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Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre & Post-Racial America

A new play created by Assistant Professor Talvin Wilks and interdisciplinary artist Ping Chong
October 17, 2019
Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America 
October 24, 2019 - November 3, 2019
$17 general public
$12 UMN faculty/staff/alumni/retirees
$7 students (any college or under 18)
Purchase tickets online or call (612) 624-2345.

The University of Minnesota Department of Theatre Arts and Dance begins the fall mainstage season with the regional premiere of Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America, a reflection on race and social injustice in America with elements unique to Minnesotan history. Conceived and directed by internationally acclaimed theatre artists Ping Chong and Talvin Wilks in collaboration with BA theatre performance students, Collidescope 4.0 will be performed in the Whiting Proscenium Theatre at the UMN Rarig Center October 24 - November 3. 


Originally created in 2014 as a response to the murder of Trayvon Martin, the debate around Stand Your Ground laws and the seemingly perpetual police violence against members of the African American community, Collidescope 4.0 offers a collision course view of the legacy behind the history of racial violence, racism and social injustice in America. As seen through the gaze of an intergalactic time traveler, the investigation of this peculiar “nature” moves back and forth in time and space, specifically with a focus on the American psyche represented by contemplations of noted historical and contemporary writers and political figures. Utilizing archival documents and source texts, fictional and non-fictional, Collidescope 4.0 engages the audience in a discourse interrogating the motives and justifications behind this legacy. This fourth installment will inject unique events from Minnesota’s history into the greater picture of race, racism and citizenship, connecting the dots between America’s troubled racial history and its ongoing consequences.


Recognized as a nationally significant work by the TCG Ferguson Theatre Syllabus, a listing of relevant plays addressing issues of racialized violence and the policing of African Americans, Collidescope continues to explore the dark recesses of suppressed race history in the United States. Collidescope is a flexible performance platform that can address racial history in communities around the United States, incorporating local historical events through documentary material, devised theatrical responses to recent community events, and personal experiences of individual performers. Acclaimed as a “riveting experience from start to finish” by DC Metro Theater Arts, and “beautifully designed and conceptually intriguing” by the Washington Post, Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America has previously been produced around the country at the University of Maryland/College Park (2014), University of Massachusetts/Amherst (2016), and the Wake Forest University Winston-Salem, North Carolina (2017). 

The original Collidescope was developed at the University of Maryland and was shaped in collaboration with MFA design students to create the first alien world. That collaboration put an indelible stamp on the ongoing concept of the play. Collidescope 2.0 identified key stories from the pre-Civil War era, the radical 60’s period of campus protest and the challenges of racism today. These stories were woven into the existing structure of Collidescope, thus creating an original and uniquely relevant production for the UMass/Amherst community. Collidescope 3.0 placed its gaze on the particular umvelt revealed by investigating North Carolina history and the Wake Forest University community. Due to issues of unrest in Charlotte, rampant voter disenfranchisement, along with the history of segregation and its slow dismantling at the University, the journey of Collidescope 3.0 was an elucidating experience for all involved, audiences and artists alike. 
After an extensive Creative Collaboration in the Spring of 2019, which focused on dramaturgy, context and storytelling, Collidescope 4.0 shifts its focus to the history of Minnesota and includes three new investigations that also travel through time, the 1860 Abolitionist liberation of Eliza Winston, the Duluth lynchings of 1920 and the impact of the Campus Divided exhibit on the University of Minnesota/ Twin Cities campus today. 
Presented in Collaboration with Ping Chong + Company
Generous support for the Ping Chong Artist Residency and Collidescope 4.0: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America has been provided by the Dean's Office/College of Liberal Arts and the Imagine Fund Special Events Award. Special thanks to Sonja Kuftinec, Talvin Wilks and the University of Minnesota Theatre Arts and Dance Department for additional support.