The University of Oklahoma breaks all rules in Mieko Ouchi's 'The Dada Play' 

In development for decades, Canadian playwright Mieko Ouchi's "The Dada Play" will have its United States premiere this weekend at the University of Oklahoma. More than just a story about the infamous art movement, the play fully embodies the anarchic spirit of the movement.

"The Dada Play" was borne out of a high school drama class assignment in which Ouchi had to teach a seminar on a period in theater history.

"Being the rebellious teenager I was, I thought that, 'I'm not going to do just any old period; I'm going to do the Dada art movement,'" Ouchi said. "The students in my class went crazy over it. They felt like they had discovered something new, even though it happened in 1916."

Dada is a movement that may elude a lot of non-art historians, but its influence on the last 90 years of culture is undeniable.

 "It was an important demarcation. It came to represent the shift from the traditional making of art "? the landscape, the portrait "? to abstract modernism," Ouchi said. "There's still a freshness to it and a radicalism that hasn't gone away. It was the punk rock of its time."

Inspired by her classmates' enthusiasm, Ouchi wrote the first draft of what would become "The Dada Play" during her first two years of college. After giving a successful reading, she was encouraged to put her writing aside upon entering a professional acting program.

However, the play never really left her thoughts, and three years ago, she pitched it as a backup idea for a commission proposal, only to have it accepted. That version would be further refined during her time at OU, which culminates with the premiere.

"At its heart, it's about the crossroads of two men and two movements that changed the world and they way we look at it," she said.

Ouchi said she was impressed by the student-actors' willingness to try something different.

"They're enthusiastic, curious, inquisitive, and brave," she said. "It's such a gift as a writer. I also think it's exciting for the students to meet a playwright that isn't dead."

Both Ouchi and director Susan Shaughnessy, a professor for OU's School of Drama, said they are excited to see how audiences will respond and hope that they can leave their expectations at the door and treat "The Dada Play" theater experience as an adventure.

"?Eric Webb

Pin It

Tags: ,

More by OKG Archives

Latest in Arts

Lyric's A Christmas Carol @ Harn Homestead Museum

Fugitive Speech @ Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

Fugitive Speech @ Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center

View all of today's events »

© 2022 Oklahoma Gazette / Tierra Media Inc. All rights reserved.

Powered by Foundation