The Barnes Foundation

Barnes Jawn(t), August 2018. Images courtesy of the Obvious Agency.

Barnes Jawn(t), August 2018. Images courtesy of the Obvious Agency.

In 2018 I began working with Philadelphia’s Obvious Agency and the Barnes Foundation  to create interactive happening-style interpretations of the Barnes Collection. The first of these were a series of short tours called Barnes Jawn(t)s. In each Jawn(t) I led small groups of people through the collection’s galleries, where they created dialogues based on the art. We looked at each gallery’s contents through many imagined lenses: that of the artists who’d made the art, that of Dr. Albert Barnes who’d assembled the collection and curated each gallery, and that of ourselves as viewers and the way we interpret the intentions of both creators and curators.

The next Barnes collaboration will happen in May of 2019., and will feature picture performances by a revolving ensemble of artist-storytellers to highlight older examples of  story-art in the collection, including hieroglyphic tablets from Egypt, painted urns from Greece, and carved wooden headboards from Madagascar.

Podcasting

In 2018 I launched Nobody Knows, a comedic question-and-answer podcast with Mason Rosenthal. Each short episode begins with a listener's question to which Mason (in his title role as "Nobody") records an answer and then sends me the recording to edit, sound design, and release online. The series began as a sequel to our play, Nobody's Home, and drew in over 1,000 listeners within its first month of release.

Sample episodes:

Above: Shots from the Nobody Knows installation at the 2018 Fun-A-Day Art Show in Philadelphia.

Aisle

In 2018 I designed sound for Aisle, an immersive theatre experience for an audience of one that took place inside of an actual supermarket in Philadelphia. Performers I-Chia Chiu and Mason Rosenthal communicated with each participant via phone, text message, and in-person monologue as they pushed a shopping cart around the store's grocery aisles. Upon exiting, patrons received a recording that they listened to while Chiu and Mason finished the performance in the supermarket's parking lot, the lines of dialogue in their ears refraining phrases heard during Aisle's various scenes. Here is that recording:

Cones

Cones is the solo show about vision loss and dis/ability passing that I created for my MFA Practicum. Dis/ability has long been a running undercurrent in my work, and this was the first piece I'd made to address it more explicitly. The show's title refers to a retinal condition that runs in my family.

While making the show I blogged about dis/ability performance, including how blindness shows up in theatre, film and song as well as in daily life. Read it here.

Just before to its debut, NPR station WHYY ran this radio piece about Cones.

Cones was a keynote performance for Temple University's Institute on Disabilities, at Goddard College, Cabrini University, Episcopal Academy, and for the New Jersey Commision for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Videography by Aleks Martray.

My Dad & His Guru

Photo of Guru Sheikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in Philadelphia during the 1970s courtesy of the Fellowship Press. Photo of my dad and me from a super-8 reel that my mom shot around the same time.

Photo of Guru Sheikh M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen in Philadelphia during the 1970s courtesy of the Fellowship Press. Photo of my dad and me from a super-8 reel that my mom shot around the same time.

In 2015 I made this piece for a sound production course with WHYY reporter Elisabeth Perez-Luna. During the first week of the class, my dad had a heart attack. I went to visit and cook for him during his recovery. He asked me what I was working on, and then began talking about his own experience delving into sound production at the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship, a Sufi centre in Philadelphia where he and I lived during parts of my childhood. So I pulled out my phone, recorded an hour of his stories, and brought this piece to class a few days later.

Oud music at the start is by Hamza El Din, a Sufi musician from Nubia who was affiliated with the Fellowship. Vocal music is by Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a recording negotiated by my dad with Moses Asch for Folkways Records. The voices of Dr. Carroll Nash and Bawa Muhaiyaddeen,.with Dr. M.Z. Markar translating, are from a1973 archival tape (full transcript here).The sole current-day voice in “My Dad & His Guru” is that of Patrick Andrews, whose voice sounds a lot like mine.


