ClientsMikel Rouse

Project: One Boy's Day Role: Creative Consultant

A performance installation exploring the realities of today’s children through America’s rural past. Based on the book ONE BOY’S DAY, A Specimen Record of Behavior by Roger G. Barker and Herbert F. Wright

Drawing upon a 1949 “day-in-the-life” study of a seven-year-old boy, One Boy’s Day is a 13-hour performance installation that explores the complex realities of today’s children through the lens of America’s rural past.

One Boy’s Day is a deeply poetic work that asks how childhood has changed over the past 70 years. Where is the ideal American community today? Who makes these claims and to what ends?

Local students and teachers are invited onstage to occupy an immersive theatrical model of “Midwest”, the study’s idealized Kansas town, performing continuations of their everyday lives— from the routine and disciplined to the playful and poignant.

Rouse’s monumental score includes ambient electronics, a string quartet, a choir and invited local musicians who improvise in their own styles. The activities onstage are filmed in real-time and combined with students’ home-made videos creating a profound tableau of humanity orchestrated by music and light.

One Boy’s Day will premiere at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2020.

Presentations of One Boy’s Day will take place in performing arts facilities that can accommodate long­form installations and music, including museums, theaters and alternative spaces. It will premiere at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Colwell Playhouse, a 641 seat continental style theater with a 38 x 30 stage in Fall 2020 and will be modular and scalable to accommodate various venues.