Published: Feb 29, 2012 02:00 AM
Modified: Feb 27, 2012 05:22 PM
You've never been to a production quite like "Activated Art." You probably haven't ever attended a gallery showing quite like it either.
It begins in the lobby of the Ackland Art Museum, where the two dozen audience members gather before being led back through museum to a gallery room.
Paintings line the walls, and a small black sculpture stands on a pedestal. Allison Portnow, the Ackland's coordinator of events and programs, gives a brief welcome and then departs. For a few seconds it's silent and still. Just us and the security guard. Then a second security guard comes in. He's a little jumpy, apparently late for his shift. The two guards begin to talk ... and you realize you're watching a play.
It's called "Wisdom," written by Clyde Edgerton and inspired by that small sculpture on the pedestal, which is an 1889 piece by Jules Dalou called "Wisdom Supporting Liberty." "Wisdom" is one of four short and thoroughly engaging plays in "Activated Art," a terrific production created by Dana Coen, the acting director of the Writing for the Stage program at UNC.
Each of the four plays is inspired by art and performed in front of that work.
The Ackland will present "Activated Art" again this weekend, at 8 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. If we're lucky, the museum will go down this road again.
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