A note about my own name: “Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews” means “Morgan, son of Patrick Andrews.” It’s a name that celebrates a patrilineal Scots-Irish heritage, but conceals German, Jewish, Arabic and Indian names elsewhere in my family—names that I intend to explore in a future project…

Triptych

I made a triptych of theatrical experiments in 2014–15 that ran somewhere between my practices of performance and teaching. Each began as a workshop that worked from a specific medium (still image, movement, or sound) toward making theatrical performance.

Videos here are from the "12 Tones" workshop series whose participants first created sounds, turned them into movements, and then united these into quick performances.

A finite set of neuroscientific 2-person movements formed the basis for "8 Moves" and a set of specific objects was entitled "6 Chairs." Click the titles to view portfolio monographs for each:

6 Chairs
8 Moves
12 Tones

Dis/ability Ethnography

Logo for Argentina's green cane law, which designates people with low vision.

Logo for Argentina's green cane law, which designates people with low vision.

Dis/ability performance and notions of dis/ability “passing” moved to the forefront of my work in 2014. I make performances that investigate that line between "dis" and "abled" by asking performers and audiences to cross it in various directions. In Nobody's Home (2013) the audience spends about a third of the show with their eyes closed. In Alchemy (2014) certain performers have limited use of eyes, hands, mouth, or body altogether, and audiences wrestled with assumptions and prejudices around that. I performed my solo memoir Cones (2015) blindfolded and the audience also engaged part of the show doing certain things with eyes closed. And since playing the blind prophet Tiresias in Antigone (2016) I've been typecast as a visually-impaired actor in preference to fully-sighted actors assuming the roles of low-vision characters.

Alongside this work has a been a blog called Rods & Cones about the spectrum of vision and blindness in art, media, science and culture. I have also taught classes on the subject at Cornell University, Goddard College, the University of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, and through the Headlong Performance Institute.

Above: Sighted actors perform blind characters in The Miracle Worker (1962), The Tale of Zatochi (1962), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), Daredevil (2015), Star Wars: Rogue One (2016), and the video for Lionel Ritchie's song "Hello" (1984). Whether products of biography, fiction, or fantasy, all these blind characters are depicted as having extraordinary powers

Nobody's Home

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In 2013 I directed and co-wrote this multi-sensory meditation-comedy for actor-creator Mason Rosenthal to perform in his own bedroom. It debuted at Philadelphia's SoLow Festival, and went on to the New Orleans Fringe Festival where audiences experienced it on board an RV. The show has since toured to more than 50 bedrooms in a dozen cities around the U.S. and had a handful of “studio” performances at colleges and universities.

In Nobody's Home a personality named Nobody leads the audience through three guided mediations, serves them tea and sweets, and provides private dances, foot massages, and shadow fables from the canon of bygone folklore. In 2018 Mason and I launched the sequel, Nobody Knows, as a podcast.

Selected Performances:

  • Philadelphia SoLow Festival, 2013

  • New Orleans Fringe Festival, 2013

  • East Coast Tour, 2014

  • Valentines Day Shows, 2014–2016

  • Launch of Nobody Knows podcast, 2018

Rutherfurd Hall

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For five years I was a regular artist-in-residence at Rutherfurd Hall, a historic mansion in northwest New Jersey. While there I directed and performed in seven devised plays that moved actors and audience about the building, each drawing from local history, folklore, and science (Lewis Morris Rutherfurd was a pioneer in the field of astrophotography).

Click here to read show notes for the following plays:

The Sea of Tranquility
Alchemy
The Gauntlet

Photos by Amy Hufnagel, route map by Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews.

Picture Performances: A History

I published one section of my undergraduate thesis as "Picture Performance: A History from Power Point to Cave Painting." Click here to see the full text.

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In the essay I reveal histories of wandering oral storytellers whose version of events runs counter to those told by people in power.  They told their stories by pointing at pictures while singing or speaking, using this combined visual and oral evidence to sway their audiences.

Examples here include a Moritadasenger c. 1700, Wayang Beber c. 1900, Cantastoria and Al Gore, both c. 2000s.

