A screen shot from “Form/Function"

Theater Like You’ve Never Seen: CNM Students Think Outside the Box For New Production

The production launches today and features immersive video and light to tell the story
July 21, 2022

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, CNM’s Theatre Department had to find new ways to tell stories. And now, even though the worst part of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the department is still using what it learned to challenge itself to create innovative storytelling avenues.

Case in point is the department’s new production called “Form/Function.” Directed by student Isaac Galarneau with musical contributions from student Esau Monteres and visual contributions from other CNM students, the production is not a traditional play but instead invites audience members to experience a narrative that’s told through immersive video and light inside the Coal Avenue Theater. 

“I think there's still a lot of room to find new ways to bring people together in person to experience narrative art,” says Dani Belvin, a CNM Theater instructor. 

We won’t spoil the entire production, but broadly it focuses on the balancing act that humans are currently in with the earth. 

“It focuses a lot on the beauty of the earth and of humanity but also touches on the ways that we are our own undoing,” Isaac says.  “Our mission is to underline the inevitable destination humanity is headed towards. To put it plainly, humanity is choking the life out of this planet and there is not enough urgency surrounding this topic despite it being an existential problem for us as well. This is the idea driving this show. We are well on our way toward extinction and we want to illustrate the paths that we’ve taken to land us in the position we’re in today.”

Isaac says he was inspired by American video artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa and his art installation in the Smithsonian American Art Museum called “Love is the Message and the Message is Death.”  Isaac thought a similar medium would be a powerful way to showcase the harsh effects of climate change. 

“I liked the way he conveyed urgency through his images so I wanted to channel some of that in my own work,” Isaac says. 

Isaac also said Dave Free, a cinematographer and frequent collaborator of Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem’s music videos, was part of his inspiration.

Audiences will be able to see the installation on July 21 and 22 from 4 - 9 p.m. and on July 23 from 1 - 9 p.m. “Form/Function” will take place at CNM’s black box Coal Avenue Theater (The CAT) which is located on Coal Avenue between University and Buena Vista. Donations will be accepted at the door. It will take approximately 5-10 minutes to experience the installation and groups will be limited to 10 people at a time.