The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA) has awarded the second CSPA Fringe Award for Sustainable Production at the Hollywood Fringe to D is for Dog by Katie Polebaum and the Rogue Artists ensemble, directed by Sean Calweti. It is produced by the Rogue Artists Ensemble at the Hudson Theater and continues to play through August 4th.
D is for Dog explores the themes of family loyalty and compassion using iconic imagery from 1950s television blended with startling elements of horror and science fiction. Mixing puppetry, live actors, original music and video projection, the play takes audiences from the absurd to the terrifying, and everywhere in-between.
“D is for Dog was chosen because of how the Rogue Artists Ensemble careful considered their entire production.” comments Ian Garrett, co-founder and Director of the CSPA. “The nature of our process for determining the winner of this award doesn’t just focus on what a show is about; though there are mainly elements of D is for Dog which do speak to thematic to sustainability. But, it is also about the importance of being conscientious in how a show is made and addressing those questions across all elements of production and presentation, which is what led to this award going to this show.”
The award is determined by the submission of a questionnaire about how the show was produced and audience response. D is for Dog‘s production team was able to provide comprehensive technical information for the production, which showed a commitment to design and resource efficiency. This considered approach also factored into their communications and marketing. All of these factors were further supported by the themes of the play.
The CSPA Directors, Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright adjudicated the award, along with select CSPA affiliates and friends. The CSPA also supports a similar award for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, going into its 3rd year. For the Edinburgh Fringe, Mhora Samuel and Tim Atkinson from The Theatres Trust’s European Regional Development Fund-backed Ecovenue project have helped the CSPA adapt the criteria for a UK audience, providing guidance on UK equivalents to US name brands, as well as providing insight on measuring conventions and policy. This year, the CSPA will be working with Festivals Edinburgh to further expand the impact of this program.
“The CSPA is not just another ‘go green’ organization,” says Wright. “We hope to gather and distribute information that aids in the sustainability of the earth, the sustainability of our communities, and the sustainability of our art. And so, the purpose of this award is not to recognize the greenest production. Our objective in offering this award is to ask questions of ourselves, as theater artists, about the greater impact of our work on the world around us. The fringe model provides an ideal platform to introduce these ideas and the award due to the expectations and scale of the shows.”
“Even more so than we want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theater artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that,” adds Garrett.
Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright founded the CSPA in early 2008 after individually working on each of the programs that now make up the multi-faceted approach to sustainability separately. The organization provides a network of resources to arts organizations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theater, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others. www.sustainablepractice.org
It should be noted that director Ian Garrett has previously worked with the Rogue Artist Ensmeble. He was production manager on Gogol Project and Lighting Designer for Hyperbole:Origins. He was in no way involved with D is for Dog or other Rogue project since his work on Hyperbole: Origins.