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Research: Live Performance


Rhodopi International Theater Laboratory, 2009.

Primer/Lem was an original, collaborative puppet, object, and multimedia performance piece created by Tom Lee, Matt Acheson, Jared J. Stein, Jeff Burke, and Jonathan Snipes. The team received funding from The Trust for Mutual Understanding to start development of the work in collaboration with puppeteers from Theatredreams Sofia and the State Puppet Theatre of Varna in the summer of 2009 at the Rhodopi International Theatre Laboratory in Smolyan, Bulgaria.

More about the piece: The work of the great Polish writer, Stanislaw Lem, anticipated the way technology would impact humanity. He was one of a handful of writers who transformed science fiction from a source of pulp adventure into a true literary genre. His ruminations on themes as diverse as technology and its relationship with humanity, the nature of intelligence, and existential isolation create beautifully manic portraits of concepts and ideas. They also provide a fertile ground for mixed media conventions and theatrical forms. The innate humanity found within Lem's work could only be strengthened by an international collaboration of artists from various media.

Primer/Lem became an evening-length performance, utilizing the author's body of work as a narrative guide (in particular, the themes of such works as Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, Solaris, and Return from the Stars) and both Eastern and Western theater techniques and aesthetics, in honor of a man who saw past political divisions and geographical boundaries in order to contemplate the truly alien, and by extension, the truly human.