Eggtooth awards grants, plans May online show

  • Eggtooth Artistic Director Linda McInerny STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/1/2020 2:08:49 PM
Modified: 5/1/2020 2:08:39 PM

Eggtooth Productions has figured out what a theater company can do in the midst of a global pandemic with classes canceled, venues closed and people staying at home — look for artists who are willing to respond to COVID-19 and share their work online.

Several weeks ago, local artists from Franklin and Hampshire counties were offered the opportunity to apply for eight mini grants of $250 to complete works that will be presented throughout May online via Facebook, Instagram and on eggtooth.org with the possibility of wider distribution.

The Greenfield-based theater company’s board asked for new artwork responding to the pandemic, including theater, dance, visual art, audio art, multimedia, animation, video and other forms, Artistic Director Linda McInerney said. She said the board encouraged experimentation and innovation.

“And find innovation, they did,” McInerney said.

The eight artists chosen cover a broad spectrum of art forms, she said.

Mini grant recipient Kate Hunter, of Greenfield, said, “I decided to try to find a way to combine my yearning for social interaction with my desire to create something beautiful and to document what was happening in our community.”

“I set out to photograph friends and neighbors in town from a safe distance, and the experience was like medicine for my soul. I imagine projecting our neighbors’ faces throughout buildings downtown, a memory book that would be a part of Greenfield's history, a slideshow set to spoken word by the participants and more,” Hunter said.

Recipient Katherine Adler of Greenfield said, “I will virtually lead a creative meditational practice called Artifacts of the Ephemeral.”

In that practice, an individual is presented with a prompt — score, meditation, prayer — and invited to respond in several ways. First, through an improvisational experience, allowing oneself to respond authentically to the original idea. Then to document the experience and finally, create “artifacts” of the “ephemeral” experience, Adler said.

Recipient Lori Holmes Clark, of Deerfield, wrote, “I imagine a video project called ‘Pockets of Peace and Privilege’ using dance, time lapse and stop-motion video to explore a human’s habitual impulses and how they have shifted or are in the process of shifting during social distancing protocol, pandemic awareness and global response.

“This video will combine choreographed dance phrases, domestic duties both inside a home and beyond, as well as exploration and tending to the natural environment surrounding the home. This video will specifically be from the perspective of the lead parent of two young children who also identifies as a teacher navigating a digital landscape, a farmhand, an administrator, a domestic goddess and a performing artist seeking to be useful during an unprecedented moment in our collective global experience,” she said.

Whitney Robbins, of Greenfield, also one of the recipients, said she is doing a series of portraits, painted and drawn, of members of the Stone Soup Café community in Greenfield.

“I have done a few already, but I’d like to do more,” she said. “I see turning the portraits into a series of posters with core values written on them. We can then hang these posters in our dining room, when we get back to eating together again, for all to enjoy and to inspire us all to uphold our community values.”

Jack Golden, of Leyden, will create a live performance that respects all social distancing standards while allowing for an intimate theatrical experience, “Welcome to Golden DriveIn Theater!”

He said the stage is a parking lot where the audience sit safely in their cars, or, weather permitting, on their cars. The new work, “Journeys,” uses physical clown, shadow play and improvisation and celebrates the multitudes that are within everyone. 

Other recipients include Hadley filmmaker Melissa McClung, Northampton playwright James McLindon and Gretchen Laise.

McLung will use video collage techniques and rotoscoping to explore themes of connection and isolation during a “strange and historic time.”

McLindon said COVID-19 has forced all theater to move online in a matter of a few weeks and theater artists are now trying to figure out how best to use the new media available to them.

“With this project, I am trying to move past a simple reading, or a play limited to circumstances in which the characters are using a medium like Zoom or FaceTime, to see whether we can make a piece of fully formed, fully realized theater online that can address a broad range of issues of concern to playwrights,” McLindon said.

Laise’s visual research project creates a “warm, stable place for my heart to stand in this time of dramatic daily social change” in a series of carpet-like images and objects inspired by moss, lichen, stone, soil, sticks and leaves, which evoke balance and naturalness in a time of change and overwhelming complexity, and address my struggle to understand scale, from a tiny virus to logarithmic scales of growth to a crisis that potentially affects every living human.

McInerney said each piece will be rolled out when it is ready. She said Eggtooth will announce each on Facebook, Instagram and its website.

She said a second round of grants is planned for June — a request for proposals will happen at the end of May.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.




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