Technoself: A thesis presentation by Michael Bergmann

This Friday I will be presenting my thesis work. 

Technoself is a performance, representing the culmination of my studies in the Projection Design concentration MFA. It is structured as series of interconnected episodes, performed together with an overarching theme of examining the role of technology in our lives. 

Taking a theatrical and narrative direction, the goal is not just to look at technology as a tool, but rather to see how it is a fundamental part of our personal lives, relationships, communication, and experiences. Ground Cafe is the perfect venue for this, as it is a physical example of a human meeting place imbued and enveloped by technology. The episodes will combine music, recorded and live monologues, and projections utilizing the venue's LED wall, as well as digital projectors. It will be performed by me, with the assistance of a few of my peers. 

The running time will be between 30 and 45 minutes. 

Where:

Ground Cafe, first floor of the Becton Engineering Center at 15 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT.

 

When:

Friday April 25, at 7pm and 9pm. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to michael.bergmann@yale.edu

Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Berkeley Rep by Michael Bergmann

aa-banner.jpg

By Dario Fo
Adapted by Gavin Richards from a translation by Gillian Hanna
Directed by Christopher Bayes
Main Season · Roda Theatre
March 7–April 20, 2014

More information from Berkeley Rep.

Buy tickets here.

Running time: 2 hours and 20 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission

A bank gets bombed, a suspect dies in custody, and the police inquiry turns into…a masterpiece of comedy? Steven Epp returns to Berkeley Rep for a criminally funny production of Accidental Death of an Anarchist. He delighted audiences as Figaro and The Miser—now he’s back in another madcap show directed by Christopher Bayes. Nobel Prize-winner Dario Fo penned more than 70 incisive scripts, and this is by far his most famous. With Epp’s outrageous Anarchist, Berkeley Rep hauls you down to the station for a hilarious interrogation of our culture.

New directions by Michael Bergmann

There has been a bit of a change recently, which is part of the reason that there hasn't been any updates. In short, I've gone back to school. I'm at the Yale School of Drama to pursue my masters in theatre design, specializing in projection. So basically, I'm studying exactly the field that my work focuses on. And it is already such an honor and pleasure to be learning from Wendall Harrington.

What does this mean for BergARTS? Nothing really, except that I won't be developing any new work for a while. I will however continue to post about the shows that I'm working on here, and maybe even talk about some of the process of projection design. But no promises.

I will be back in Toronto for the summers, so there is still a chance that I'll be doing work there. Right now, everything is very up in the air.

Exciting times ahead.

Another great review for Mute! by Michael Bergmann

With only three shows left, we are presented with yet another excellent review from Ontario Arts Review. The full review is posted below, with a link to their site. If this doesn't convice you to come, I don't know what will! Catch one of the few last performances: Thursday at 4pm, Friday at 7:30pm or Sunday at noon. 

Full listings here: bergarts.com/mute

 

"This is a ‘best of’ Fringe’ contender. Wren Handman’s ‘MUTE’ is an emotional portrayal of a young teenager who has been stricken dumb as a result of the traumatic witnessing of her parents’ deaths. Following the accident her brother eight years her senior becomes her legal guardian. He is protective & cares for her deeply, but the arrival of a new case worker threatens to change the status quo. Caitlin Morris-Cornfield is the young girl and her portrayal reeks of reality. Andrew Soutter’s Adam evoked all the big-brothers who adopted this only child as mentee during my formative years. The case worker with her unbending behavioral formulaic program is played by a convincing Rachelle Magil. This thespian trio brings such intensity to their individual characters that no audience member will fail to be personally touched by their powerful portrayals. There is one other character that never appears, but he’s the catalyst of the situation – the missing originally assigned case worker.  Director Michael Bergmann MUST be familiar with ‘special needs’ and ‘non-verbal’s’ to be so able to represent the frustrations such individuals’ experience. He utilizes freeze-frame imagery with voice broadcast to illustrate her powerful but unspoken thoughts. ‘MUTE’ is a MUST-SEE! DG"

- Danny Gaisin, Ontario Arts Review

Mute opens to a great review! by Michael Bergmann

Thanks to everyone who made it out to our first show! Everything went very well, and it was great end to an exciting day of the Fringe opening. 

