AVANTI (2003-2005)

A Coproduction of The University of Notre Dame and The Builders Association

AVANTI is a ghost story about the 1963 demise of the Studebaker automotive corporation and the effects on its hometown, South Bend, Indiana, a microcosm of mid-century industrial America.

In a ghost story, it is usually an individual who haunts, unable to rest as a result of some past injustice or trauma. In AVANTI, the haunting body is that of a corporation whose dramatic closing left thousands of workers without jobs and pensions. Drawing on interviews with former Studebaker employees, AVANTI tells the story of one community’s painful experience of economic disaster. Almost forty years later, much of downtown South Bend is still littered with mammoth crumbling brick factories standing empty among the newer buildings. In AVANTI the coexistence of past and present comes to represent the current U.S. postindustrial condition under globalization and, more broadly, the general tendency for technological utopias to dissipate.

Named after the stylishly futuristic car that was Studebaker’s last-ditch effort at financial solvency, AVANTI also explores figures and objects from this bright past which mysteriously begin to appear in South Bend’s present. AVANTI’s memorial to the human effects of deindustrialization poses the future as a question. As it turns out, ghosts-including corporate ones-never really find rest.

A Coproduction of The University of Notre Dame and The Builders Association

Conceived & Written by Jessica Chalmers
Directed by Marianne Weems

Moe Angelos – Old Irena Stroup & Patsy Hadley
Michael Coffee – Sherwood Egbert & Duke Grayzck
David Pence – Raymond Loewy & Wayne Kaminski
Marianne Rutz – Young Irena Stroup

Moira Driscoll – Voice of Capitalism
Elizabeth Dadosky – Reporter

On Video:
Jean Plumhoff
Marianne Moran
Elizabeth Dadosky
Gordon Slutsky
Lola Dibbell-Chalmers
Julian Dibbell
Paul Minifee

Audio Voices:
Lester Fox
Mel Waks
Velma (Bokon) Sikorski
Harry Kowalski
Ben Sopczynski

Marianne Weems, Director
Jessica Chalmers, Playwright
Dan Dobson, Sound Designer
Peter Flaherty, Video Designer
Kevin Dreyer and Michelle Habek, Lighting Designers
Emily Phillips, Set Designer
Jocelyn Worrall, Costume Designer
Josh Schmidt, Sound Associate
Darcy Scanlin, Design Associate
Matt Atkins, Video Associate

Robin Slutsky, Producer
Jeff Szymanowski, Production Manager
Mark Abram-Copenhaver and Elizabeth Dadosky, Stage Managers
Paul A. Minifee, Dramaturge & Image Coordinator
Ken Cole, Technical Advisor
Cheuk Yan “Spider” Kwok, Camera
Jane Paunicka, Wardrobe Manager
Donnie Rogers, Grass Roots Media, Video Production
Matthew Cashore, Photo Documentation

Lexi Robertson, Managing Director for The Builders Association
Claire Hallereau, Company and Marketing Manager for The Builders Association

Production Assistants:
Tori Abram-Copenhaver
Becca Boydston
Brian Doxtader
John Hibey
Steve Hoeplinger
Cheuk Yan “Spider” Kwok
Ryan Rogers
Matthew Searle
Regina Stefancic
Lynn Tedesco
Joey Falco

Marketing Assistants:
Jennifer Rising
Kerry Perez
Carmen Wong
Kathleen Corless

TCG Fellows:
Josh Schmidt
Darcy Scanlin
Matt Atkins
Jocelyn Worrall

Funding generously contributed by:
The Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund
The National Endowment for the Arts
George A. and Eliza Howard Foundation
Office of the Dean, College of Arts and Letters
Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts, College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame
The City of South Bend
Boehnen Fund for Excellence in the Arts
The Center For Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame
Downtown South Bend, Inc.
AM General
Indiana Arts Commission
Teachers Credit Union
Jane and Stanley Fish
Medow Motors
Higgins Labor Research Center, University of Notre Dame

AUG-DEC 1994
Industrial space, Chelsea, NYC

NOV 1995
The Storefront for Art and Architecture, NYC