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Xfest 2014 Performances


Presented by Arts & Issues and Xfest:

split knuckle endurance


Split Knuckle Theatre 
Storrs, CT 
Wednesday, September 10, 7:30 p.m. 
Dunham Hall Theatre

Trapped in Antartica with no hope of rescue, the great British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton kept 27 men alive for two years in the most inhospitable climate on earth.  Ninety-five years later, in the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, Hartford insurance man Walter Spivey, struggling to justify his recent promotion and save his employees jobs, relives Shackleton's story.  Can one of the greatest leaders in human history inspire him to conquer the corporate world?

Critical Praise for Split Knuckle Theatre

“These four amazing men create a dozen distinct characters, a dozen particular situations and locales out of thin air, including cracking pack ice, a ship at sea, a singing shower, a packed bus, comically terrifying garbage-can-clad powers-that-be, all impeccably executed.”

Heather McAlister,

 “Though the play’s humor, music and hopeful ending belies its more serious overtones, the audience is sent home after an enchanting evening in the theatre tricked by Split Knuckle into strong political and moral soul-searching.”

Gloria Miller, Curtain Up

Split Knuckle Theatre 


Chicago Crash


Manual Cinema
Chicago, IL 
Thursday, September 11, 7:30 p.m.
Metcalf Theater

Critical Praise for Manual Cinema

“…extraordinary technical sophistication—a rich quadraphonic sound design, cinematic transitions. . . the overall effect is gentle, lovely, fascinating.”

Tony Adler, Chicago Reader


“We’re never less than totally aware of the artisanal craft at work, but somehow the show manages to make a singular case for a very different kind of (mass) cultural experience . . Cinema becomes a form of empathy—understanding through light.”

Kyle Westphal, Northwest Chicago Film Society

Manual Cinema


My last Year With the Nuns 

Matt Smith
Friday, September 12, 7:30 p.m.
Metcalf Theater

Master monologist Matt Smith turns his 8th grade year in 1966-67 into a wild coming-of-age comedy---a comedy grounded in his Catholic education, racism, and the joys and horrors that are male adolescence.  Smith’s stories---about the young hooligans he admired but couldn’t bring himself to emulate; about the nun who tried, sometimes cruelly, to steer him and his friends on the path to righteousness; about a fleeting friendship with a black kid that gives him an unexpected view of escalating trouble---and jolting humor in serious events. My Last Year with the Nuns gathered critical and popular acclaim for Smith’s dynamic performance and trenchant writing.

Critical Praise for Matt Smith

“Smith’s may be the only solo act I can remember in which I felt that the performer didn’t care what was thought of him as long as the stories got through. I can pay no higher compliment to both writer and performer.”

Time Out - New York


“A gentle and affecting script...”

The Village Voice


“From word one we are launched into the deep end of the story, and buoyed along on the flood of his rich, powerful voice.... His timing is a subtle seminar on how to get comedy right.”

The Seattle Times

Matt Smith


The Seldoms

Power Goes

The Seldoms 
Chicago, IL 
Saturday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.
Dunham Hall Theater

Power Goes is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in partnership with SIUE Xfest.

In this new dance theatre work, artistic director Carrie Hanson responds to Robert Caro’s famed biography of Lyndon B. Johnson and uses this controversial historical figure as a lens through which to see broader and enduring patterns of political power.  Power Goes combines physical action and contemporary dance, spoken word, sound design including historical recordings, and visual design including text/video/photo in order to explore the relationship between political power and social action.  


Critical Praise for The Seldoms

“Hanson’s ingenuity and the dancers’ magnificent daredevilry sweep the viewer into a state of ecstatic outrage.”

Chicago Tribune


“…Hanson’s satirical, deadly serious piece bursts a lot of bubbles on a high-stakes subject…Performed by her expressive dancers, Hanson’s choreography cuts, as usual, like a well-honed knife.”

Chicago Reader

The Seldoms

Xfest is made possible through the generous support of the Office of the Provost, College of Arts & Sciences, the Department of Theater and Dance and audiences like you. 

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