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Almanac 2016: Michael Fenlason and Strada Company (Tucson, United States)

Almanac 2016: Michael Fenlason and Strada Company (Tucson, United States)

American Noise
John Loki is a shock jock who has lost his job for saying things on the radio in opposition to the media company that owns the station. He is hours away from eviction and must find a job, a place to love, and possibly win back his performance artist girlfriend. Using a mashup of live music, standup comedy, wig heads,Pop Tarts, and performance art, John Loki finds in his dark night of the soul a light in the promise and hope of kindness and possibility. “The thing about being homeless in America is that it’s kind of like being rich in America. You’re your own boss. You travel a lot. You can do or say whatever you want. The only difference of course is that if you’re rich, people will actually listen.” John Loki struggles to understand his part in the great, distracting American Noise. This project is about relevance in art. The performance has occurred in large theaters and in living rooms.

Production History:
Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Geary Street Theatre, San Francisco; Mesa Arts Center, Arizona,; Beowulf Alley Theatre, Tucson, Arizona.


Artistic Statement:
It must be said that performance and the arts in general can be difficult in a place like Arizona, but like aloes and cacti, uncompromising things grow in harsh climes. Michael Fenlason began in Phoenix creating The Unlikely Theater, a company that performed original pieces of theatre and performance art and then donated the proceeds to other socially committed nonprofit charities, like food banks and crisis nurseries, as well as environmental and human rights groups. Working with Tucson, Arizona’s Beowulf Alley Theatre, Michael created and produced the play Word Clouds about a tragic shooting for which he was honored by the American Association of Community Theater for far-reaching impact on theater. His production of Joan s Burning was created in support of Planned Parenthood and his company was the first to perform 8 the Play for the benefit of marriage equality in Arizona. With productions in New York, London, San Francisco, San Diego, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Michael started Strada Company in 2014 to create political, (economic, sexual, partisan) visual content for the web and live performance.






Photo by: Michael Fenlason

This post is part of a series of profiles on performance and performance makers from this year’s book, Contemporary Performance Almanac 2016, an overview of contemporary performance presented during the 2014/2015 season available for touring now. If you would like to be apart of next year’s book, Contemporary Performance Almanac 2017, you can join the project here. 


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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.

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