Graphics for the Oppressed

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When I started facilitating Theatre of the Oppressed workshops in 2008, I realized that there wasn't a body of graphics to support that work. So I started one and made them publicly available for anyone practicing Theatre of the Oppressed. I've seen them repurposed by groups all over the world, including accompanying texts in Greek, Hebrew and Turkish.

 

Some of these graphics are for use with specific Theatre of the Oppressed techniques, such as Cop in the Head and Rainbow of Desire. Others can be used by anybody exploring a particular topic, such as gender, race, dis/ability, or rifts in one's community.. 

See the full roster of free-use Theatre of the Oppressed graphics here.

Asana

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I teach community yoga classes that emphasize an inquisitive approach to breath, anatomy and alignment. I use yoga as a way to unpack ideas in art, science and politics, and relate that to a process of personal transformation and social justice. My classes invite dialogue and often raise funds for activist organizations.

Early morning classes: Tues/Thurs, 7AM

Advancing Asana (workshop-style classes):
6PM Wednesdays and 10AM Sundays

More info at Studio 34 Yoga.

Celebrate People's History

Jana Sanskriti Poster

I contributed this blockprint to the Celebrate People's History poster series after visiting the Jana Sanskriti Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed in West Bengal, just before the publication of the poster series in book form by the Feminist Press.

Series curator Josh MacPhee writes, "The Celebrate People’s History posters are rooted in the do-it-yourself tradition of mass-produced and distributed political propaganda, but detoured to embody principles of democracy, inclusion, and group participation in the writing and interpretation of history. It’s rare today that a political poster is celebratory, and when it is, it almost always focuses on a small canon of male individuals: MLK, Ghandi, Che, or Mandela. Rather than create another exclusive set of heroes, I’ve generated a diverse set of posters that bring to life successful moments in the history of social justice struggles. To that end, I’ve asked artists and designers to find events, groups, and people who have moved forward the collective struggle of humanity to create a more equitable and just world. The posters tell stories from the subjective position of the artists, and are often the stories of underdogs, those written out of history. The goal of this project is not to tell a definitive history, but to suggest a new relationship to the past."

In 2018 Celebrate People's History: the Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution was published in Korean and the posters continue to exhibit all over the world.

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Theatre Pedagogy

2014 community workshop in Philadelphia

2014 community workshop in Philadelphia

Silent reel of Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed workshops led by Hariprasad Kowtha, Paloma Irizarry, and Morgan FitzPatrick Andrews. Filmed and edited by Natasha Cohen-Carroll and Gabriel Dattatreyan.

For the past decade I've taught using the methodologies of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO). PTO uses images, sounds, movements and words equally, acknowledging that all are expressed as forms of language in society. PTO's ultimate goal is the dismantling of oppressive dynamics, and each session I facilitate keeps that in the context of what the group can achieve in an a single day, week, month, or semester.

I've run PTO currcula for education programs at Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, Cabrini University, The College of New Jersey, and Tyler College of Art; for Masters of Social Work students and faculty from Drexel and Widener Universities; in dis/ability studies at Cornell and Temple Universities, and for theatre, dance, and writing classes at UPenn and the University of the Arts.

Reproduce Y Rebélate / Reproduce & Revolt

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In 2008 I contributed several prints to the Reproduce Y Rebélate/Reproduce & Revolt, a bilingual collection of political graphics granted by the creators to the public domain, to be freely used on political posters, flyers, and campaigns. 

Some of these prints also appeared in the anthologies Globalize Liberation (City Lights, 2004) and Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today (PM Press, 2009).

"In Times of Silence" is based on a quote from Judith Malina of the Living Theatre for a show about Palestine. "Our Eyes Need Art" and "Land/Roof" were developed for the show Espaço E Ideias about protest movements in the U.S. and Brazil. "First They Ignore You..." is adapted from the words of Mahatma Gandhi. 