 

We already have a wonderful review from Mooney on Theatre, so we are off to a good start! You can read the review here.

 

Congratulations to everyone! We have six more shows, so do come and see us. The details and time are available on the Mute page.

Mute - Come to our Reception! by Michael Bergmann

Rehearsals are well underway for Mute, and things are looking great! We have our full performance information available on the Mute page, and soon you will be able to buy your tickets from the Toronto Fringe!

 

In the mean time, you should come out to our reception! An open mic, silent auction with excellent items, and no cover should guarantee a good time! Never mind seeing the wonderful people involved, and helping to support the show! Wondering where to go?

 

Fixt Point Studios

1550 Queen St W, Toronto

Saturday June 25, 2011 starting at 8PM

 

Hope to see you there!

Mute - Audition Notice by Michael Bergmann

BergARTS is happy to be presenting Mute at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival, in collaboration with An Act of Pluffie. We are also announcing auditions, so please see below and contact us if you are interested:

---

 

An Act of Pluffie and BergARTS invite actors to audition for the production of Mute, playing at the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival. This is an unpaid position, but an honorarium will be paid out at the end of the festival.

 

Rendered mute by post-traumatic stress disorder, a teenaged girl, Jenna lives alone with her brother and her memories. A social worker arrives to assess the family, bearing the news that if Adam cannot prove that his sister is improving in his care, the siblings will be separated. 

 

Winner of Best New Play at the 2007 Victoria Fringe Festival.

 

The characters available for audition are:

 

JENNA (15): A young girl rendered mute from PTSD

ADAM (23): Jenna’s older brother and caretaker

  

The audition dates are Saturday April 9 from 4pm to 10pm and Monday April 11 from 2:30pm to 6pm. Both days will be at the Lloyd Studio at the Ryerson Theatre School, 44 Gerard St East, Toronto. 

If interested, please send a headshot and resume, and contact us for a time and location at:

An_Act_Of_Pluffie@bergarts.com 


 

A year later and a new project: Tech by Michael Bergmann

January marked the one year anniversary of BergARTS. I know you haven't heard from me in a while, but this year that is going to change, as a bunch of new things are happening.

First, you might notice the website looks different. A bit of a refresh, but by no means a final look. (Attention CSS magicians, care to lend a helping hand?)

Second, new shows! As you can see on the right pane, we have two shows coming up that we are involved in: Under Milk Wood and Mute. As we get closer to them, I'll be posting much more information.

Finally, what I consider the most important new development. In keeping with the original mandate of BergARTS, to combine the worlds of art and technology, I will be launching a new tech blog. A tech blog focusing specifically on technology made for artists, or used by artists. It will be fairly broad in that definition, and I'm sure the direction of it will change over time. I have some longer term ideas that I may want to develop it into, but we'll see how it goes.

 

So, finally, a question for you, my fellow artists:

What technology do you love? What do you use in your art (whatever form it may take)? Leave me some ideas in the comments, and let's start of list of these.

 

I'll try to talk about something, whether it is a product or service or even tip, at least once a week. 

All of this will be part of the main blog, but also reachable directly at BergARTS.com/tech

 

So, welcome to BergARTS: Tech. Help me start, post below, and share with others!

 

 

Changing again... by Michael Bergmann

Major changes and restructuring is coming to BergARTS soon. Things are going to be moving away from a separate entity, and become much more personal. 

 

In the mean time, check out shows at the Toronto Fringe! The two on the sidebar, WET and The Centre of Everything Civilised I've been involved in personally, but there is something for everyone!

