Throughout July, five festival Dramaturgs will reveal their conversations with company leaders of Raw Materials Programs, the works-in-progress series of the FURY Factory festival, performing at San Francisco’s Project Artaud July 6-20, 2014. LMDA in partnership with foolsFURY provided the festival match between dramaturgs & Raw Materials companies. In addition to these company profiles, Dramaturgs will run talkbacks at their Program’s second performance.

by Christina Novakov-Ritchey

Dramaturg Christina
Christina Novakov-Ritchey is a dramaturg/academic whose practice is rooted in the idea of connecting individual lived experiences with their greater global/historical/cultural contexts. She is currently having fun figuring out how to do that by working in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Milton, North Carolina. (

Bad Unkl Sista (San Francisco):

The following excerpt is from an hour-long discussion held in Bad Unkl Sista’s SOMA training space with Anastazia Louise and Goyo Aranaga. We spoke about their company and FURY Factory piece The Space Between.

Christina: When did you begin working on this piece?

Anastazia: All of our work is a continual evolution of pieces…this one is an evolution of the Study of Soft, where we started developing language that everyone could step into in improvisation scores.

Christina: What about this evolution struck you as a direction that you wanted to continue exploring?

Anastazia: The development of this language over the past five years has been interesting enough that we don’t want to leave it, so we just keep reinventing and reinvestigating how to work without counting, how to work without voice-without telling a story vocally…but also being beyond poetic.

Christina: What is your approach to narrative-when you are trying to sculpt it, discover it…How does the narrative manifest itself?

Anastazia: That’s a tough question, because I think all of our stories are the same story. [Laughs] I think that because our genre of dance-of theatre-has this Butoh base, and Butoh has this “moving through darkness to come into the light,” this journey of the soul, journey of the body…. I think that all stories are the same…about birthing, growing, and death.

Goyo: [About movement and narrative], I can map any story or fable or mythology on top of it-it can be a story from my childhood. Despite the storyline and physical form, the interpretation can really be transmuted into anything.

the real kim harmon (New York):

The following is an excerpt from a thirty-minute phone conversation with Kim Harmon, talking about her piece it/self.

Christina: What was it about fear specifically that piqued your interest as a question to explore-especially through crowd-sourcing?

Kim: I work in education in New York-I teach middle school-and I’m heavily involved in social activism, particularly in terms of class disparity, racial issues, etc. So within that realm-and also within my life generally-I’ve been noticing what happens when fear drives our decision-making in ways that we are sometimes aware of, and sometimes not aware of. I remember talking to other people about it and other people also had really interesting things to say about what they’re afraid of….I started noticing a lot of through-lines, and I thought, “What if we can really explore this and present [it] back to people?”

Christina: Has it been challenging to deal with an issue that’s very close to people and can be overwhelming for others? Has it been difficult for the performers?

Kim: One thing that’s actually helpful about fear as a theme or topic, is there’s this exponential nature to it. We’ll start talking about something that one of us has a lot of fear invested in, and then we’ll start talking about performing that in a certain way, and then there’s fear of performing it also. On a personal level that process is very challenging, but working through it is totally what the piece has become about.

Ragged Wing Ensemble (Oakland):

The following segment is from an hour-long interview with one of Ragged Wing’s core artists Addie Ulrey over an espresso at Farley’s in Oakland. She told me about her piece How to Ripen.

Christina: Could you describe the developmental background of this piece?

Addie: The impetus for this piece was to try and start with images rather than with characters or with plot, which is usually what I do-which of course at first seemed completely unsuccessful. It seemed like I had a list of random images that I was trying to cram together and I was like, “Fuck it! I’m just going to write characters!” As the process went on, a lot of the images eventually found a place or came back…even images from compositions that I had done two years ago suddenly found their way into the piece.

Christina: How does this project compare with other work you’ve done?

Addie: It’s interesting, a few years ago I wrote a piece and I remember someone talking to me and saying, “Yeah, it’s a nice post-feminist piece,” and I was like, “What does that mean?” And everyone else went, “Yeah, it’s a feminist piece,” and so I was like, “All of the characters are women, but it’s not about ‘girl things,’ I don’t know…” I still stand behind that, but I’m more cogniscent of the ways that a female playwright writing for women is inherently feminist on some level. But also, this piece is a gender piece. It’s about aging, but also about the myth of womanhood and how aging is gender-specific in that way.

Program 4 performs July 15 (7pm) & 16 (9pm) at Z Below, 470 Florida St., San Francisco.
The July 16th performance will include an in-person appearance by Dramaturg Christina Novakov-Ritchey at the Talkbacks.