The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) presents How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies, a new work by the Chicago performance group Goat Island, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 13, 14 & 15 in the Ballroom of the Scottish Rite Center. Characterized by their physically-intense movement, idiosyncratic juxtapositions, and Brechtian-style narrative, Goat Island’s work is not only resonant, but totally unique. Admission is $14 and individual tickets are available. Tickets may be ordered in advance by calling PICA at 242-1419 or may be purchased at the door.

Founded in 1987, Goat Island is a Chicago-based collaborative performance group in which all four performers and the director contribute to the writing, choreography and conceptual demands of a piece. Their work is characterized by movement that is often physically demanding to the point of exhaustion and their unique use of the performance space as a sports arena or parade ground. Since its inception, Goat Island has created five collaborative works: Soldier, Child, Tortured Man (1987); We Got A Date (1989); Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral (1991); It’s Shifting, Hank (1993) and How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies (1996). Each of these works premiered in Chicago, except for How Dear to Me … which was first staged at the Center for Contemporary Art, Glasgow. Goat Island has also toured throughout the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Their newest piece, How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies, is a collage scenario which combines original writing with fragments of scenes and speeches derived from the films The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935), Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937) Peggy and Fred in Kansas (Leslie Thornton, 1988), and Harp of Burma (Kon Ichikawa, 1956). It opens with a platoon captain addressing his troops at the end of a war. Suddenly the captain transforms into the Master of Ceremonies for an Ed Sullivan-style talent show set in a prison camp. He introduces a variety of characters including Mr. Memory, the man who can correctly answer any factual question put to him; Bob Fitzsimmons, the 1897 boxing heavyweight champion of the world; and pioneer flying ace Amelia Earhart. Each of these characters also transforms during the piece — Mr. Memory becomes a human catalogue of the extreme suffering of the 20th century; the flyer returns as the fattest man in America, dependent on volunteers who administer to his every need; and the boxer, having witnessed a massacre, becomes a pacifist monk. Movement and sound sequences repeatedly interrupt the talent show providing transformational counterpoint to the text and characters.

For more information, please contact PICA at 503/242-1419.

Program

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art
presents
Goat Island
How Dear To Me The Hour When Daylight Dies

With original writing combined with fragments of scenes and speeches derived from the films The 39 Steps (Alfred Hitchcock, 1935), Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937) Peggy and Fred in Kansas (Leslie Thornton, 1988), and Harp of Burma (Kon Ichikawa, 1956), How Dear to Me… develops a collage scenario that opens with a platoon captain addressing his troops at the end of a war.

After a speech of surrender and the announcement that, “Our country lies in ruin… there is no use in fighting… we are prisoners, thousands of miles away from home,” the captain transforms into the Master of Ceremonies for an Ed Sullivan-style talent show set in a prison camp. He introduces a variety of characters including Mr. Memory, the man who can correctly answer any factual question put to him; Bob Fitzsimmons, the 1897 boxing heavyweight champion of the world; and Amelia Earhart, the flier who broke all speed records and then vanished.

Through the course of the performance, each of the characters transforms. Mr. Memory, unable to forget, becomes a human catalogue of the extreme suffering of the 20th century. The flyer returns as the fattest man in America, weighing over one thousand pounds. Lying immobilized on a bed in the middle of Kansas, dependent on a corps of volunteers who bring him a constant supply of food, he has placed himself on display as a warning to others. The boxer, having witnessed a massacre, becomes a pacifist monk. When the rest of the troops return home, re resolves to remain behind to bury the unhappy dead.

Group History and Mission

Goat Island is a Chicago-based performance group founded in 1987 by Chicago artists Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson (Director), Greg McCain and Timothy McCain. In August 1989, Goat Island was incorporated as a non-profit organization for the purpose of producing and promoting collaborative performance works developed by the members of Goat Island for local, national, and international audiences.

Goat Island’s work is collaborative with all four performers and the director contributing to the writing, choreography, and conceptual demands. Characteristically we attempt the following: 1) to establish a conceptual-spatial relationship with the audience, i.e., the performance space as sporting arena or parade ground; 2) to present a personalized vocabulary of movement that is often physically demanding to the point of near exhaustion; 3) to incorporate social, political, and personal issues directly through spoken text; 4) to create striking visual images to encapsulate thematic concerns; 5) to set our performances in non-theatrical sites within the community.

