CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Several years ago, the internationally acclaimed performance artist Tim Miller began a romantic relationship with an Australian citizen. Things went well at first, but when the couple looked at settling down in America, they encountered an unexpected obstacle – immigration.
Normally that isn’t too much of a problem for binational relationships. If the couple is serious, they’ll simple marry, allowing the other partner to remain in this country legally. But Miller’s situation was different. He was gay.
“If you have an international partner, but you’re not allowed to marry, how do you deal with that,” Marcus Hayes, associate professor of theater and dance at APSU, said.
One of the ways Miller dealt with this subject was through art. He recreated that harrowing time in his life for his renowned solo performance piece, “Glory Box.” At 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, he’ll present this compelling work to the Clarksville community with a performance at the Austin Peay State University Trahern Theater.
“I want the pieces to conjure for the audience a site for the placing of memories, hopes and dreams of gay people’s extraordinary potential for love,” he said.
Miller is coming to campus this November as one of this year’s holders of the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence in the Creative Arts. He’ll spend three days on campus, participating in workshops with students and discussing the development of his autobiographical work “Glory Box.”
The piece deals with controversial, contemporary issues, but Miller isn’t the type of artist willing to curtail his vision in the face of opposition. In 1990, he was stripped of his National Endowment for the Arts Solo Performer Fellowship because of his works’ gay themes. Miller and three other artists, who came to be known as the “NEA 4,” successfully sued the federal government for violation of their First Amendment rights.
During his artistic career, Miller has received numerous NEA grants and performed around the world in venues such as the Yale Repertory Theater, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His book “1001 Beds” won the 2007 Lambda Literary Award for Best Book in Drama-Theater.
“Tim Miller sings that song of the self which interrogates, with explosive, exploding, subversive joy and freedom, the constitution and borderlines of selfhood,” Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has said. “You think you don’t need to hear such singing? You do! You must!”
For more ticket information, contact the Trahern box office at 221-7379.