Experimental Performance Piece SparrowSong Opens This Weekend at ASU's Prism Theatre

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Experimental theatre usually plays to a very niche interest group. But the locally-conceived SparrowSong, which opens this weekend at ASU's Prism Theatre, aims to create an inclusive environment for all types of theatre-goers.

SparrowSong is the brainchild of three of ASU's MFA students who began discussing the project over tacos in December 2011. Daniel Fine studies media applications and projection design, Megan Flod Johnson specialized in theatre for youth, and Julie Rada focuses on performance.

The diverse backgrounds of the three artists were a big asset as they came together to create the interactive, installation-based piece that the website labels "a new performance for young audiences."

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The audience will initially encounter a glowing structure where a short story about the friendship between a girl and a bird will unfold in a more traditional format. When that portion of the performance is over, the spectators can explore the structure itself, which is composed of small installations that reveal more pieces of the tale.

According to Rada, this alternate way of expressing a story is meant to reach out to a wider array of people.

"Our goal is inclusivity," she says. "We would like to say it's for all ages and we are building in sensory stimuli and touchable storytelling in the hopes of making the piece accessible for the younger folks, while there will be digital interactivity (and other experiences) that will probably engage everyone else."

And this is only the first phase of SparrowSong. The group hopes to eventually bring the work to public spaces in downtown Phoenix, reaching out to an even wider community.

"We were inspired to tell a new kind of story in a new kind of way," says Rada. "We hope that this piece has a nice long life so we can experiment, learn things, continue to develop the work based on what we learn, and then experiment again."

SparrowSong performances begin this Thursday, January 31 and continues on through Monday, February 4. Tickets are available through the Binary Theatre Company website. The performances take place at ASU's Prism Theatre.

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