Fables of Flight and Falling

The Soldier and the Phoenix

From 2008 to 2010 I wrote a cycle of allegories that I adapted into blockprints, dioramas, and then miniature theatre performances. These were featured at the Great Small Works international Toy Theater Festival in New York, at the Banners and Cranks Festival in Chicago, the Black Sheep Festival in Pittsburgh, and at Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art

Five-Company Shakespeare

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For five years I co-curated a series of Shakespeare plays with the touring theatre company Missoula Oblongata. We assigned each play's five acts to five theatre companies with varied aesthetics. These acts were assembled "exquisite corpse" style in an undisclosed location. To attend, audience members arrived at a prescribed subway stop wearing red carnations and were then escorted to the secret theatre where they experienced each act in promenade and served with a desert.

The plays we made:

The Tempest (2007)
King Lear (2008-09)
Julius Caesar (2010)
Antony and Cleopatra (2011)
Richard III (2012)

When Magic Confronts Authority

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In 2007 I contributed a chapter to the AK Press anthology Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority. Click here to read see the full text.

My chapter traces the history of political puppetry from ancient tradition of picture theatre and medieval pageants, to the labor, civil rights and anti-war movements of the 20ths century, leading to large demonstrations organized against corporate globalization at the start of the 21st century.

Photo Credits: The Bread & Puppet Theater's Domestic Resurrection Circus (Paul Petroof, 1985), prisoners display survey results for the quincentennial of Columbus' arrival in the Americas (Clare Dolan, 1992), float about the Spanish Civil War at the 1939 May Day Parade in New York's Union Square (1939, John Albok), "The Corporate Power Tower" at Chicago's Active Resistance (Susan Simensky Bietila, 1996). Book cover art and design by Erik Ruin and Josh MacPhee.

Mostly Hairless Ape Dreams

Scene from the 2005 toy theatre edition of “Mostly Hairless Ape Dreams”

Scene from the 2005 toy theatre edition of “Mostly Hairless Ape Dreams”

In 2005 I wrote a number of short stories and adapted them into a touring toy theatre show. Among these were the “Mostly Hairless Ape Dreams,” performed as a three-part dream sequence with shadow puppets and chance music. These originally appeared in book form at the first Fun-A-Day happening in Philadelphia, then as part of a theatre piece that toured to festivals around the U.S. with puppeteer Eli Nixon. In 2007 I remounted “Mostly Hairless Ape Dreams” with shadow artist Erik Ruin as part of “Mushroom Music,” a show inspired by the writings of John Cage that toured the East Coast. More recently I recreated these stories as this 8-minute experiment in audio storytelling. The opening bit about the butterfly is from John Cage’s one-minute collection, Indeterminacy:

Appearances:

  • Part of “The Little Books” at Fun-A-Day Philadelphia (2005)

  • In the “Where Do Things Belong?” East Coast tour with Eli Nixon (2005)

  • In the “Going Nowhere” East Coast tour with Erik Ruin (2007)

  • At Goddard College’s IBA Winter Cabaret (2007)

  • At Great Small Works’ “Sound & Shadow” Spaghetti Dinner, Judson Church, NYC (2007)

Performative Lecture

"The Frankenstein of Everyday Life" performative lecture at the Black Sheep Festival, Pittsburgh, 2006

"The Frankenstein of Everyday Life" performative lecture at the Black Sheep Festival, Pittsburgh, 2006

"The Moon and Our Future" performative lecture at Rutherfurd Hall, 2012

"The Moon and Our Future" performative lecture at Rutherfurd Hall, 2012

"Medium Manifesto" performative lecture at for the Alternative Media Confernce, Goddard College, 2013

"Medium Manifesto" performative lecture at for the Alternative Media Confernce, Goddard College, 2013

Performative lectures predate the ages of information and industrialization, harkening back to times when people needed to step outside to hear someone talk about science or history. I use performative objects—pictures, masks, contraptions and household items from everyday life—as conveyances for ideas, often inviting audience members to step into the process. Because of their interdisciplinary and interactive nature, the performative lecture can happen at the theater, on the street, and even in a conventional lecture hall.

Also see Picture Performance: A History