“That which We Call A Rose”: A true STEAM project

Audio/Visual Map of Moon Craters by Felise Horne

We are over-the-moon to announce that our educational puppet play, “That which We Call A Rose,” is now funded not only by NASA’s SC REAP initiative, but also by a generous grant from the SC Arts Commission! This grant will allow us to complete the production of this devised work, and it will also fund bus service for k-12 students in the greater Charleston area to come downtown to see the show when it opens in February.

As an interdisciplinary artist, I am especially thrilled that this work has funding from state and national funds in the arts and the sciences. To me, that is the heart of what STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) means. All of these areas are necessary for the education of creative, versatile, critical students at all phases of learning. Through the STEAM model, arts do not merely support science learning, and neither does science only provide novel content for arts projects. Art and Science practices provide different, complementary platforms by which all learners might enthusiastically direct their inquiries about the world in which we live.

In this blog, I have shared our moon prototype map. The QR codes reveal the arts and cultural stories behind the names of some of the craters on the moon’s surface. The map is being designed by scenic painter Felise Horne, a graduate of the College of Charleston. The QR codes have been developed by Jack Wolfe. The stories are recorded by myself and company member Javaron Conyers, who is also a graduate of COfC. The QR codes may be accessed on this website on the page dedicated to the Moon.

Mask Making!

We have been working hard on That Which We Call a Rose! We recently created plaster “negatives” and filled them with cement to make “positive” casts of our actor/creators’ faces. From these casts, we will create masks to transform them into otherworldly organisms (tardigrades on the Moon?)

Here are some photos of the creation process:

Next Stop, Raleigh!

Hello, Explorers!


We are about to head out to the Women’s Theatre Festival in Raleigh, NC! We have a van that is just about packed full of our set, costumes, puppets, and robot!


We will be performing at 2:00 on Friday, 11 July at the Wicked Witch ! That’s located at 416 West South Street in Raleigh, NC.


Our performance in progress will take up most of the time, but it will be accompanied by some very cool Augmented Reality stations to help audiences explore the topographies and cultural/literary histories embedded in the names of features on Mars, the Moon, Titan, and Bennu.


Stick around after the show – we’d love to hear your feedback! If you don’t have time to talk, please fill out a google survey and let us know your thoughts!


If you’re still around on Sunday morning, find Vivian for a Found Object Puppetry Workshop at 9:30 AM at 310 S. Harrington St. (yep! If you want to change the world, you have to wake up early on a Sunday morning to make the puppets 🙂


All other awesome events for the WTF Festival and Fringe can be found on their Event Schedule.


See you in Raleigh!


Vivian and Crew


Saturn’s Shadows!

While exploring Saturn’s moon, Titan, we were inspired to research the mythologies behind each of the gas giant’s moons. They are all named after giants from Greco-Roman, Inuit, Gallic, and Norse traditions. This research led to the creation of a shadow-puppet sequence featuring ALL of Saturn’s 53 named moons. Here are some pics of our process so far:

We have been spending a lot of time painting these puppets…

So far, we have about 12 out of 53 moons completed!

It’s a good thing our workshop this Friday in Raleigh is a Work-in-Progress!

Blast Off!

Welcome to “That which We Call A Rose,” the blog!

“That which We Call A Rose” is a practice-based performance studies research project aimed to encourage a diverse range of audience participants to think creatively about how humans might mindfully encounter planetary bodies in our solar system.  “A Rose” engages audiences with questions pertaining to the human exploration of  worlds other than our own through a theatrical treatment of the planetary nomenclature process. Using data available through the “Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature” (a product of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), maintained by the Planetary Geomatics Group of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)), we are devising an interactive, multi-media performance installation that imagines the terrain of other planetary bodies as potential sites for embodied human exploration.

This environmental performance piece will invite audience members to experience topographical features of the Moon, Mars, Saturn’s moon Titan, and the asteroid Bennu. Audiences will inhabit a live environment that recreates aspects of each planetary body’s surface topography and its cultural context. This embodied exploration will be augmented through the implementation of interactive computer modeling; live actors, robots, and puppets will also populate the space and interact with audiences.

This interdisciplinary research project mines the literary, historical, and cultural data contained in the “Gazetteer” to ask questions about human Space exploration from an arts and humanities perspective. An interdisciplinary treatment of data and subject matter often relegated to “pure” science should contribute to the achievement of a diverse workforce and inclusive practices across science and humanities professions. This STEAM project extends science, arts, and humanities questions about outer space to audiences that are diverse in age, ethnicity, race, gender, and ability. Audiences will then share in the intimate experience of theatrical performance as they are asked to contemplate our human relationship with other worlds.

The process of theatrical devising is democratic, so as you follow this blog, you will hear from not just me, but actor-creators, designers, dramaturgs, stage managers, and digital visualization experts. Maybe our robot Martha will also blog about her experiences as an arts-science interlocutor…

Our work-in-progress performance will be shared in July at the Women’s Theatre Festival in Raleigh, NC.

Stay tuned for more as we create this multi-media performance!



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