The Amelia Project
UC San Diego
Directed by : Kim Rubinstein
Performed by : Tom Dugdale, Mary Glen Frederick, Kimberly Monks
Lighting: Joel Britt
Photography & Media: Jim Carmody
Original Music: Tom Dugdale
THE AMELIA PROJECT was a multidisciplinary workshop project combining text, music, movement, and film to create a theatrical performance inspired by the novel, I Was Amelia Earhart, by Jane Mendelsohn. The novel concerned the legendary aviator, Amelia Earhart. During an attempt to fly around the world in 1937, Earhart mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific. She was assumed to have perished, but the novel offered a fictional, imaginative, unabashedly romantic vision of Earhart surviving by crash-landing onto a remote island with her navigator, Fred Noonan.
We were drawn to Earhart's celebration of the unknown. Her faith and interest in the unknown parallels the artist’s. Earhart impresses us as a strong female explorer emerging during a moment of national crisis—The Great Depression—when so many of her countrymen were paralyzed. Striking out on her own to find a new world, Earhart subverts the absurd myth of Woman waiting to be saved by Man. In our view, Earhart innovates the concept of heroism by rewriting it as a shedding, rather than a boasting, of the ego. Aesthetically, some of the most relevant questions to our research process were: how do you stage and integrate hallucination into live performance; how can theater improvise upon history with respect and consequence; and how can one find hope and salvation in another human being?