Since its inception, Goat Island has created five collaborative works: Soldier, Child, Tortured Man (1987); We Got A Date (1989); Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral (1991); It’s Shifting, Hank (1993) and How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies (1996). Each of these works premiered in Chicago, except for How Dear to Me … which was first staged at the Center for Contemporary Art, Glasgow. Goat Island has also toured the United States and internationally in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Goat Island takes involvement in the community as part of its mission. We work in a building that also houses the Lakeview Emergency Shelter Team, the Broadway Children’s Center, and the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Goat Island has been able to give benefit performances for the Lakeview Emergency Shelter Team and teach free workshops to the children at the Broadway Children’s Center. Education plays a role in touring as well, through workshops and discussions held whenever possible in conjunction with performances.

Goat Island has received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Chicago Artists Abroad, Arts International, the National Performance Network Commissioning Program, The Arts Council of Great Britain, Yorkshire and Humberside Arts, the Hull City Council, and private donors.

Bios

Adrian Blundell (videographer) is a video artist who has documented the works of Goat Island. He received a BA from Maidstone College of Art (UK), and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he now teaches in the First Year Program and the Video Department. He has designed the It’s Shifting, Hank CD-Rom interactive computer program, based on Goat Island’s creative process. He also taught documentation and collaboration at the 1996 Goat Island Summer School.

Karen Christopher has a BA in theatre arts from Pomona College, Claremont, California. She studied with Thomas Leabhart, Leonard Pronko and Jerzy Grotowski (in Irvine, California). She was involved with the Padua Hills Playwrights’ Workshop/Festival (Los Angeles) from 1982-1986. In Chicago, Karen worked with Chicago Actors Ensemble (Despoiled Shores, The Plague, Birthrate) and the Neo-Futurists (Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind) before joining Goat Island in 1990. She has toured with Goat Island to Belgium, England, Switzerland and several U.S. cities, including the recent tour of How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies (1996) to the U.K. and Croatia. She is currently in the process of receiving her MFA from the Graduate School of Columbia College Department of Film and Video.

Matthew Goulish received his undergraduate degree in theatre arts from Kalamazoo College. He studied playwriting at the Padua Hills Playwrights’ Workshop/Festival. He has performed in plays by California playwrights John O’Keefe and Murray Mednick, among others. He appeared in Lin Hixson’s performance pieces She was Born… (1986) in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Goodbye, Mrs. Solski (1986) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as her performance/film Passing Through (1986) in Los Angeles. He toured the U.S. with Goat Island’s Soldier, Child, Tortured Man (1987-88); We Got A Date (1989) in the U.S. and the U.K.; with Can’t Take Johnny to the Funeral (1991) in the U.S., Belgium and England; with It’s Shifting, Hank (1993) in the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland, and with How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies (1996) to the U.K. and Croatia. His writings on performance have appeared in P-Form, Performance Research (U.K.), and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has taught at the University of Illinois, Chicago, and currently teaches in the Liberal Arts Department and the Graduate Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lin Hixson (director) received her undergraduate degree in education and political science from the University of Oregon and her Master of Fine Arts in performance from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design. She was a founding member of the Los Angeles performance collective Hangers (1981-87) and has mounted over thirty interdisciplinary performances since 1981. She co-founded the Chicago-based collaborative performance company Goat Island in 1987, and has toured with them throughout the U.S. and Europe. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Performance Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in New Genres (1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89), a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in Choreography (1995), and two Illinois Arts Council fellowships in Performance (1989, 1991). In 1996, Lin and the other members of Goat Island presented the first Goat Island Summer School, a four-week workshop in performance, collaboration, research, and documentation, at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mark Jeffery studied Visual Performance at Darlington College in Devon, England. He was awarded the position of Junior Fellow in Live Art at the University of the West of England in collaboration with Arnolfini Live, Bristol. In the 1995/96 he undertook a six-month artist-in-residence scheme at Arnolfini on performance of his solo work IE. In 1996, he also presented RE, a site-specific performance in a derelict city dwelling commissioned by Arnolfini Live, Bristol. Mark has been a visiting part-time lecturer at Darlington College. He joined Goat Island in 1996 with performances of How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies.

Bryan Saner received his undergraduate degree in Sculpture and Religion from Bethel College in Kansas. He studied improvisational and modern dance, choreography, and performance at the MoMing Dance and Arts Center in Chicago. He was the collaborative choreographer and performer with Chicago performance group Sock Monkeys from 1989-1993. He also performed with the dance group Kast and Company from 1993-95. His solo performance works have been commissioned and produced by numerous spaces throughout the Midwest. He taught visual art at the Lakeview Academy from 1980-91. He joined Goat Island in 1995 with the creation and touring of How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies.