Travis Preston of CalArts Discusses What’s New from the Center for New Performance

Travis Preston of CalArts

Travis Preston is the Artistic Director of the CalArts Center for New Performance, Dean of the CalArts School of Theater, and director of various theater and opera performances across the world. In the following article, Travis Preston discusses what’s new from the performing arts center.

CalArts Center for New Performance has long been one of the primary ways for theatergoers to appreciate the arts. If someone who loves the performance isn’t up to date on what this lauded institution has to offer recently, they’re definitely missing out!

Travis Preston of CalArts notes that the most recent and exciting productions include such titles as “Ha-M-Let,” “Scene with Cranes,” and “Augustine Machine.” These new performances push the boundaries of what audiences have come to expect from the theater without sacrificing the quality that creates excitement in audiences.

In this article, Travis Preston takes a look at some of these new shows, what makes each production interesting, and what should drive theatergoers to check them out.

Travis Preston of CalArts on the New Shows

With ever-advancing forms of technology and entertainment, some simply can’t be more satisfied with anything but the timeless art of the theater. What CalArts Center for New Performance does that is unique is to combine the timelessness of theater with contemporary advances in technology.

Travis Preston unveils the groundbreaking productions currently gracing this esteemed stage.

Among the stellar lineup of productions, CalArts Center for New Performance presents a trio of captivating works that are pushing the boundaries of artistic expression. These productions are remarkably unique and always worth a trip to witness them firsthand.

Each production promises to ignite the senses and leave an indelible impression, making this visit to the theater an especially enriching and unforgettable encounter.


With the brightest and most intriguing use of technology is Peter Mark’s Ha-M-Let. The production itself benefits from being multilingual and performed in its entirety by Peter Mark himself.

Not only are multiple verbal languages used in this performance, but several other modes of communication are also utilized. Ha-M-Let uses a projection cube to communicate on a completely fresh layer of digital art and multimedia presentation. Peter Mark is enclosed within a breathtaking landscape of animations of his own creation.

Travis Preston of CalArts explains that memes, GIFS, and imagery recognized by many cultures are blended together for this new riff on Shakespeare’s timeless play.

These different levels of media overlapping with such a rich classic makes the performance of Ha-M-Let something that nobody should miss.

Scene With Cranes

One of the more emotionally intense offerings from the CalArts Center for New Performance, and the one kicking off the 20th Anniversary, is Octavio Solis and Chi-wang Yang’s “Scene With Cranes.”

Scene With Cranes is the next in Octavio Solis’ already-impressive lineup of plays that blend realism with mythology to deliver emotionally impactful stories.

Travis Preston of CalArts notes that this play centers around a family living in East LA when their lives are destroyed by the death of their youngest son. The mother of the family painstakingly searches for answers by retracing the steps of her ill-fated child. Heavy topics of grief and loss are explored in a way that will immediately grip anyone’s heart.

The title of this show has been taken from master composer Jean Sibelius, whose composition of the same name has inspired Octavio Solis to write this play.

Travis Preston of CalArts

Augustine Machine

Travis Preston’s production, Augustine Machine or “Augustine Machine Ou Encore Une Nuit D’Insomnie” has been described as a “visual poem”. Dealing with the topic of hysteria throughout history, it incorporates a skilled ensemble cast from around the globe. Originally created in Paris, Augustine Machine is a co-production with Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, the premiere training ground for actors in France.

The performance uses an exciting mix of video projection, dance, and the art of collage to create a thrilling visual landscape.

In Conclusion

It would be nothing short of a shame to miss what the CalArts Center for New Performance has to offer in the way of new and exciting theater developments. Under visionary leadership, audiences are presented with an extraordinary opportunity to witness groundbreaking productions that delve into meaningful topics like grief and hysteria through mesmerizing song and dance performances. Moreover, the Center’s unique, innovative approach brings many new, culturally forward interpretations of classics to ensure a diverse and captivating experience for all theater enthusiasts.

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