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2007 New York City, Abrons Art Center - DISSENT!

2007 Danstravaganza at Perishable Theatre Providence new work: DISSENT!

2007 Frazier Festival @ RI School of Design

2007 RI2PN Concert at Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI- new work: DISSENT!

San Francisco Fringe Festival - 6 performances of solo show, SHIFTINGS

CRS - Manhattan 2 week NYC, solo run of SHIFTINGS @ Dharma Road Prods

Magdalena USA Int'l Women in Performance Festival, Perishable Theater, RI

Bright Night Providence CHO?CES at Perishable Theatre, Providence, RI

Dance Close Up Festival Carriage House Theater, Providence, RI

Blood from a Turnip late night performance festival at Perishable Theatre, RI

The following article was printed in five, Rhode Island newspapers, reaching 88,000 readers. Joan Merwyn was interviewed prior to her performance on New Years Eve, 2004 at the University of Rhode Island Shepard Building, in downtown Providence. Her show was part of Bright Night, a large-scale entertainment event, encompassing all of downtown Providence.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers:
The Standard-Times, Kent County Times, The Narragansett Times, The Chariho Times, The Coventry Courier Time Out Section Thursday, December 30, 2004

Joan Merwyn's Cho?ces one of many options at Bright Night, Providence

By Jessica Hurst

PROVIDENCE — International performance artist and Rhode Island native Joan Merwyn set out 30 years ago to spread messages through movement.

On New year's Eve, she'll bring her message home with the Rhode Island premier of Cho?ces, a one woman show of mime, music, new vaudeville and physical theater, one of over 40 acts offered at Bright Night , Providence.

"There is no right or wrong interpretation to what I do," she said in a telephone interview from her home in New York City last Thursday. "Different people will see different things ? but they're all right."

Through a series of vignettes using live performance, props, and a musical soundtrack, Merwyn hopes to illustrate some of the pivotal life choices young people encounter.

But this isn't a sermon, she said. Rather it's something of a thought-catalyst.

"It doesn't give any didactic solutions," she said. "It suggests. And I hope that it will provoke thought and discussion about making healthy choices."

Above all else, she said, the show has proven to delight audiences of all ages.

"The show is funny, it's entertaining... it's very imagistic," she said. And it's universal. "I've had two year olds up to 92 year olds... what's interesting to me is their feedback."

Merwyn, who spends four months a year at her second home in Saunderstown, has brought Cho?ces to schools, community center, senior centers, adult homes and even art galleries throughout New York.

Besides being an award winning performance artist, she is a teacher, adult workshop instructor, independent stage director and choreographer and works with the mentally and physically handicapped.

She has found that imagistic movement can reach people in ways that defy language, age, and cultural barriers. After all, her performance movements themselves have been developed from inspirations around the world.

Merwyn, who was born in Providence and summered in South County, began her movement studies in India in 1970.

"What I did, basically, was I went all over the world and trained with the masters."

She spent two years in Europe, five on the West Coast, made her way to Montreal, Canada and the Midwest. Her abstract mime and experimental movement are inspired by masters like Etienne Decroux and her style is inspired by silent movies and new vaudeville. The audience is the final ingredient in the magic.

"Through the images and the sounds and the interpretation of the two elements... the audience brings its imagination to that," she said. "As if they're looking at a painting."

Poster design: Marsian De Lellis

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