Making Art in 2017: Nate Barnett and Nick Schwasman on Wedgwood on the Green
Name: Nate Barnett and Nick Schwasman
Company: Drip Symphony
Show in 2017 Festival: Wedgwood on the Green
Role: Co-Directors, Performers
Past Festival Shows: Millennia, Damn Dirty Apes, Pay Up!
FringeArts: Tell us about your show.
Nick Schwasman: Wedgwood started as poetic memoir that Nick wrote in 2014. We mounted it in the 2015 Solow Festival as a live radio play. Now we’re collaborating with a variety of artists to create a fully visual show. The story deals with a group of young men who are discovering dark truths about their supposed masculinity as they approach the threshold of adulthood. We tell the story in and out of the round: the audience is seated in a circle of swivel chairs. A narrator sits in the middle, but all around is the world of Wedgwood. They choose what they do and do not see.
FringeArts: How have your interests in or approach to art-making changed in the last year?
Nick Schwasman: I think the two of us are feeling like we are coming out of a part of our life where we were holding tight to our training and technique. We spent quite a few years admiring the complexities of artistic traditions, studying in discipline and reverence, the music of Leonard Bernstein, poems of WB Yeats, artists whose work have become sturdy pillars by now. I think lately, we’re less interested in the classic stuff, we’ve become obsessed with experimental techniques. For us, the clearest way forward to making new and better art is by bringing an almost scientific attitude towards its creation—testing new ideas rigorously, imagining future possibilities based on experience. It’s the artists that have done this whom we most admire, and how we intend to move forward.
FringeArts: Tell us about an instance from 2017 when your interaction with art provided some much needed solace or refuge from outside troubles.
Nick Schwasman: This past January we were able to work with an awesome ensemble called C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, in New York. We were collaborating on a new composition that Nate wrote called “The Garden Mother.” His original inspiration for the piece was found in his relationship with a strong mother he had become close to. The piece explores the relationship of this mother and her children over time. At the time of rehearsals, a sudden accident had thrown their family into a very difficult time, which ended up filling the project with greater purpose and meaning. It felt very special that we are able to be together celebrating her strength and story.
Wedgwood on the Green
$15 / 60 minutes
Sept 21-23 @ Skinner Studio at Plays & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Place, 3rd Floor