The Orchard at Hamilton, an artist residency and development program constituting a nine-day stay on campus by a number of alumni and undergraduates, is beginning to flourish this week.
Program participants engage in work on a number of individual projects in addition to group workshops, discussions and artistic experimentation. Beyond the work and activities conducted by participants, however, the program is focused on the building and nurturing of an intergenerational artistic community of Hamilton and Kirkland alumni from across several disciplines. The current program includes alumni from the class of ’88, all the way up to current undergraduates, with backgrounds in disciplines ranging from music to theatre.
While the main centerpiece of the pilot will be a group of 11 performances and exhibitions by program participants, these individual projects are balanced out by group activities that hope to encourage a sense of community and build interpersonal relations between the resident artists and apprentices.
“Regardless of the given project or regardless of an individual’s discipline, it’s about how we get in the room together, and the way that different concentrations and backgrounds augment the experience,” said Alison McLaughlin ’11, one of three Hamilton alumni who form The Orchard Pilot “Core.” “By doing things like group warm ups, eating meals together, etc. we foster relationships, and start to build answers for (the) questions we’re trying to tackle,” she explained.
The time for this program is now, added Peter Mallozzi ’09, another Orchard Core member. “Living in New York City and being plugged into the art scene, I see that all the young playwrights are coming from the same schools, and they’re getting there through programs like this at those schools, and through alumni who go back and make connections,” he said. “I think something we should emphasize is that it’s an artist residency for alumni, but the program has a professional-leaning. Some of these alumni have professional lives, and will be seen outside of the context of Hamilton...” Mallozzi added.
“There’s stuff in it for the alums, not only as a résumé-builder, but if for instance they have a show in Boston next week, it’s a huge opportunity to have nine days up here to do something like this.”
The Orchard Pilot Core, which includes Michael Breslin ’13 in addition to Mallozzi and McLaughlin, wanted the program above all to be accessible financially. “Some other models of artist residencies we’re aware of have large cost components,” Mallozzi remarked. “It’s used as a revenue engine. We’re fortunate to have individual donors who make access for the alumni and undergrads available.”
Through the program, students and alumni need only pay for travel expenses and occasional unfunded meals, with housing and project workspaces supplied without charge.
Reception for the opening round of The Orchard has been positive, the Core members say. “There’s such a buzz of excitement around the potential of the Pilot, there’s a real positivity surrounding it which is really exciting,” Breslin commented.
Mallozzi added, “Some of the more experienced folks holding these workshops have been really extraordinary. While we’ve hustled to make this vision that we’re really passionate about a reality, it’s been a tremendous community effort.”
The Core encourages alumni and guests to take in a Reunions ’15 Orchard performance:
All performances are free and open to the public.
Thursday, June 4, 8:30 p.m., Kennedy Center 217 Barrett Lab Theater
Selections from Keep Passing the Open Windows, a song cycle on the wisdom of John Irving composed by Nate Taylor '11, and a reading of Biological Imperative, a new play about a modern woman's intensely personal struggle with the question of whether or not to have children written by Sara Carlson '06. Finally, Drama, Chakra, Trauma, Tantra, an embodied exploration of how trauma manifests in different areas of the body and how drama therapy can address trauma- and stress-related disorders, conceived and performed by Hanah Fazio '10, based on her written NYU master's thesis.
Mixed Media Art Installation Showcase: Imagining My Mothers
Friday, June 5, 4:30 p.m., outside Glen House
An exhibition of Imagining My Mothers, a performance and installation about dreams of tribal initiation, imagined roots, and a sense of legacy conceived, created, and performed by Chiquita Paschal '10. The installation will remain up for 24 hours. (In case of rain, Imagining My Mothers will showcase one day later at the same time, on Saturday, June 6, at 4:30 p.m.)
Multimedia Music and Art Installation Showcase: Chromantic Promenade
Friday, June 5, 7:15 p.m., the Gazebo, Root Glen
Chromantic Promenade, a multimedia music and art installation created by composer Wes Hughes '11 and visual artist Ashley Stagner '09. Inspired by romanticism, nature, and nostalgia for the fantastical, attendees will navigate an evening path lit by floating, luminous orbs, and guided by mystical music.
Sat., June 6, 2 p.m., Kennedy Center 217 Barrett Lab Theater
Lizzie was odd ... / The Fall River Axe Murders by Angela Carter: a devised theatre piece based on Carter's story of Lizzie Borden combining text, movement, and puppetry arts, conceived and directed by Matthew Woods '88 and featuring young alumni and student performers.
The Places You'll Go: a theatre piece exploring discontent based on a work-in-progress by Hila Ben Gera, workshopped and directed by Noel MacDuffie '90 and featuring young alumni and student performers.
Sat., June 6, 8:30 p.m., Kennedy Center 217 Barrett Lab Theater
kiss me just once more: a devised theatre performance inspired by a passage from Proust's Swann's Way, conceived and performed by Michael Breslin '13. A meditation on the relationship between queer sons and their mothers, this piece asks questions about growing up, psycho-sexual identification and queer failure.
The Plumb & Denio Show: a vaudeville performance inspired by the Loomis Gang, the most fearsome family of outlaws in the history of Central New York, conceived and performed by Dustin Helmer '99 and Justin Tyler '01. Watch Plumb & Denio, the gang's worst members, desperately try to throw the audience off the trail of their biggest heist.