About This Artist

Mugwumpin creates live art that ignites radical collaboration, empathy, and curiosity. Situated at the intersection of dance, theater, multimedia and visual art installation, Mugwumpin’s original performances push against formal boundaries and create sensory rich, physically rigorous, and theatrically innovative experiences for audiences.

 

Mugwumpin was formed in San Francisco in 2004 with the aim of reinvigorating live performance as a communal event. Since then, the ensemble has created 14 full productions and many durational and smaller scale works. Outside of the Bay Area, Mugwumpin has been presented by BAW Theater (Paris), Brotfabrik Theater (Bonn) and the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre.

 

Mugwumpin’s last full-length production, “In Event of Moon Disaster,” sold out a month-long run at Z Below, won a Theater Bay Area Award for Projection Design, was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Visual Design, and was highlighted as “exactly the combination of whimsy, curiosity and dedication for which…Mugwumpin is known” (Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle).

 

“The Looking Glass Self” reunites many of that production’s collaborators, including Michelle Talgarow, Natalie Greene, Wolfgang Wachalovsky, and Ray Oppenheimer. This event is a part of Mugwumpin’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, and continues our trajectory of breathtaking artistic experimentation.

 

Artist Bios

Michelle Talgarow, a Kalmyk-Pinay Bay Area theatre-maker for over 20 years, specializes in the collaborative process in devising new work. She has strong roots at the EXIT Theatre where 2 of her murals can be seen. In addition to being a Mugwumpin company member, Michelle has been fortunate to have worked with many other local companies including Shotgun Players (Company Member), The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Central Works, Impact Theatre, Ferocious Lotus, Cutting Ball Theatre, Magic Theatre, and Bindlestiff Studios.

 

Natalie Greene is a multidisciplinary performing artist who has been performing, teaching and creating in the Bay Area since 2003, and has served as the Artistic Director of Mugwumpin since 2016. She teaches in the Department of Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared at California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Airport, Children’s Fairyland, Shotgun Players, ODC Theater, Dance Mission, Z Space, as well as in schools, senior centers, and site-specific locales throughout the Bay.

 

Ray Oppenheimer is a lighting designer, educator, creator who has been bringing his boundless curiosity, chimerical aesthetic, and a sisyphean perseverance to lighting design and education since 2005. Ray has been dabbling in modern manufacturing and prototyping techniques creating whimsical one of a kind art since 2008. He received his MFA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in lighting design from SFSU in 2017, and is currently a company member with Mugwumpin and Shotgun Players.

 

Wolfgang Wachalovsky is a director-turned-designer with a special emphasis on video in performance and how to integrate video/projections into the performative space. This includes creating fully immersive video environments for audience and performers, live video manipulation and perspective shifting with video. He is a proud company member and the former Managing Director of Mugwumpin.

 

About this Project

The Looking Glass Self is an immersive theater experience with movement and video, focusing on how truth and lies interact with technology. As we live with information at our fingertips, we navigate many forces which try to prescribe our realities. Video is no longer a credible source of truth. Footage is routinely manipulated, spread quickly through social media, and filtered through online mob mentalities; this provokes real-life consequences beyond the screen and beyond the subjects’ control. Anyone with a powerful home computer can create “Deepfakes”—realistic videos which place someone’s face on someone else’s body—and new face-swapping technology is being created everyday. We do not know what we can believe, and our laws and ethics are not prepared for the potential impact on politics, journalism, criminal justice and elsewhere.

 

The central questions of this piece are best summarized in the lyrics of an original song:

 

Do we even know the truth or how it was conceived? If we cannot tell a lie then what would we achieve? How do we deceive ourselves, and what will we believe? When truth won’t get us what we want, how do we proceed?

 

The Looking Glass Self offers audiences an embodied experience in which they realize the capabilities and potential impact of truth-altering video technology. As audiences interact with reality-warping visuals, they witness the manipulative proficiency of video editing processes in real time. “The Looking Glass Self” includes movement, comedy, live feed video, sophisticated projection mapping, and consensual audience participation. It’s science fiction on stage, like “Black Mirror” in theatrical space/time, with a visceral urgency created through audience interaction and body-based performance. We hope to create an atmosphere of deep inquiry—one where this unsettling subject matter is imaginable through aesthetic experience, where beauty, fun and artistry make way for new possibilities and serious contemplation.

 

 

Artist photo by Battista Remati. Cover photo of Super:Anti:Reluctant by Battista Remati

Upcoming Events

Came Here To Live: Resilience and Resistance in the Containment Zone

ABD Productions & The Skywatchers Ensemble
Fri-Sun, Nov 22-24. Fri-Sat, 7:30pm, Sun 2pm matinee

TenderArts Drumming Circle

Steve Tanksley
First Mondays, October-May, 6pm-8pm

She-Verse and mouth//full

Cherie Hill IrieDance and Gabriel Christian & Chibueze Crouch
Thu-Sat, Dec 5-7 & 12-14, 7:45pm-9pm

Tenderloin Women’s Holiday Party

Central City SRO Collaborative, Care Through Touch, La Cocina
Mon, Dec 9, 12pm-2pm

Archived Events

tiny little get down

tinypistol + little seismic dance company
Fri, Nov 15, 7:30pm-9:30pm

DIY T-Shirt Fashion Design

Sylvester Guard Jr.
Fri, Nov 15, 3-5pm // Sun, Mar 15, 3-5pm

Matchbox Lab #3

Tues, Nov 12, 7pm-9pm
Tanja London <> Camila Magrane

Deaf Louder

Antoine Hunter's Urban Jazz Dance Company
Thu-Sat, Nov 7-10, 7:30pm, Sun 2pm matinee

Blog Roll

  • She-Verse Movement Essences

      She-verse embraces tenants of eco-feminism that speak to the parallels between oppression and domination of subordinate groups to the oppression and dominance of nature. How women are treated in misogynistic cultures relates to the abuse and rape of land experienced throughout the history of colonization and to the continued subordination of women and persons […]

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  • Fake News and the Art of Unremembering

    Who here has heard of Singapore? Who here knows where it is? Who here knows anything about it?   I concede that answers to these questions might have changed since the popularity of the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”, but by and large, as a Singaporean living in the USA, I usually expect the response to […]

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  • You’ve seen them buzzing around the box office ensuring the show is running smoothly. They’re the folks making sure you get your ticket and La Croix before taking a seat, introducing the show, and handling the behind-the-scenes House Manager business. CounterPulse shows would not be the same without our amazing House Managers: Hannah, Greta, and […]

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