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Monday August 15th

Process Series features performances still in development

Jared Mezzocchi's play "Poppa, God Bless" opens this week at the Historic Playmakers Theater. The play centers around Joe Quinn, a ninety year old man who discovers that he can use the internet and emails to relive the good memories of his past. 

The workers really encourage pictures of him at the desk and of the cube itself.
Buy Photos Jared Mezzocchi's play "Poppa, God Bless" opens this week at the Historic Playmakers Theater. The play centers around Joe Quinn, a ninety year old man who discovers that he can use the internet and emails to relive the good memories of his past. The workers really encourage pictures of him at the desk and of the cube itself.

Though showing tonight at Historic Playmakers Theatre, Jared Mezzocchi’s one-man show — “Poppa, God Bless” — isn’t complete.

The performance is the second installment of the Process Series, which features performance works that are still in progress.

“Poppa, God Bless,” a multimedia production, tells the story of a 90-year-old man, Joe Quinn, and his introduction to the Internet.

The show ventures into Quinn’s memories using authentic home videos from Mezzocchi’s family. Quinn is not only the lead character in the show, but also Mezzocchi’s real “poppa.”

Mezzocchi is the writer, director and producer of the show.

He said the Process Series will mark a shift from his usual work, designing media for live performances. Now, he is working to develop performances that are entirely his own.

“Before getting involved with the Process Series, I just never really allowed myself the time to get my performance ideas on paper,” Mezzocchi said.

The Process Series is co-sponsored by Carolina Performing Arts and the department of communication studies.

Conceived by Joseph Megel, an artist in residence in the department of communication studies, the series was designed to give artists a space to showcase works in progress.

Rather than witnessing just the end point of the artistic process, the audience views — and becomes part of — the artist’s process.

“We present an artist developing something new, give them room and air to develop it here on campus,” Megel said.

By presenting a product in the works, artists can gauge the audience’s reaction, discover what does and doesn’t work and make appropriate changes.

“What happens is the artists really appreciate this moment — it helps them get to their next steps,” Megel said.

Rob Hamilton, a technical director in the communications department, has lent his skills to the show.

“When you’ve got something you’re working on and you see other people get excited about, you know you’re doing something right,” he said.

The narrative of “Poppa, God Bless” depends heavily on what media will be incorporated in the show.

The set is one cube — which resembles a bare room — with constant video projections on each side.

The Process Series production will let Mezzocchi know how well his media work in the context of the performance, Megel said.

“Without the media he cannot continue working on the script,” Megel said. “He needs to evaluate the effectiveness of the media before he can continue.”

“We are just trying to give the artists what they need.”

Contact the Arts Editor at arts@dailytarheel.com.

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