A conversation with the former director of Carolina Performing Arts led Joseph Megel to create The Process Series, a feature of new works in the performing arts.
Megel is a teaching professor in performance studies at UNC. He created the series upon arriving at the University as a developmental program designed to give interdisciplinary artists a chance to put early editions of their work on stage for an audience.
The series has supported 60 artist residencies at UNC and is now in its 15th season.
“It also lets the students — who want to be artist practitioners — faculty or staff or the community to see how artists of different experience and backgrounds and disciplines create their new work. So that's making what is visible about the developmental work, that is usually invisible, more visible,” Megel said.
In early March, the series will debut “The Bench,” a show from veteran puppeteers Tori Ralston and Tarish Pipkins. The show is about two people, an older Black man and an older white woman, whose random encounter changes both of them.
“It's just a conversation between two people have about what's mundane and also what's deep and uncomfortable,” Ralston said.
Ralston teaches puppetry and interdisciplinary arts at N.C. State University and is the founder of the Theater of Performing Objects.
Pipkins, who creates under the name "Jeghetto," is a lifelong artist who even did puppetry for a Missy Elliot music video.
A shared interest in the art of puppetry and the stories that can be told with it brought Pipkins and Ralston together for their first collaboration, a story about race, gender and class.