Artist of the Week: Nina Fox
Views 17 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 11 - 13 - 2018 | By: Elinore Ford
Nina Fox is a firecracker. Those who’ve spoken with her will understand that description. A senior majoring in theatre with an emphasis in writing, Fox has completed two plays in the last two years. An avid lover of theatre, Fox was always inspired by the compelling nature of stories. She states, “stories are what allow people to relate to each other.” But Fox doesn’t just enjoy the entertainment value of stories, she has studied their societal impact as a part of her sociology minor.
“When I was taking a qualitative research class in sociology and compiling people’s stories as data, I saw so many connections between them,” Fox said. The data inspired Fox to express the others’ stories through performance.
Her latest play, “Peace Pipe,” explores reconciliation of the past with themes of the present through documentary theatre. Fox describes the show as her greatest theatrical accomplishment to date. When asked about the motivations behind the writing, Fox shares, “The creation of this piece started with interviews I conducted over the summer.” But Fox’s interview techniques were pulled from her qualitative sociological research classes. Fox was able to blend both social science and creative academic pursuits in a rewarding way.
“Peace Pipe” is Fox’s senior project, addressing the strangeness and sometimes confusing themes of young adults navigating life in their early twenties, and the common experiences of being on the threshold of graduating from college. The show reveals people’s desires to reconcile with their former selves while they strive to become adults.
The themes of “Peace Pipe” are sure to resonate with Westmont students. Fox claims she has struggled with the life issues that are addressed in the play herself. “For a long time, I thought ‘I’m the only person who feels that they don’t understand their past and can’t move on because of it,” she noted, “I would tell people my thoughts about the themes of life that concerned me as I entered my twenties. And I was surprised when they not only understood what I was saying, but they also began to tell me of their own examples of these common themes of young adulthood,” Fox continued, “Everybody has things they don’t understand that stick with them and it’s helpful to know we all appreciate knowing these are common challenges, and we overcome them.”
Fox states she values helping to ensure that audiences approach “Peace Pipe” with an understanding of the intentional documentary format. She concludes, “I think people who are new to discovering what documentary theatre is are going to be most surprised by the fact that there’s not a plot or a narrative. It’s just an exhibition of thoughts and sentiments laced together with my own writings. Even as the narrative of the show is based on real-life experiences, it is not about any one person’s story but more revealing about everybody’s story.”
Nina Fox’s art may revolve around stories, but one thing is clear: her story is just beginning.