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DeFrantz directs experimental work 'Ennobling Nonna'

Slippage: Adventures in Performance, Culture and Technology, a performance collective led by Associate Professor of Theater Arts Thomas DeFrantz, will present "Ennobling Nonna," an experimental performance work, on March 11-13 at 8 p.m. in Kresge Little Theater.

Devised and performed by Maria Porter, a professor at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, "Ennobling Nonna" tells the story of a woman who comes to embrace an Italian ancestry long denied. DeFrantz is directing Porter's autobiographical work by crafting the text and designing the rhythm of the production, which includes movement, speech, recorded music, digital projections and everyday objects.

"This is a movement theater work, which means that there are elements of dance, drama and heightened theatricality. It doesn't look like anything I've ever seen before," DeFrantz said.

"One of the goals of Slippage is to maintain performance and an essential human presence at the center of production," he said. "While there are projections and digital enhancement of Maria's voice, what she does with her body as a performer is the most important element of the storytelling."

Porter trained in the techniques of Tadashi Suzuki, founder and artistic director of the Suzuki Company of Toga, and inventor of the influential Suzuki physical technique of actor training. She has appeared in the Obie Award-winning Salt Theater production of "The Cherry Orchard" and "Inky," and she played the mother in Hal Hartley's film "Henry Fool."

Tickets for "Ennobling Nonna" are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. For more information, call 253-2877.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 10, 2004.

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