The world’s a stage
Whitney Krause walked into the Naked Lounge carrying a Klean Kanteen and her green Chico Bag. She had ridden her bike there, so she was a little winded but excited to talk about her club, Ink Blot Arts, at Chico State. The club revolves around theater, whether full productions or improv; and thanks to Krause, the club’s artistic director, it now has a mission to be socially conscious. The senior majoring in theater is more interested in stage management than actually acting herself. But Krause is quick to point out that she changed the name—from Shoebox Ensemble—and focus last semester to include all art forms and the whole community. For more information, check out www.inkblotarts.com.
What made you decide to change things around?
I wanted to get something different out of it. Instead of doing theater just for theater’s sake, I wanted to broaden the arena. I also wanted it to be more socially conscious theater. It was a lot of vanity projects—doing what they wanted to do—and I wanted to bring in everybody, and different art forms as well.
How are you being more socially conscious?
Last semester we put on TV Turnoff Week, which is a national thing, and we put on an event every night. We had a writing workshop, an art gallery showing … It was cool because it was promoting turning off your TV and coming and sharing events with students—interacting, God forbid. One of the board members, Garrison [Harward], also just went to study theater in New York under Augusto Boal, who is a theater theorist who uses theater for social change. So, he brought back workshops, and he also wrote a play about the current war and we’re putting it on in November at the Blue Room. It’s called A Time for Leaving.
Tell me about improv night.
One of our board members and one previous board member are both really skilled at improv, so it’s just an open workshop. It’s every Friday night during the school year. It’s relatively simple and easy to do, and it’s cool because we pull in other students besides theater students.
How did you get the name Ink Blot Arts?
We knew we wanted to change the name from Shoebox, so we just sat down and one of my board members brought it up. His argument was that with an ink blot, it can be anything you want it to be. So can art—it can be anything. You could say, “it’s a piece of crap,” or you could say, “it’s a beautiful piece of art.” So, we wanted to expand what we were doing to involve other art forms, like music and dance, and reach out into the community. So, it’s just anything you want it to be. We can do anything. We are a theater company but we love all arts.