Rogue Festival 2016: In the Blue of Evening

Feb 24, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Theatre

by Amelia Van Brunt

The 2016 Rogue Festival is almost here. KRL has been featuring several Festival performer preview articles over the last couple of weeks, and have several more to go between now and opening day! This week we also have an article about the Festival itself. We will also be reviewing many of the shows once the Festival begins in early March, and we may even do some more video interviews. Check out our Rogue Performer event page for more information as it becomes available, and you can also check out the Rogue 2016 website.

“When you die, can I have your fur coats?” My mother was mortified, but it was an honest question I would ask my grandmother frequently, looking up at her with wild, excited eyes during our visits. My grandmother never skipped a beat, “Of course you can. Then you’ll be the most elegant woman in the whole wide world.” Pink-cheeked and missing teeth I’d stretch a wide, messy grin at the thought of how beautiful I’d look someday, just like her.

Our visits always had a similar theme: me, with my bright blonde hair walking past all of my grandmother’s things in absolute awe. Her ‘stuff.’ It was always about her stuff. She had the most beautiful things: trinkets, baubles, jewelry, figurines, photographs, elaborate decorations. I’d peer up at the high tables and cabinets adorned with her belongings completely and utterly enchanted. Going to my grandmother’s house was like visiting a fairy tale. I loved her, and her little world full of sparkly novelties, almost as much as she did.Rogue

Long after she had forgotten my face and name, there was one specific day that I finally realized she was gone: the day she smashed her things. Broken glass glittered cracked and jagged on the floor; her most prized photographs of the family ripped to shreds, her precious things, her world, destroyed by her own hands.

This is not my grandmother’s story, although there are memories of her pulsing within it. It is my story – an exploration of what I imagine it could look like and feel like inside a mind that is fading away, interpreted through several different mediums of storytelling. This process was the most difficult I’ve experienced yet. After training in ensemble-based devised work at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, the thought of creating anything alone terrified me. It crippled me, actually. For years after my grandmother’s passing, I knew I wanted to explore the world of not only Dementia, but of the mind, growing older, and loneliness in many realms: through the raw joy and buoyancy of the clown, through the limitless worlds of the fantastic, through the shock and grotesqueness of the surreal.

Many years I had this show in my mind but fear kept me from pursuing it. In early 2015, I applied for an Artist Residence at the San Francisco Circus Center truly not believing that I stood a chance of getting it, and the day I received my acceptance email a very cold realization washed over me. Oh, dear god, I have to do this now. The first few rehearsals were all over the place. I didn’t know how to be alone in a room and create from nothing. It took me a very long time until I could trust myself, my play, my work, and my ideas, but eventually I did. After that, the show basically took off flying. Every element of the show that I wanted to include but wasn’t sure how I could accomplish such a thing was there, right there. Once I let go of and abandoned all fear I was truly free to delve deeper into the work and deeper into my fierce and endearing character Mona, whom I have fallen so very much in love with.

And so, dear reader, I leave you with this; the burning question I asked myself daily during this process, and one I have yet to find answer to nor wish to ever find a resolution:

Who are we without our memories?

In the Blue of the Evening performs at The Voice Shop, 1296 N Wishon Avenue, Fresno, CA 93728. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here:

Performance Dates & Times:
March 4, 9:30 p.m.
March 5, 6:30 p.m.
March 6, 8:00 p.m.
March 9, 9:30 p.m.
March 12, 2:00 p.m.


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