Laurelann Porter

Laurelann Porter

Laurelann Porter

Laurelann Porter is a native of Arizona. She received her BFA in Independent Theatre Studies from Boston University; her MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University; and her PhD in Theatre and Performance of the Americas from Arizona State University. As part of her dissertation research she conducted an ethnographic study of women in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil. Part of her...
Laurelann Porter

Laurelann Porter is a native of Arizona. She received her BFA in Independent Theatre Studies from Boston University; her MFA in Playwriting from Arizona State University; and her PhD in Theatre and Performance of the Americas from Arizona State University. As part of her dissertation research she conducted an ethnographic study of women in Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil. Part of her ethnographic study includes analyses of the Dance Festival of Itacaré and the Festival of Quilombo Culture.

Laurelann is also a playwright and performer. As part of her research she has performed her solo performance “How not to Make Love to a Woman” in order to understand how performance can contribute to public dialogue about difficult topics. She is also developing a new performance piece entitled “Sympathy for Exú.” “Sympathy for Exú” incorporates elements of Afro-Brazilian mythologies, in particular stories of the trickster figure, Exú.

Laurelann has directed and produced several short films, music videos, and two feature length documentary films. She has recently been collaborating with Amy Funk, a nursing professor and ethnographer whose research revolves around sibling grief. Their new ethnodrama, “27 Signs” has had public readings in Mesa and Tempe, Arizona and had a workshop production at Illinois Wesleyan University in April of 2018. Their continued work seeks to explore and understand how the play can offer therapeutic effects for audiences who have experienced the loss of a sibling.

Laurelann also recently collaborated with Rising Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona on a project called the Trouble Series. The results of this year of collaboration and research was a devised performance titled “The 100th Day” in which topics relating to student push-put in public and charter schools in Maricopa County are addressed by youth engaged in their community. Porter served as story consultant and sound & media designer for the production.

The next major project on the horizon for Laurelann is the development of a collaborative project with Brazilian choreographer Mestre Monza Calabar. Porter and Calabar recently purchased a small piece of property in rural Bahia, Brazil where they will build a center for research and cultural exchange. This center will be called ile ogbon ati aye, or “House of Living Wisdom.” The work will be an interdisciplinary approach to theatrical investigations as a mode of understanding cultural anthropology of Afro-Brazilian histories and mythology. She plans to return often to Itacaré and to Bahia to weave her research interests together through community-based arts practices, performance ethnography, and documentary film work.

In addition to her work as a professor, scholar, and artist, Laurelann serves as the Literary Manager for the Bridge Initiative, an organization dedicated to achieving gender parity in all theatrical disciplines. In this capacity Laurelann has acted as the contest coordinator for the last three contests sponsored by the Bridge Initiative, including the first ever “Bechdel Test Festival” in September of 2017.

Plays

  • 27 Signs
    An ethnodrama based on research about sibling grief conducted by co-author, Amy Funk.

    27 Signs seeks to open dialogue about unprocessed grief experiences by people who have lost a sibling in their lives. An ensemble piece with opportunity for movement, masks, and media, the play weaves the stories of 27 study participants with the story of the researcher as she grapples with the tragic stories of these individuals.
  • ... Needles, Guns & Grass: A Live Action Graphic Novel
    LOGLINE:
    In a post-apocalyptic world where the government is conspiring with the corporate fascists to dope the people on anti-depressants, the only heroes who can save the day are X-Woman, Meth Man and 12th Dimension Man.

    SYNOPSIS:
    The script . . . Needles, Guns & Grass . . . is a live action graphic novel: ten short episodes of roughly ten minutes each, the equivalent to ten...
    LOGLINE:
    In a post-apocalyptic world where the government is conspiring with the corporate fascists to dope the people on anti-depressants, the only heroes who can save the day are X-Woman, Meth Man and 12th Dimension Man.

    SYNOPSIS:
    The script . . . Needles, Guns & Grass . . . is a live action graphic novel: ten short episodes of roughly ten minutes each, the equivalent to ten comic books or one graphic novel. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic futuristic world where the superheroes are a group of anti-heroes. Each of the superheroes gets his or her super powers from an illicit drug. They are fighting corruption and oppression from both the government and the corporate world. The government has sponsored a corporate backed plan to “dope the people” on a mutated strain of anti-depressants called “The Pax Virus.” This is their opiate for the masses so the people will not revolt.
    In Episode 1 we meet the Trinity: X-Woman, Meth Man, and 12th Dimension Man. They have just rescued their colleague Glasseopeia from an attack. The world is in chaos and so is our trinity. They must overcome their own suspicions among their clan before they can determine who the enemy is and be able to fight that enemy.
    As the story progresses we are introduced to Glasseopeia and “The Man” two traitors to the cause. The Man is more than happy to take advantage of all the infighting among our super heroes to frame them and subsequently trap them.
    When full-scale war breaks out between the Rebel Anarchists League and the Corporate Fascists, X-Woman and her pals must recruit “The Innocent” and others like her to answer the call. They must make the choice to feel life in all of its pains and tortures and not give in to the Pax Virus and its promises of complacency and ignorant bliss.
    The script is not a pro-drug script nor is it an anti-drug script. Each of these superheroes knows he or she may “go dark” at any time because of the dangerous nature of the substances they are using.
    Why do we use mind-altering substances? Why do we all want to feel somehow superhuman? What is the difference between illegal drugs and legal prescription pharmaceutical drugs? Is it better to be numb than to face pain and sorrow? Ultimately, the writer leaves it up to the audience members to consider these questions and formulate their own opinions.

    NOTE: Author is currently working on a version of this to be set as a rock n roll musical