Art and science converge in multidisciplinary art performance


A scientist’s biology lecture on flight goes awry when she reveals her own extreme experiments in “Theory of Flight” — the next offering in the new Franke Lectures in Science and the Humanities.

“Theory of Flight” is “a performance at the convergence of art and science,” note the organizers, adding that the lecture-performance is “an emotional and scientific pursuit of human flight” that blends biology and multidisciplinary art.

Directed by Sara Holdren, “Theory of Flight” features story, animations, and music by Anna Lindemann. The production stars soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon as the Bird Spirit, and Lindemann as scientist Alida Kear. Each member of the production is a Yale College alumna.

Lindemann is a composer, animator, writer, and performer, whose work integrates multidisciplinary art and biology. Her pieces “Theory of Flight,” Winged One,” “Bird Brain,” and “The Flying Curiosities of the Plant & Animal Kingdoms” combine digital and stop-motion animation, live and electronic music, video, and performance to explore the emerging field of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo Devo). Lindemann received her M.F.A. in integrated electronic arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she presented “Theory of Flight” as her thesis work.

Holdren, a 2015 directing candidate at the Yale School of Drama, previous directed Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” “The Tempest,” Peter Barnes’ “Red Noses,” and her own adaptations of Leonid Andreyev’s “He Who Gets Slapped” and Shakespeare’s “Henry IV.” In 2004 she co-founded the Red Umbrella Theater Company, which performed its own adaptations of “The Winter’s Tale” and “Romeo & Juliet” in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland. While at Yale she served as artistic director of the Control Group, an experimental theater ensemble.

Fitz Gibbon’s performances during the 2012-2013 season include Unsuk Chin’s “Akrostichon-Wortspiel,” the modern stage premiere of Joseph Vézina’s opera “Le Lauréat,” and the premier of Adam Sherkin’s “Water Makes You Dream” at the Glenn Gould Studio. The 2010 recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize for Excellence in the Arts, Fitz Gibbon appeared in principal roles with the Yale Baroque Opera Project, Yale Opera, and Opera Theater of Yale College.

“Theory of Flight” will be staged at the Off Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 1 and 2. Tickets for the performances are free, but seating is limited and reservations are recommended. Each performance will be followed by a talkback with the artistic team. Visit the “Theory of Flight” website for more information and to reserve tickets.

The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities — made possible by the generosity of Richard (Class of 1953) and Barbara Franke — is a new program that aims to foster cross-disciplinary dialogue, creative collaboration, and research among scientists and humanists.

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