The 2015 Naked Stages fellows are: Marisa R. Carr, Junauda Petrus, and Eliza Rasheed. The three artists were chosen by a panel of artists including Naked Stages Mentor Sharon Brigforth, Naked Stages Alum Mire Regulus, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent Artistic Director Fres Thao, and Pillsbury House There staff Corrie Zoll.
Last year, Naked Stages implemented changes where only two of the three fellowships will be for performance work. This year, Carr and Rasheed will perform their work over the course of two weeks (December 10-19, 2015) while a Petrus will create an installation in the Pillsbury House + Theatre building that will be open to the public overlapping the December performances.
About the Fellows
Marisa R. Carr
Marisa R. Carr is a composer and playwright. She is an Associate Artist with New Native Theatre and a Collaborator with The Unit Collective. In fall of 2014, Marisa wrote and acted in the play Reconciliation co-presented by Intermedia Arts and Pangea World Theater. Multidisciplinary artist, activist, educator, and youth mentor, Marisa Carr uses art to raise awareness, pose questions, and tell the stories that matter, and she advocates for art as a vital tool for young people to engage, mobilize, and speak up. She was voted “Best New Political Playwright” by Lavender Magazine in 2015.
In this original solo work, actor, playwright, and daughter of a cop Marisa Carr weaves together intertwining narratives and inhabits multiple characters as she explores questions about the effects of law enforcement and criminal justice on various communities. On a cold December evening six strangers’ lives intersect around a single act of desperation, with tragic consequences.
Junauda Petrus creates work for performance that thoughtfully and genuinely luxuriates on the modern and surreal Black experience, celebrating and curious of its multitudinous, complex, and dynamic sweetness. Her work is shaped by her urban upbringing, West Indian heritage, and connection to ancestral creativity. She has received the MN State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership, the Givens Foundation Writer’s Mentorship, The Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship, and the Jerome Travel and Study Grant.
Waters, Sweet Red, and The Wild Glitter Transformation
In this performance-creation-transformation-installation, the recipes and wisdoms of queen mothers, the wild wanderings of great grandmothers and the limitless aspirations of free-spirited aunties have come to hold space in a soul’s winter. This work uses performance, visual art, aerial, mommy’s cooking and soundscapes draped in Anita Baker, Sade and soulful island women meditations to let audiences live in an experiential moment of unfurling, wildness and sweetness.
Eliza Rasheed was trained as an actor, dancer, playwright, and director. She tells the stories drawing from her own life and lens as an Asian multiracial woman who has lived in five different countries. Eliza became a performance artist because she hardly ever saw herself reflected on stage. She has been a Many Voices fellow through the Playwrights’ Center, a Unit Collective Core Member, and is a Theatre Teacher at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus.
What does it mean to be a multiracial/multicultural/multilingual global nomad in the 21st century? Eliza Rasheed traces her life for an answer, searching through her memories from growing up in a working class neighborhood in Taipei, Taiwan, to moving to the island of Male’, the Maldives. A young girl surrounded by a new language, new objects, and a father she hardly knows. With her pink suitcase as her constant companion Eliza re-defines borders that allow her to live “in-between.”
About Naked Stages
A creative opportunity unlike any other in Minnesota, Naked Stages is a 7 month development program that provides time, financial support, and mentoring to three artists to develop their unique voices as performance artists and creators.
Molly Van Avery continues in her third year as Director of Naked Stages (taking over from seminal artist Laurie Carlos). Sharon Bridgforth will continue to serve as a mentor to the artists throughout their fellowship period. Molly notes “The caliber of applications continues to strengthen each year, affirming the rich diversity of performance makers we have locally. Pillsbury House Theatre is proud to provide a much needed opportunity for artists to be supported by an arts institution that values original work. Through Naked Stages, we hold the container that allows artists to create innovative, provocative, and exciting performances that benefit them and audiences.”
In addition to regular feedback sessions and money to support project development, hiring other artists, and material requirements, the artists work with local creators like Hijack, Late Nite Series Artists and Naked Stages Alums Juma B Essie, Katie Vang, Moe Lionel, Gabrielle Civil, and Julia Babb. The fellows also participate in monthly meetings where they learn skills to help further develop their artistic careers including: new approaches to giving and receiving artistic feedback, developing and strengthening an audience base, communication skills with technical support staff, and the elements they need to develop an original work.
Naked Stages is made possible through major support from the Jerome Foundation. Pillsbury House Theatre is especially grateful for Cynthia Gehrig’s leadership as president of Jerome Foundation for the past 38 years. She has cared for and kept watch over this fellowship, ensuring it held artists’ interests at its core. We appreciate her suggestions and affirmations that have allowed this program to thrive.