Janaki Ranpura debuts Stories of the Crash at The Third Place Gallery, Saturday, Feb. 18. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the performance starting at 7 p.m., followed by discussion, ping pong and karaoke. Suggested Donation: $5 to $10.
A small city will be the stage for illustrations, illuminations, and projections about how we see ourselves in relation to the economic and political developments of our world. Janaki created this piece in response to time spent in October at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York City.
Confusion surrounding the meaning of the movement fits right in with her interest in writing puppet shows that go back to the roots of puppetry, which built a forum for the politics of the day in order to create hilarious, creative, and intent discourse. This show is a simple platform for one of the unwashed, cute and jazzy masses to talk to a CEO.
Janaki Ranpura believes in making it fun to live cheek-to-jowl. She builds nomadic structures that promote self-conscious enjoyment of human density. As a designer, she values intimacy and mobility. She unites technology with the traditional stagecraft of puppet theater.
Projects evolve from her experience as a performer, a community artist, a writer, and a designer for parades and stage. Her sense of space is informed by her training at the Lecoq School in France. Her sense of light was developed at Larry Reed’s groundbreaking company, Shadowlight Productions.
Her desire to include the public comes from working on community projects with Heart of the Beast Theatre. Her ability for movement and hilarity comes from her restless roots as the inappropriately creative daughter of Indian doctors. She studied at Yale University.
Janaki has received fellowships from several local organizations, and international association UNIMA has awarded her a Citation of Excellence for her puppet work. She is currently a Many Voices fellow at the Playwrights’ Center and associated with Red Eye Theater.
The third place is a term used in the concept of community building to refer to social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home and the workplace. Ray Oldenburg (The Great Good Place, 1989) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place.
Oldenburg calls one’s “first place” the home and those that one lives with. The “second place” is the workplace – where people may actually spend most of their time. Third places, then, are “anchors” of community life and facilitate and foster broader, more creative interaction.
All societies already have informal meeting places; what is new in modern times is the intentionality of seeking them out as vital to current societal needs. Oldenburg suggests these hallmarks of a true “third place”: free or inexpensive; food and drink, while not essential, are important; highly accessible: proximate for many (walking distance); involve regulars – those who habitually congregate there; welcoming and comfortable; both new friends and old should be found there.
In addition to serving as the studio and gallery of Wing Young Huie, The Third Place expands on Wing’s public art projects to provide a gathering space for the community and a venue for thinkers and artists.