Pierce students learn about themselves with performance artist Tim Miller

Tim Miller led two performances on May 9 and May 11 in the Black Box Theatre in the Arts and Allied Health Building on personal exploration and expression. The first was a solo performance featuring only Miller. Miller talked a lot about himself and what made him who he is today. The second performance was the culmination of a series of workshops that Miller conducted with multiple Pierce students. However, the final product was written and performed by the students. Each performance was very personal for the student, but they all helped one another share their body maps, a story that shaped their lives. Miller is a performance artist who works in New York. He is known for performance art usually focusing on the body or the human condition. “I was doing my own work certainly around what matters to me and my life, and my stories,” Miller said. “But I also was teaching others and encouraging others to regard their lives and bring their materials forward, and what matters to them.” Miller has been teaching since he was 20 and directing performances that encourage people to tell their stories with all kinds of emotions. Each student created their body map after one day of brainstorming their ideas and had ten minutes to draw it and have it all finalized. Student Marcus Scott opened the performance; he likened his brain to a pizza. He talked about growing up, the best ways to get good pizza, and the synergy between the toppings he chose as well as what they meant for his life. The final part of his performance was about the people around him in which he, as the other performers did in theirs, used other performers to help share his story. Next came Brooke Mukai’s performance about her big heart. However, she says she needs to focus on herself more. “I’m going into nursing because I have a big heart and what better place to put that into a job,” Mukai said. She would apply to Pierce College’s nursing program, however they aren’t taking more applicants this year, so she’s going to graduate this quarter and she feels very relieved that she’s done. Natalia Ross’ performance was focused on her relationships with her friends and how she searched for so long for a real best friend which her sister called a blou and eventually found one. Michael Wulfestieg likened himself to a tree, because when he was in high school he was given that name by pure happenstance, and it became a put down for him. Now, he embraces it and embraces who he is. Brittany Morgan focused on her path through music. She grew up in a family that all played an instrument in band. When she first joined, she was excited, however as time went on she says she came to hate it. “I didn’t even realize it until this week, but we were doing our body maps, and I drew my hand and my fingers like music notes and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I don’t hate it as much as I thought that I did,’” Morgan said. “I did associate it with something I hated, but now I think it can be something more than that.” She never played her saxophone much in her free time. She says she may think of it differently now and play it on her own sometimes. Katrina Higley focused on hard experiences in her life regarding sexual harassment and learning to gain self-confidence again. Higley had an experience where she accidentally exposed herself without fully understanding the situation when she was 4, and later was groped by whom she believed was her best friend in middle school. Higley ended up telling her mom the day before the performance so that she wasn’t alarmed and she says the conversation went a lot better than expected. “I really love this experience, especially because I never told my mom about my sexual abuse as a child,” Higley said. “This piece started just with the groping part in the halls of junior high but I thought about it, and I thought I should bring it back to when I was four years old because that was really why it was so hard to get over that, so I had to put it in my piece.” Chris Galbreath focused on his capacity to love and being the last performer, concluded and tied performance together. “It was really fantastic actually,” Galbreath said of the weeklong experience. “We got to know each other so much better, and a lot more about ourselves which was the entire point. It sounds really cheesy, but it it’s actually really real.” The selection process for the performance was open to anyone of any experience level and whoever wanted to take part. “(It) was absolutely open and it was a very diverse group. Most people had not performed ever before, or not for a long time. None of them had done anything remotely like this,” Miller said. “But it was an incredibly lovely, beautiful group, and quite diverse, so it was whoever showed up and was ready to commit.” Miller said that the entire group was very involved in the process and extremely ready to try, “always on time and ready to work.” “If he ever comes back, I highly recommend it. It really puts you out of your comfort zone, but it’s awesome,” Mukai said. Neither Miller or Pierce College have announced any plans as of yet to bring this piece back to Pierce, however, Miller says he absolutely loves Pierce College and the Seattle area. Miller knows and has worked with some of the professors who teach at Pierce and lived in Seattle for a year while studying at University of Washington. Washington is one of the few places in the country he’s lived, so it’s nice to come back every once in a while. To see interviews with Miller and the performers, videos are on The Post’s YouTube channel of each performance as well as video interviews with the performers.

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Ryan Rothman

Reporter at The Puyallup Post
Ryan Rothman has been writing for fun as long as he can remember. However, in late 2016 he was introduced to news writing at his high school and has been in love with it ever since. In the fall quarter of 2017 he became a reporter for The Puyallup Post.
In his free time, he’s written many short stories and even drew and wrote a few webcomics. Music and computers have also been a big part of Rothman’s life. He received Superiors for four years in Junior Festival, a piano memorization and skill competition. He also taught himself to play the guitar.
Rothman ‘speaks’ three languages and is working on his fourth. One of these languages is C#, a coding language he taught himself in his freetime. Rothman plans to eventually become a software engineer, learning more coding and other languages in the meantime. But, currently, you can find him drawing on his tablet, watching cartoons or anime and playing Magic the Gathering.

Pierce students learn about themselves with performance artist Tim Miller

by Ryan Rothman time to read: 4 min