Among OWU’s many successful theatre alumni living in New York City are three young men seeking to bring their interest in experimental theatre to the big city’s stage. The efforts of Eric Magnus ’07, Tavish Miller ’09, and Nathan Truman ’08 will combine on December 16 in their production of BOAT, a theatre experiment that will premiere at the Incubator Arts Project in New York City.
The three Ohio Wesleyan alums have come together to create a collective of artists known as Magnus, Miller, and Truman. After collaborating often as theatre majors at OWU, they have now worked together to create BOAT, a distinctive show that combines various unrelated writings by Miller and places them in one common setting. Miller will be the main actor in the performance, with Magnus directing.
“We wanted to fully collaborate on an original performance comprised of individual pieces of Nathan and Tavish’s writing,” Magnus explains. “I’m directing this effort to bring a cohesive experience by visual design and letting the language be separate and unrelated to thematic meaning.” In BOAT, it is the setting alone that gives coherence to the show, rather than text or action in the individual stories.
Upon moving to New York City after graduating from OWU, Magnus, Miller, and Truman each delved into theatrical pursuits, providing valuable experience for their work on BOAT. Magnus interned and started to work with Richard Foreman and the Ontological Hysteric Theatre, eventually acting in several of his productions. Truman became an intern and technician with Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players, and Miller helped with several productions for the Nature Theater of Oklahoma company. “These are all similarly goaled companies at different career points, distinctly original and experimental theatre makers, which we were drawn to from our own experiments in the theatre department,” explained Magnus.
Indeed, their time in the OWU Department of Theatre & Dance played a large role in leading the three men to where they are today.
“At OWU we had the unique chance to actually explore real interests in theatre, instead of the specializing you’d have to make in a conservatory. This served us well. I think we draw on everything now. I honestly feel I use my experience as King Arthur in “Camelot” as much as the experimental piece I staged in the basement of Austin Manor,” Magnus says. While classes and performances were important, he also attributes personal growth to activities outside of the classroom, like comedy performances with the Babbling Bishops that played a role in developing BOAT.
For Magnus, Miller, and Truman, BOAT is truly an artistic pursuit. According to Magnus, “it fits in to a type of performance activity that happens in the city with very low funds in a variety of art spaces and facilitated by non-profit companies and presenters.” Virtually a one-man show, the group looks forward to Miller’s intimate performance, and to seeing the fruits of their labor in a homemade set reflective of their deep imaginations.
Excited to have created what they consider to be an artist collective in Magnus, Miller, Truman, the group looks forward to “exploring other artistic forms together under this banner.