Leer - The end by Michael Bergmann

And with that, Leer is finished. Thank you to everyone who came and saw it, either in person or online. And thank you to everyone who made it possible. 

 

Below is a link to a recording of the final night's stream, complete with quite a good talk back at the end. 

 

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/6368271

 

As well, below are some pictures from the show. 

 

Leer Gallery 

 

Thanks again everyone, I hope to continue this work in the future!

Leer - Opening tonight! by Michael Bergmann

The time has finally arrived. Leer will be opening tonight, and I must say that I'm very happy with how everything has turned out. So, now it the time for you to see our little workshop creation. Remember, if you can't make it in person, you can watch online here.

 

Whichever way you see it, I would ask if you would help us out with some feedback and fill out the survey at the link below. I'm very curious about what people think of this.

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9W2XNZC

 

Thanks in advance, and hope to see you there!

Leer - Less than two weeks until opening! by Michael Bergmann

The time has gone by quickly, and we are fast approaching our opening. Our video footage has been shot, and is in post production right now. We are in the last weeks of rehearsal, and I am very excited to get this project all together.

 

That being said, the last part is for you to come and see it! Show dates, times and location are available on the Leer page.

 

The show runs approximately one hour. Each show will be followed by a talkback, where I would love to hear your comments and questions. 

Can't make the show? Not to worry, as it will be streamed live as well. If you are watching live, I encourage you to take part in the chat and join in on the talkback; we'll be taking questions from our online audience as well.

The show will air live at 8pm EST at the show dates at:

http://www.BergARTS.com/live

In person shows are PWYC ($5 recommended), online shows are of course free. That being said, I would highly encourage and implore you to come in person if you can. Not only does it make me happier, but you will get the much fuller experience.

 

Stay tuned for more as we get closer!

Leer - Casting complete! by Michael Bergmann

I'm happy to announce that Leer is now fully cast. The real work can now begin! As rehearsals progress, more information will be posted on the main Leer page, including concepts and designs, and hopefully some video. 

 

For now, allow me to introduce the cast of Leer:

 

Peter Higginson as Dr. Mitchell Allustrof

Ed Hillier as Matthias Kirsch

Anna Ross as Caroline

Claudia Yiu as Georgette

(due to scheduling, Jessica Grosdanof will be unable to play the role.)

Erin Dickson as Racine

Leer - Audition call by Michael Bergmann

Leer is starting to come together, and the page for it is now available under the Theatre heading at the top of the site. The page will be updated with more information and media as the process moves along. 

 

First however, I am happy to announce that we have opened up a call for actors to audition for the workshop production. Please feel free to pass this around to people that you think might be interested. The full posting is below:

 

---

Actors are welcome to audition for a workshop production of "Leer", a new play in development written by Sean Braune and directed by Michael F Bergmann.

 

The workshop will be presented at Ryerson University’s Abrams Studio Theatre in April 20 - 22, 2010, with the possibility of a full production in late summer 2010. This is an unpaid position.

 

Audition date is February 16, 2010. Please have a look at the characters and synopsis below, and if interested, contact us for a time and location. 

 

Please contact at michael@bergarts.com

 

More information about the company is available at www.BergARTS.com

 

Thank you for your interest!

 

 

SYNOPSIS

Leer is a play that explores the basic plot of Shakespeare’s King Lear in the present, while also exploring the German connotation of leer which means “empty.” The central character is the German scientist Dr. Allustrof, pataphysician, who is filled with an encroaching darkness and emptiness as his dark past catches up with him at the end of his life. He is terrified of the dark and finds himself collecting countless lamps and lightbulbs to offset the darkness which he sees as containing the ghosts of all of those dead casualties of his technological inventions during WWII. He secludes himself in his home as he repeatedly attempts to deny his past even though three of his graduate students are waiting outside for him to show his face. The three students – Georgette, Racine, and Caroline – each hope he is safe and still alive, but more importantly they each want to hear him lecture again because his oratory filled them with a briefly-felt meaning in life. Caroline is haunted by her love for Allustrof which is now challenged by the love of one of his top disciples, Matthias Kirsch, who wants to save his mentor from the darkness (and madness) that is threatening to swallow him up.

