Theater students use photography and performance to highlight society’s diversity


A shadow is cast on a projection screen during a scene of “Greyscale: Performing Across Difference” on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, during rehearsal in Marion Kleinau Theatre. The show will be held in Kleinau at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $7 or $5 with a student ID. (Branda Mitchell | @branda_mitchell)

By Diamond Jones

Students in the performing arts department will bring theatre and photography together in a Friday night production to highlight society’s similarities and differences.

“Greyscale: Performing Across Differences,” being performed at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in the Marion Kleinau Theatre, will use 11 scenes involving photography inspired by the late Ansel Adams to show the importance of creating and sustaining community. The production focuses on people within society relating with one another despite different morals and values, said Alex Davenport, writer and director of the production.

One of the things that drew us to the idea of the grayscale as an organizing concept was that it emphasizes both commonality and difference within itself,” Davenport said.


Davenport and co-director Ashley Beard, who have been in more than 50 productions together at SIU, sat through 10 hours of silent work to prepare for the show and process their thoughts on what it meant to create a community that works across differences.

During their meditation, they decided each cast member would have the opportunity to write a scene to utilize their behind-the-scenes skills.

“Something that the whole cast has learned is how to work through those difficult aspects of building a community,” Davenport said. “We’ve learned how to support each other while also holding one another accountable.”

The co-directors were particularly inspired by Ansel Adams’ zoning system, which Adams believed pushed people to notice the details and nuances.

Davenport said various principles of Adams’ zoning system are highlighted in the show. For example, each photo focused on shades of gray to “allow for the audience to see the big picture.”

“We offer a glimpse into our artistic process and the fruits of our collective labor,” Davenport said. “We hope to inspire people to be more creative in forging connections with people who are different from themselves.”

The performance contains mature themes. Tickets are $5 for SIU students and $7 for members of the public.


Campus reporter Diamond Jones can be reached at [email protected], 618-536-3325 or on Twitter @_dimewrites.

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