Wild Tiger, the most abundant species among the Felidae, is an endangers species now. Deke Weaver, a writer-performer, designer, theater, and media artist, traveled to central India’s Pench National Park, which is one of India’s last sanctuaries for wild tigers and many other areas, such as the edge of the Bay of Bengal. After these travel experiences, Deke Weaver build a performance that shows a connection between animals and people.
TIGER, the 5th performance from Deke Weaver’s Unreliable Bestiary project, brings together a performance set on a more intimate stage. Through years of research and personal experiences Deke Weaver brings to the audience an abstract and almost curious performance, accompanied by dance, playing different characters to give a sense of location but also light-hearted comedic tone, as well as not straying away from rawness and expressing anger with how little time the Earth may have. A raw and intimate performance bringing together a series of short stories that string together the main point, tigers.
A unique experience regarding the world of wildlife
Written by Edward Huang
A sizable group watched on with curiosity as a man set up the stage in the lower level of the Krannert Art Museum. I was one of the audience, and I had no clue what to expect from this presentation. Perhaps he was going to talk about endangered wildlife. Maybe this was more of a one-person play? Whatever it was, I was eagerly awaiting for the man to begin his show.
What a unique performance performed and directed by Deve
I like how Deve place the underlying message of protecting
the endangered animals through this whimsical play.
He used many different strategies to display the relationship between humans and tigers. From role-playing many different characters in which Deve played more than 3 characters during the play and sometimes doing 2 characters simultaneously!
Moreover, he used music and a song to talk about the fragile
relationship between the tigers and humans, how the tigers are eating the
humans and how the humans are attacking the tigers.
He did many other strategies such as repetitively playing a
certain film again and again as he shares his story.
But among all the strategies, the greatest impact is when he got everyone to do something together. One moment was when we stand up and hummed to summon the tiger spirit. I could feel the resonance on my chest as everyone hums together. It was about a whole minute of humming!
Another moment was when we got everyone to read out loud the words on the screen. It was quite shocking how everyone was so participative and with that kind of engagement, it just creates a mark to remember and bring back after the play.
Home… This is a word many people hold very close to their hearts. It is not just a physical place, but it is about the people that live in that house that gives substance and meaning to the word home.
This word also resonates in the Tiger performance it talked
about India’s Pench National Park is one of India’s last sanctuary to the wild
tigers. With tigers being endangered, it really pains my heart to see how these
home for the tigers is literally their only hope for a home in the entire
It got me to ponder deeply too, my family is the only home in the entire world, what am I doing to protect it? What am I doing to build that home? How am I thankful for that home? As Thanksgiving is coming, let’s not wait till then to be thankful and do something for our family. It starts now. What can I do today to appreciate my home? 😊
Deke Weaver performs his 5th Unreliable Bestiary project, which is about the Tiger, at the Krannert Art Museum on November 7th.
Throughout the play, Deke Weaver tells his story about the tiger using various methods. First, he portrays different characters as the story moves along. He plays a tour guide, portrayed by wearing a leather hat; he plays a intellect who lives in India, portrayed by wearing glasses and having an soft accented voice; he plays another character whom searches for tigers by wearing crushed garbage as armory and protection. By playing various characters in his performance, Weaver tells his story in an interesting and amusing way. Each character had moments in the spotlight that showcased they significance.
In addition to playing multiple characters, Weaver includes a “powerpoint” in the background of a mix of videos and photos to help tell his story. The photos and videos help establish setting, like in the deep forests searching for tiger, or on the plane waiting to land. The videos in between speeches also tell interesting stories and provide important facts and information. For example, one video explained how the tiger is used as a mascot for many, many companies, such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal and Exxon gas. And, how the tiger population is vanishing. These factual videos really impacted me the most because it really shows how vulnerable these animals are, and how we humans are destroying or environment and ecosystems.
In the performance, themes of journey and home emerged. The idea of journey was shown through the steps along the way, from being at home to traveling across the world to searching in forests for tigers. The way Weaver told his story made it seem as if we were on the journey with him, learning new pieces of information and exploring new regions of earth.
