Play uses display case as stage in FAC

Rachael Walters

Don’t be shocked walking through the halls of the second floor of FAC when there is a live performance in the visual arts display case.

With These My Hands of the Barbarians will be performing Saturday, Dec. 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. in the display case on the second floor of the Fine Arts Center, around the corner from the main art gallery. However, there also was a “spontaneous” performance on Thursday and another today, both around 1 p.m.

Written and directed by Taylorsville senior Joel Fickel — stage name Joel Sena— With These My Hands of the Barbarian combines several works. Fickel said these works compliment each other, but also make it more complex. The first work used was German writer Heiner Müller’s monologue from a play that is an adaption of the Greek tragedy “Madea,” written by Euripides. In order to add another layer of complexity, Fickel also used a 600-year-old play called Yamanba from Japanese poet Zeami Motokiyo, and adapted it to meet his needs.

The plot takes place in the mind of a possible enemy fighter who is slowly loosing his mind due to solitary confinement as torture. It looks at an individual who is outcast and abused by his surrounding society. The individual is considered barbaric to that society. One purpose for this play is to portray to other generations that although previous generations abused the world, current generations stood up to these injustices. Fickel said that they as artists are looking at human issues and insisting that artists can have a large role in these issues and society.

“It’s exciting and important,” Fickel said, “because we are collaborating on work that isn’t attached to incentive.”

Fickel will also perform in his play along with Memphis, Tenn. senior Morgan Howard and Hopkinsville junior Luke Jean. All the sets, props and sculptures were made by sculpture student Derek Hildesheim and ceramics student, Meghan Muir.

Fickel said he was especially excited to have Jean perform. As a member of the National Guard, Jean brings “a special insight and integrity to the piece.” In addition to his military connections, Jean also is an International Studies major, and knows many people who have visited or are in the Middle East.

“It’s not only a play, it’s a work of art,” Howard said, “With its use of sculpture and music, and even the contrasts of color which guide the piece with an amazingly different sort of edge.”

The performance is an experiment. Fickel said it could end up being horrible, but that no matter what, it would be honest.

“It’s coming from the deepest, most private, most passionate place of our beings,” Fickel said.

Undoubtedly, the performances of With These My Hands of the Barbarians will be unlike anything the WKU campus has experienced. Fickel encourages those “starved for thrilling, provocative, dangerous art that speaks to things that really matter” to attend one of the performances.