The Jenkins Farm Project

September 4, 2008 12:54:09 PM PDT
A Chicago-area dancer has created a unique multimedia theater that highlights the real-life stories of her relatives who struggled with mental illness during the depression. The Jenkins Farm Project is a story of a North Carolina farming family who questions the meaning of home, family, memory and mental illness. Glenn and Jeannette Jenkins are brothers and sisters and the main characters in The Jenkins Farm Project. They both of suffered from paranoid schizophrenia .

"They sort of suffered from what they thought was depression, and both were investigating why they were sad, why they felt different and at the time were diagnosed by the state mental institution," said Annie Arnoult Beserra.

This hour long non-traditional multimedia performance that takes place in the 1930s was created by Annie Arnoult Beserra, Glenn and Jeannette's great-niece.

"There's going to be paper hanging with writing that are the words of Glen and Jeanette and their brothers and sisters," said Beserra. "There are scrims that will be hanging that have video and video of the dancers, dancing on the farm, video of Glen and Jeanette and the other sibling talking about their life on the farm...the audience is going to walk through, taste, smell, hear and see the Jenkins farm."

"One of the things I was really interested in playing with is this idea of multiple realities that someone who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia experiences," said Beserra.

Beserra hopes someday to bring The Jenkins Farm Project to North Carolina where it all began.

The Jenkins Farm Project starts September 4 and runs through Sunday, September 7, at the Theatre Building Chicago. It is located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. The telephone number is (773) 327-5252. The Web site address is www.beserradancetheater.org.


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