CHARACTERS

Dr. Mitchell Allustrof. Male. 75.

Allustrof is an older man caught in the conflictual torrent of internal struggle over guilt experienced at his engagement with the technology that was used to subjugate the Jews in WWII, and also his culpability in the creation of the atomic bomb with Oppenheimer. Allustrof has denied his past, is stubbornly resistant to his own guilt in the events, claims that his hands are clean and has focused on a brilliant career in Pataphysics at the local university. He is an inspiring orator who engages students with his dramatic monologues. He has fallen in love with one of his students, Caroline, but denies this as well, as a history of repression tugs at the remaining coherency of his mind as his life unravels in the throes of madness. At the play’s beginning, Allustrof has sequestered himself inside his house with his large collection of lamps and lights, hoping to illuminate the darkness that lurks in his soul.

Dr. Matthias Kirsch. Male. 35.

Kirsch was one of Allustrof’s finest graduate students, a brilliant and conceited pataphysician and also a good friend of the aging professor. However, he has also fallen in love with Caroline and is pulled into the absurd relational triangle as he tries to save Allustrof from the mad professor’s own tendency towards seclusion and self-destruction. He is frustrated with life.

Caroline. Female. 24.

Caroline is a brilliant, though unsure girl, lost in the world after the ruination of her ties to both Allustrof and Kirsch. She misses them both, and is confused by her love of Allustrof (which is not physical in the least) and Kirsch (which is physical and not emotional because she finds him pompous). She is a close friend with Georgette and Racine.  

Dr. Georgette. Female. 28.

Georgette is the best friend of Racine. She and Racine play as a sort of Vladimir and Estragon to the absurdist drama occurring between the three “lovers.” Georgette is confident and slightly conceited, but she (like Racine and Caroline) finds herself waiting outside Allustrof’s house to catch a glimpse of the now reclusive professor. She acts as a moral compass to the actions of both Racine and Caroline. She is dismissive and suspicious of Kirsch.

Racine. Female. 22.

Racine is more flippant than Georgette and is looking to have fun, whereas Georgette is looking to hear Allustrof lecture again. Racine is confused by Caroline’s ridiculous situation and constantly attempts to set her on the right course, which in her opinion is with Kirsch. Racine, like Georgette, is fascinated by Allustrof, but his darkness frightens her.


New year, new changes by Michael Bergmann

Exciting new changes are coming to BergARTS this year, including an updated website. So please excuse the appearance of it for the next little while, it will be changing a lot. Stay tuned for more information soon.

Goodbye facebook by Michael Bergmann

After spending far too much time removing everything, there remains no more content on my facebook page. I am keeping the actual page up because I do recognize how important it is to have a page there, purely for being a part of the social web. However, I am keeping my actual content to places that I can control, which is mainly this website. Yes, search engines scour this page like everything else and mine my data for their uses. I'm fine with that, because I'm choosing to share everything on this website with them. Knowingly and willingly. But I will not have my personal information that I chose to share, under the belief that it was secure and on a closed-network, opened up without my permission. Really, it's all about opting-in. Facebook, please learn from your adopted big brother Google, and follow their motto, at least in spirit: "Don't be evil."

 

I've had this beef with facebook for a long time now, and every time they have changed their Terms of Service, it has become worse. However, the final straw for me was the latest privacy change, explained in excellent detail by the good Mr. Calacanis on his blog here. I suggest giving it a read, and make your choices about what you are comfortable with sharing.

 

So with that, my facebook profile remains a clean and single page, with a friendly note advising the world to visit me here. And if you are reading this, then good on you! You are already in the right place to contact me or see what I'm up to. Keep up this good habit!