Kleinau holds “The Wolf Inside” and “Slant”

By Jacob Pierce |@JacobPierce1_DE |Daily Egyptian

The Marion Kleinau Theater is giving audience members two shows for the price of one, monetarily and thematically.  

At 8 p.m. on March 3 to 5, the theater is presenting a double bill, a performance of two separate stories. One is “The Wolf Inside” written, co-directed and performed by Savannah Palmer and co-directed by J.J. Ceniceros. The other is “Slant” written and performed by Ashley Beard and co-directed by Beard and Craig Gingrich-Philbrook.

“The Wolf Inside” uses the mythos of werewolves to talk about visible and invisible disability. In “Slant” themes include storytelling and true stories, all through the venue of various stages of Beard’s life.

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Beard, a doctoral candidate in performance studies from Los Angeles, said this one-woman show presents a lot of internal risk, but it is a performance she has to do.

“I have a commitment as an artist and as a performer to living that way,” said Beard, who goes by the stage name A.B.

The first act of “Slant” presents Beard’s life as a clumsy child, she said. There is a lot of falling throughout the show. The second act is about falling from religious grace, she said. Then the third is about her coming out.

It is important to tell stories about people’s identities, Beard said. The topics of this show are ideas people may not want to hear. A performer has to put themselves out there, even if they end up failing, she said.

Both of the shows on the double bill relate to the idea of identity.

“One is Savannah’s identity as a person with invisible disability,” she said. “Then there’s me as a person who is trying to sort of navigate these various identities.”

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Palmer, a master’s student in communication studies from Alabama, agrees, saying the performance are a bit about storytelling — a common theme in the performers’ work.

“It will be an interesting experience to see, in the same setting, same theater, same night, back to back our different methods of storytelling,” she said.

“The Wolf Inside” takes Palmer’s own personal narrative, being an individual with Lupus, and uses werewolf myths to explain it, she said. The disease is something inside, and the werewolf is a legend based on something on the inside coming out.

Palmer collaborated with director Ceniceros on the project. Even with all the personal aspects floating around, it was good to be there with someone, she said. There are a lot of rough experiences throughout the performances, even as someone who has come to terms with the disease, Palmer said.  

“We sort of jive artistically,” she said.

Ceniceros, a master’s student in communications studies from Perryton, Texas, said the process of helping a solo show was different, but more personal. It combines the best of two people.

“There is so much more of a professional and personal growth to it,” he said.

He said he came in as a voice from the outside. This was someone else’s life story, and he was asked to look at the bigger picture of the show.

His job was a lot of staging patterns of the show, Ceniceros said. This involved finding the aesthetic of the written word and translating it onto the stage.  

“Through reading her story and seeing her perform it, we were able to collaboratively combine the themes of the show,” he said.

The performances, which involve mature themes, are $7 and $5 for students. 

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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