Christmas 2011(Photo by Alison Harbaugh)

ON ASSIGNMENT: Photography

As part of my ongoing assignment photographing the different performing arts groups at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, I get to see some really wonderful performances before any other audience gets to view them. My most recent and favorite shoot from this series was documenting a dress rehearsal of “Sandwalk” by the Theater, Dance and Performance Studies crew.

Sandwalk, a story about Charles Darwin and the struggle between the belief in the Church and the scientific evidence he had for evolution,  is a performance on many levels, which is the only way I can think of describing it because it’s not a play or a dance piece, but a wonderful combination of modern movement, story-telling, theater, and art. The set was the first thing I noticed when I walked into the black box space. It was something right out of a film set. Dark, full of wonderful items from another time and magical. I wanted to live inside that space right there and then.

After a warmup, the performers went right into the full practice run of the piece. I was immediately transformed to another time and space as I photographed them each telling their stories and parts of Darwin’s life. It was fascinating and dream-like. The actors were so convincing that I was sad when it was over, I wanted to remain in the time and space for more time.I was even moved at certain points thinking about the time and the struggles he went through with society as they all questioned (as some still do) his theory on evolution.

I highly recommend going to catch this performance before it’s too late…you can purchase tickets here, and do it fast, because I hear they sell out quickly!


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