Noontime Chat: TBA in a Nutshell
posted by Kirsten Collins

The TBA in a Nutshell chat is one of my favorite festival traditions each year. In this “pre-game” show, the festival curators predict over-arching themes, point to artists that should not be missed, and share a little about the curatorial process–providing a decoder ring of sorts to unlock the festival.
Artistic Director Cathy Edwards kicked things off by remembering this beginning moment of last year’s festival. For her, the theme of TBA:09 was the “pervasive anxiety and uncertainty” created by our consumer culture, 24-hour news cycle, economic crash, and unending war (she also remembered her own personal anxiety as her first TBA festival was finally set in motion).
This year, though the global climate has not changed, the TBA:10 line-up is responding with less anxiety and instead with authentic, intimate spaces for the self. Rufus Wainwright’s festival opener last night set this tone beautifully, and Cathy was struck by the “intimacy and sincerity” of his performance. Kristan Kennedy echoed this by pointing to artists that are “go internal” but also speak to humanity’s common and current questions and concerns. Across the festival, look for tensions of “inner lives and private desires in the public arena.”


Cathy, Kristan, and Erin Boberg talked about the artists that are opening tonight, but didn’t really make any “must-see” recommendations. Cathy noted that Maria Hassabi’s SoloShow, which explores images of women’s bodies throughout history, might particularly appeal to visual artists. Erin talked a bit about Connor Lovett, who will perform two shows of Beckett’s prose. Start with First Love. If you fall in love with Connor (which Erin predicts you will), then you know what you’ll be getting into for the three-hour The Beckett Trilogy.
Jealous of these women? Want their jobs? On Saturday in the PICA Resource Room, Sam Miller, of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, will speak about a new graduate program, the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP), which he has developed in partnership with Wesleyan University.
It’s only day two, and my little TBA guidebook is already ragged and dog-eared. The schedule pages are full of circled, crossed-out, re-circled and starred time slots, but I think I’ve got a good game plan. Reading the guidebook, I’m most excited about Connor Lovett and the Beckett pieces (I’m already sold on Beckett), Dayna Hanson (loved 33 Fainting Spells at TBA:04), and Dutes Miller & Stan Shellabarger (digging their own graves on the Washington High School lawn…whoa). You?