The Genesee Center for the Arts at Genesee Community College has released its spring lineup of events and opportunities, and it is going to be an emotional, fun and powerful season.
First, the Roz Steiner Art Gallery at GCC will display a collection of paintings by Muhammad Zaman entitled "Finding Amal" from Jan. 22 - Feb. 22. Amal, meaning "hope" in Arabic, is what Zaman hopes to inspire through his work.
"Finding Amal" features compositions of urban calligraphy that combine the three languages that are the cornerstones of the artist's culture: Arabic, English and Bangla. Each individual canvas expresses a word, phrase or concept as if they were messages dedicated to the entire human race.
The artist will lecture on Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. and receptions will follow at 1 and 5 p.m.
The Roz Steiner Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is also open during special events as published at www.genesee.edu/campuslife/arts. Admission is free.
For more information, contact Gallery coordinator Mary Jo Whitman at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6490, or via email: [email protected].
The following live performances will take place in GCC's Stuart Steiner Theatre at the Batavia campus.
The National Circus Project brings its exciting, fun-filled circus performance to GCC in Batavia on Friday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. With juggling, plate spinning, and comedy, this act encourages audience participation and is full of surprises! The experts from National Circus Project will also hold six workshops, which are also open to the public, at GCC on Thursday, Feb. 21. Call (585) 345-6814 for the full workshop schedule.
The Forum Players will perform "Encounters: A Social Issues Anthology" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, Friday, March 8, Saturday, March 9, and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on March 10. This anthology, directed by Norman R. Gayford, professor of English, is a collection of six short pieces, with poetry interludes, that use stories to explore a variety of issues facing society today.
The first piece, "The Unspoken 200," written by Ehinomen Okojie of Winston-Salem, N.C., attempts to reverse the desensitization that results from using hashtags to summarize tragedies. In April 2014, 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the Town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria. Today, 195 of those females are still missing! The Unspoken 200 tells the story of one of the kidnapped girls.
"I wrote this play because it became easy for myself, as well as other people, to simply type the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, and merely forget them a few seconds later," Okojie said. "Through the play, I could empathize with these girls, and I believe it will do the same for many people.
"It will challenge how they live their day-to-day lives, making them appreciate the things that are so easy to come by and to remind us all that over 60 percent of those girls are still missing. Today, it is easy for us to reduce tragic events to a hashtag. I am using this play to make people truly understand that the tragedy these girls have suffered is not and never will be equitable to a couple of words."
The second piece in the production is "Save the Date," written by Caity-Shea Violette, of Boston. Just hours before her wedding, the play's main character, Andrea, meets her estranged lover in a park. In a tug-of-war between passion and timing, they explore the expiration date of "the one that got away."
Shifting from romance to humanity, the third social issue explored in "Encounters: A Social Issues Anthology," is in "Sister," written by Kita Mehaffy of Santa Fe, N.M. This piece tells the story of Andréa, down on her luck, who sees Alex in the park early one Sunday morning.
Andréa hopes to find the humanity in a woman who had previously looked right through her. Andréa attempts to prompt Alex's memory of their previous face-to-face encounter, but to no avail. Alex only sees what she wants to see when Andréa responds with agitated frustration. "Sometimes being invisible wears on a girl," Andréa says.
The anthology's fourth act is "Summer Storms," written by Jaisey Bates, of Los Angeles. Bates was inspired to write this piece in two phrases: "they were dancing" and "I had a dream, but now I'm woke."
These words, created in the wake of the tragedies that took place during the summer of 2016 "support mutual healing, strengthened community and positive change," Bates said. "That we might build with our joined words an enduring shelter from such storms; that we might write a new story worthy of our children, our children's children; that we might learn, in the precious few moments we are gifted, to walk together in beauty on this beloved ground."
The anthology concludes with a powerful one-minute scene called "Boulder Holder," written and performed by Crystal Jackson of Pacific Grove, Calif. This scene is about violence in schools. Encounters will also be performed at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, for students at GCC's Batavia campus.
On Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. GCC's Forum Players also present the Children's Theatre production, "The Lamp is the Moon," written by Kirk Lynn. The program introduces Shawn, a bright young girl with a head full of science and imagination, which makes naptimes particularly difficult.
Her friend, Lamp, triggers a wide-awake adventure with the dream of learning to fly and becoming the moon. With the guidance of the audience, this voyage is fit for mission control as Shawn and her lamp escape naptime and blast into space.
"I don't like to nap, but I do like to dream," Shawn says.
This show debuted at the Seattle Children's Theatre in the spring of 2018.
The 2019 spring season concludes with GCC adjunct professor Tara Pocock artfully directing a 20-piece modern dance showcase entitled, "Freedom: A Modern Dance Show About Your Rights."
The program questions what are basic human rights and freedoms in today's ever-changing world. This powerful performance will take place on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stuart Steiner Theatre.
Tickets for these shows in the Stuart Steiner Theatre are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors (55+) and students (16+) and GCC faculty/ staff. GCC students with ID are $3, and GCC alumni with ID will receive a $2 discount on an adult ticket. To reserve seats, contact the GCC box office at [email protected] or (585) 345-6814.