[MAKE-UP EVENT] The night began in the Espresso Royale Cafe of the Krannert Art Museum. Organized and moderated by Shaya Robinson, the event for the night was an open mic, where people were allowed to come up and share their artistic creations and express themselves with the audience. The host, Shaya Robinson, has been doing this for over 5 years so it came as no surprise the amount of people that showed and the intimacy that flowed throughout the room.
Jennifer Monson dance was a way to connect yourself to the earth around you. As humans sometime we need to move and stand up and get all of the feelings from the day out of our system. I am not going to lie I thought the whole experience was going to be weird but in truth, it was extremely interesting an entertaining for myself. I enjoy being in artistic space and enjoy the movement I feel I need to be in.
We initially started outside, I believe her purpose for this was to find a connection with the world around us. Something I have been noticing for the past couple of weeks is how people find themselves so uncomfortable because the only comfort they have is on their phones. It is what they know and understand. Sometimes, it feels good to experience the world around us and that is something Jennifer Monson insisted on. Through some of the research I did, I found she wanted to quit dance and become a park ranger. I could understand how that could have been her passion, specifically when she brought up how she watched Whales migrate.
While we were outside she had asked us three questions that stood out to me: 1) What direction is home for you? 2) Where is North? 3) What is one thing you can here from far away and what is one thing you can here up close? For the first question, I for one moment faced toward my dorm but I suppose any place I can living a feel comfortable in is my home. The second question I was not really sure where to go, so I just watched how everyone else moved. The third question was kind of hard because the sounds I heard from far away began to grow further and the sound I heard from up close I was not really sure if how close by it was. For the third question she asked us to go toward the sound we heard nearby and I didn’t move too far because I had no idea where the sound was.
After this, we walked back inside and walked into the Women of Architecture exhibit and we sat on the floor -which I am not a fan of- and she had asked us to grab a partner. My partner for the evening was Dr.Robinson. Monson had asked one partner to close their eyes and do whatever motion while the other partner witnessed. I am kind of an awkward person who can easily become uncomfortable but in the three minutes, I forgot where I was and forgot anyone was witnessing me. I kind of enjoyed it. We switched roles with our partner and Dr. Robinson said she had also forgotten my presence.
Jennifer had then asked us to explore a painting and kind of move with it. We had chosen EL Sombrero by Barabra Rossi. The painting was interesting however I did not really move with it I kind of just watched. I think this is one of the most attractive but confusing paintings in the section we were in. Making sure to move your eyes is important when understanding any physical object. I do not believe an interpretive dance number is required but making sure to not just look but to see.
Overall I genuinely enjoyed myself. It sometimes is fun to take a moment and analyze art which makes FAA 110 a really fun class. 🖼
Although this workshop was titled “Dance”, it was more like a journey about our soul. It gave me plenty of time to feel my inner changes and explore the deeper philosophical implications of art.
We stopped outside Krannert Art Museum and Ms. Monson requested us to close our eyes and feel which direction is north. Then we each looked for and turned to the direction of our hometown. Ms. Monson let us feel the sounds from a distance or close by, looking for objects that emitted these sounds, and moving in the direction of their movement. In such a quiet environment, I clearly heard the rumble of cars driving across the road, the rustle of wind blowing through the leaves, and the screaming of birds in the sky, which made me feel relaxed and calm down.
After entering the museum, Ms. Monson took us to a gallery and let us find a partner. Each person had three minutes to close their eyes and do whatever they want. I chose to lie on the ground and stretch my body, which made me feel comfortable because I usually sit to study and my back could not be relaxed.
In the third session, Ms. Monson asked us to choose one from different activities and work with our partner. My partner and I wanted to observe and draw the life cycle of the material of a work of art. We chose a painting, and I thought about where the oil paint came from. I painted the process I imagined on paper to share with others.
This workshop was so unique that I couldn’t find a similar event. I was very grateful for this special experience, which taught me a new way of feeling art.
The evening began with a brief meeting in the lobby of Krannert Art Museum. Here we met with who KAM would be hosting for the night, Jennifer Monson. The event would be a dance workshop that we the audience would be taking part in. It served as an interactive experience that included using our senses to clear our minds and connect with our surroundings, using our bodies to demonstrate how we felt, and then analyzing the art work and creating our own response using drawings or a form of dance to express what it meant to us.