Project: How To Build A Forest

How To Build A Forest is a durational performance installation in which D’Amour and Pearl build and dismantle an elaborate, simulated forest over the course of an eight hour work shift. Addressing the disconnect between urban dwellers and the natural world, the installation, made primarily of fabric, small gauge steel and found materials, was created by visual artist Shawn Hall working with a team of young artists in New Orleans. The performance begins and ends with a bare stage and includes subtle spectacle, moments of text written by D'Amour, and repeated, isolated interactions amongst performers, objects and viewers. How To Build A Forest is inspired in part by 100 trees lost at D’Amour’s family home in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and was subsequently informed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A field guide that tracks the source of materials used in the installation will be given to everyone attending.

Awardee: Lisa D'Amour

Performing Arts, 2009

D’Amour is a playwright and interdisciplinary artist. Her plays have been commissioned and produced by theaters across the country, including The Women’s Project, Playwrights’ Horizons, Clubbed Thumb (all in NYC), Children’s Theater Company (Minneapolis), Steppenwolf Theater Company (Chicago), ArtSpot Productions (New Orleans) and the Royal National Theater (London). Her recent play Detroit, a dark comedy that follows two suburban couples facing economic uncertainty, won a 2013 OBIE Award for Best New American Play and was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize in Drama and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Lisa is a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Fellow and has also received an Alpert Award for the Arts in Theatre and the Steinberg Playwright Award. For 15 years, she has been one half of the OBIE-Award winning performance duo PearlDamour known both for large-scale performances that mix theatre and installation such as How to Build a Forest (premiered at The Kitchen, 2011), a performance in which a simulated forest is assembled and disassembled on stage for over 8 hours; and more intimate performances designed for small audiences such as Bird Eye Blue Print (2007), created for a set of vacant offices in New York’s World Financial Center. PearlDamour is a four-time MAP Fund recipient and a 2009 Creative Capital grantee. Upcoming PearlDamour projects for 2013–14 include Lost in the Meadow, a site-specific, co-commission from People’s Light & Theatre and Longwood Gardens in Malvern, PA, which the audience experiences via headphones; and Milton, an immersive piece investigating the sky over five U.S. cities and towns named “Milton.”

Awardee: Katie Pearl

Performing Arts, 2009

As a collaborative theater artist and author of plays and performance for both traditional and alternative spaces, Katie Pearl is passionate about using theater to create space for conversation. She is co-Artistic Director of the OBIE Award-winning interdisciplinary theater company PearlDamour (with playwright Lisa D’Amour), with whom she received a 2015 NEA Our Town grant supporting Milton — a long-term project examining what it means to be American, made with and for 5 small towns named Milton. PearlDamour is a 4-time grantee of the MAP award and a recipient of the Lee Reynolds award, given by the League of Professional Theater Women for work that has helped illuminate the possibilities for social change. Katie’s play ARNIE LOUIS and BOB will appear in Trinity Rep’s 15/16 season. She is a 2016 Fitt Artist-in-Residence at Brown University, and is consulting with Brandeis University to create a new MFA to support multi-disciplinary, early career theater practitioners. Current work: convening a series of experimental evenings combining theater with casual get-togethers to explore the role of conversation within performance.

Collab: PearlDamour

PearlDamour (Katie Pearl and Lisa D’Amour) is an OBIE Award-winning interdisciplinary team with a 16-year history of creating performance work for theaters and non-traditional sites. Their work has been presented at venues such as The Kitchen, PS122, the Whitney Museum of Art and HERE Arts Center (New York); the Walker Arts Center and Intermedia Arts (Minneapolis); FuseBox Festival (Austin); Contemporary Arts Center and Artspot Productions (New Orleans); and universities such as Duke, Brown, and Vanderbilt. Commissions include How to Build a Forest (The Kitchen), Terrible Things (PS 122), LIMO (Whitney Museum’s Performance on 42nd Series) and Bird Eye Blue Print (Brookfield Properties @ World Financial Center). PearlDamour is a four-time recipient of the MAP Fund grant and received the 2011 Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theater Women.