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For Immediate Release
April 8, 2014

For more information, contact
Stuart Soloway
(585) 395-2797
ssoloway@brockport.edu

bobrauschenbergamerica Takes Inspiration From Robert Rauschenberg’s “Combines”

Play eschews biography for a collection of vignettes, assembled in a similar manner to how Rauschenberg used found obejects in his art

Press Release Photo Heather Leary appears in Charles Mee’s bobrauschenbergamerica which will be presented at The College at Brockport on April 25 – 27 and May 1 – 3. Purchase tickets online at fineartstix.brockport.edu.

Brockport, NY – Robert Rauschenberg was many things: an artist; a painter; a designer; an advocate and an activist. He saw beauty in the objects that he found throughout his travels and his daily existence, which he would collect into his famous “combines,” capturing the simplicity of life in a visual vignette. Similarly, Charles L. Mee’s bobrauschenbergamerica gathers scenes of ordinary life into a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory theatrical experience. The production begins performances on Friday, April 25, 2014, at 7:30 pm in the Tower Fine Arts Center Mainstage, 180 Holley Street, on the campus of The College at Brockport. Tickets are $16/General, $11/Seniors, Alumni, Faculty and Staff, and $8.50/Students. Tickets are available online at fineartstix.brockport.edu.

Art historian and Brockport faculty member Alisia Chase will lead a post-performance discussion following the show on Saturday, April 26. Chase will discuss Rauschenberg and his art and how he fits into the milieu of the play.

As with the artist’s work, playwright Mee has gathered characters from various walks of life — from a bathing beauty to a homeless derelict — into a collection of scenes that depict many commonplace occurrences, but who are not there to enact a Rauschenberg biography. Rather, they go about their own ordinary lives, attempting to find love and entertain themselves. Is it the life of Robert Rauschenberg? No. Is it Robert Rauschenberg’s America? Absolutely.

The one character who might make you think there is something biographical going on is known as Bob’s Mom, though she could be seens as everyone’s mom; especially one whose health and memory are starting to fail. She has one particular refrain: “Art was not part of our lives.” According to Frank Kuhn, the director of the production and a professor in the Department of Theatre and Music Studies, this is an ironic reminder that “ art is everywhere, not just in exalted, inaccessible places, and as Americans, our democratic point of view allows us to experience that. This is a perception that playwright Mee finds in artist Rauschenberg’s work.” His paintings and assemblages highlighted the art in everyday, occasionally discarded, items.

Kuhn feels that the production is an examination of the “mid-20th century transition from a hierarchical, exclusive culture to a more inclusive and permissive one. It also includes lots of dancing — courtesy of noted choreographer William (Bill) Evans — arguments, making up and chicken jokes.”

In fact, it should be noted that the play includes “adult language and juvenile humor.”

Performances of bobrauschenbergamerica are April 25, 26, May 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 pm. There is also a matinee on Sunday, April 27, at 2 pm, which will be sign language interpreted. Tickets may also be purchased online at fineartstix.brockport.edu, by phone at (585) 395-2787, or at the Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office, 180 Holley Street, Brockport.

More information on the 2013-14 Fine Arts Series at The College at Brockport can be found at www.brockport.edu/finearts. -end-

Photos: Photo Credit: Matt Yeoman Photo 1: Heather Leary appears in Charles Mee’s bobrauschenbergamerica which will be presented at The College at Brockport on April 25 – 27 and May 1 – 3. Purchase tickets online at fineartstix.brockport.edu.

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The College at Brockport, State University of New York
350 New Campus Drive * Brockport, New York 14420-2931
(585) 395-2754 * FAX (585) 395-2723 * www.brockport.edu

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