crisis and now the war in Ukraine. The performance’s assorted pieces strive to capture the mood of this particular moment. “We explore our connections to ourselves and deep time, but also the alienation that defines our Anthropocene era,” Brock says. “Thinking about our own spirituality, our daily health, the state of the world today—it all feels fragmented and atomized. In building this performance, we wanted to capture that experience.”
Ghostbird Theatre Company was founded in 2012, and the company recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop “One Island.” Ghostbird focuses on immersive site-specific work, creating performances tailored to a particular space rather than a traditional stage setting. Past performances have been held at Koreshan State Park, the Langford-Kingston home in downtown Fort Myers and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Centre. “In a theater space, people come with certain expectations,” Brock says. Ghostbird seeks to challenge those expectations.
“One Island” soon expanded to include five more collaborators—Xiaoyue Zhang, Juliana Morgan Alvarez, Katelyn Gravel, Philip Huebeck and Carolina Vargas Romero. “We went into it with an openness to the process,” says FGCU alumna Brittney Brady, who has an MFA in directing from CalArts “It’s not a conventional performance piece with a person who writes the text and performers who perform it. We’re all generating material, we’re all contributing to a kind of archive. It’s been a way to cope with the last two years and the uncertainty of all of it.”
Uncertainty is a theme that runs throughout the performance. “We’re committed to staying in the questions,” Brady says. “We ask, how can we be very present in this unknowing place? How do we hold it all tenderly?”
Ghostbird’s performances leave its audiences with a spectrum of emotions that go far beyond what a traditionally staged play might elicit. “One Island” is no different. At times disorienting, at times hopeful, the piece strives to contain both our current state of upheaval as well as life seen through the longest lens—“layers of time and civilization, traces of eras that have come and gone,” Brady says. The experience is like reading poetry, as Brock said, or like sharing a collective dream.
“I dreamt last night of the show,” founding collaborator Kim Campanello wrote to the group in April. “The opening was a montage film of the sea and a boy talking about the sea. Then the sea was there in the gallery and the performers were in it and on the sand, stretched out, trying to speak to each other in the wind, feeling all the things that can be felt. There was danger in the atmosphere but also beauty.”
This feeling of “danger in the atmosphere but also beauty” is one of the many sensations “One Island” explores, distilling our collective experience of the last two years and returning to the connectiveness of humanity. It doesn’t seek a neat resolution but instead allows the story to remain in the questions. “We don’t know the end. We’re still very much in it,” Brady says. “Through our process we are committed to moving away from understanding.”
Visit Ghostbird Theatre Company for tickets
2022 - 2023 Special Event Offerings
FGCU STORYTELLING @ WASMER ART GALLERY
Experience the power of spoken stories, told live in the Wasmer Art Gallery at the Arts Complex. Stories surrounded by art! Join a performance by a professional storyteller or tell your story at the open mic community events. Personal stories, historical stories, folk tales, and more. Captivating and entertaining. FREE and Open to the Public. Sponsored by the Seidler Foundation and the Department of Language and Literature.
Visit fgcustorytelling.com for tickets
Location: Wasmer Art Gallery, Arts Complex
Time: 6pm – 7:30pm
Tue Sep 13 Open Mic Storytelling – Mountains
Mon Sep 26 FGCU faculty reading – Voices of the Mountain People
Tue Sep 27 *Josh Goforth – Folk Music of Appalachia: Banjo, Fiddle, Ballads, and more
Wed Sep 28 Josh Goforth – Stories and Songs from the Mountains of Appalachia
Thu Sep 29 Karen McElmurray reads from her Memoir: Voice Lessons
Tue Oct 18 Open Mic Storytelling – Medicine and Healing
Wed Oct 19 Storytelling Salon – FGCU professors speak on Medicine and Healing
Tue Oct 25 Regi Carpenter – Where there’s smoke, there’s dinner! Personal stories.
Wed Oct 26 Regi Carpenter – Snap! The true story of a teenager’s mental illness
Tue Nov 15 Open Mic Storytelling - Never Forget
Wed Nov 16 Dr. Joel Ying – Never Forget
Wed Nov 30 *Student Showcase – Storytelling as Healing
Tue Dec 6 *Open Mic Storytelling - Celebration
Tue Jan 31 Alton Takiyama Chung – History in the First Person
Wed Feb 1 Alton Takiyama Chung – Okinawan Memories of WWII
Tue Feb 14 Open Mic Storytelling - Love
Wed Feb 15 Storytelling Salon – FGCU professors speak on Love
Tue Mar 14 *Open Mic Storytelling - Scars
Tue Mar 28 Sheila Arnold – Stories of the Underground Railroad
Wed Mar 29 Sheila Arnold – Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and Social Justice
Tue Apr 4 Open Mic Storytelling – Adventure
Wed Apr 5 Dr. Joel Ying – Family Stories: From Jamaica with Love
Wed Apr 19 *Student Showcase – Storytelling as Healing
*Events may have alternate locations and times.
Visit fgcustorytelling.com for tickets
Previous Special Events
THE CONSERVATION OF PAINTINGS: HISTORICAL AND TECHNICAL DISCOVERIES
Fjelstul Art Lecture Series
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Is it true that a painting conservator is also a detective? According to conservator and art historian Barry Bauman, every painting has its secrets. During his 46 years of experience treating and analyzing
damaged paintings, he has uncovered many of them—lost signatures, hidden dates, and
entire paintings hidden beneath other works. Two of his discoveries were so phenomenal
they landed on the front pages of The New York Times. Barry Bauman is an Elected Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation and
former Associate Conservator of Paintings for the Art Institute of Chicago.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Senior Dance Major, Taylor Greco from Palm Beach Atlantic University will be presenting her dance performance live in the Wasmer Art Gallery. Her performance entitled "Art Essential" portrays her experience and connection to the Coronavirus pandemic. The piece has been created during her recovering from COVID-19. This work explores elements of spirit, fragility, and resilience in response to and inspired by the works of Heather Couch, Terre Rybovich, Marina Font, and Renee Rey seen in the exhibition 'When We See Further."