Private Project

Laura, or Scenes from a Common World

"Laura, or Scenes from a Common World" is a cinematic poem. It combines visceral physicality, lyrical poetry, and evocative cinematography to tell the story of one woman’s struggle to overcome her wounded past and her steps toward empathy. In this spare drama, inspired by Ovid’s Apollo and Daphne myth, Laura struggles to root herself in a foreign land and to embrace the quiet consequence of the common world around her.

  • Charles M Pepiton
    Collaborative Team
  • Wes Kline
    Collaborative Team
  • Damon Falke
    Collaborative Team
  • Alexandra Kazazou
    Collaborative Team
  • Daniel Han
    Collaborative Team
  • Charles M Pepiton
    Director
  • Wes Kline
    Director of Photography
  • Damon Falke
    Writer
  • Charles M Pepiton
    Producer
  • Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton
    Producer
  • Alexandra Kazazou
    Key Cast
  • Charlie Falke
    Key Cast
  • Daniel Han
    Movement Director
  • Leslie Stamoolis
    Costume Designer
  • Wes Kline
    Editor / Sound Designer / Composer
  • Film Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Genres:
    Shorts, Dance, Norway, Narrative Short
  • Runtime:
    36 minutes 22 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Norway
  • Film Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • AVIFF Cannes
    Cannes
    France
    May 18, 2016
    World Premiere
  • Colossus Film Festival
    Rhodes
    Greece
    June 26, 2016
    Greek Premiere
  • Swedish International Film Festival
    Stockholm
    Sweden
    July 4, 2016
Director Biography

Charles M Pepiton is the director for "Laura, or Scenes from a Common World". As a director, his work revolves around creating new work and exploring new potentials for the performing arts to engage across borders–between people and cultures, between methods and disciplines. He holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Idaho. Charlie serves as the Producing Artistic Director for Square Top Theatre and as Assistant Professor of Theatre & Dance at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. His work has been supported through grants from the New York Council for the Humanities and the Network of Ensemble Theatres. Most recently, he directed Square Top Theatre’s productions of "Now at the Uncertain Hour" in association with North Country Public Radio and "The Sun is in the West" with Santa Fe Performing Arts. More info at www.cpepiton.com.

Wes Kline is the director of photography, editor, sound designer, and composer for "Laura, or Scenes from a Common World". He is an artist, writer, photographer, and musician. His professional background is in photography, film and video as well as audio production. He has an MFA in studio art from University of Illinois, Chicago, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He was previously an assistant professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville and St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. He has won grants to support his work, including a public art fellowship through New York State Council on the Arts and a CAAP Grant through the City of Chicago, and exhibits photographic, video, and sound work throughout the United States and internationally. He has been actively exhibiting as a visual artist in photography, film, and sound for over 15 years. More info at www.weskline.com.

Damon Falke is the writer for "Laura, or Scenes from a Common World". He lives and works in Tromsø, Norway. Damon is a creative writer with numerous projects and publications to his credit spanning nearly 20 years. He has an MLA from St. John’s College, Santa Fe, and has published poetry and short fiction in various journals and reviews including Off the Coast, Cloud Bank, The Chattahoochee Review, The Appalachian Journal, The Langdon Review, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, and many others. Damon's work has also been presented in radio productions, which includes features of his work on Reflections West from Montana Public Radio and the staging of his play, "Now at the Uncertain Hour", in conjunction with Square Top Theatre and North Country Public Radio. He is a long-term collaborator with Square Top Theatre, which has produced his plays "Now at the Uncertain Hour", "The Sun is in the West", and "Canaan". His books, published by Shechem Press, include "Broken Cycles" (poetry), "The Sun is in the West" (play), "Notes on Paper" (poetry), and most recently,"By Way of Passing" (novella). More info at www.damonfalke.com.

Alexandra Kazazou is the lead performer in"Laura, or Scenes from a Common World". She is an actor and director working principally between Poland, Greece, and Turkey. She is a graduate of Aristoteles University of Fine Arts and Theatre in Greece, and a graduate of the M.A. Acting program from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), run in collaboration with the award-winning Song of the Goat Theatre in Poland (Edinburgh Fringe First Winner 2012, 2004). She is a founding member of the Studio Matejka physical theatre laboratory in collaboration with The Grotowski Institute (Poland), working in physical theatre research with Matej Matejka (Teatr ZAR, Farm in the Cave). Since 2013, Alexandra has worked as an actress and a director at the Grotowski Institute. She has created three original pieces for live performance. More info at www.studiomatejka.com.

Daniel Han is the movement director for "Laura, or Scenes from a Common World. He is an actor, theatre maker, and director. He has been working principally between the US and Europe for the past 10 years. He is a graduate of the MA Acting program at Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), run in collaboration with Song of the Goat Theatre in Poland. He is a founding member of Studio Matejka Physical Theatre Laboratory in collaboration with The Grotowski Institute (Poland), where he has works in movement research with Matej Matejka (Teatr ZAR, Farm in the Cave) and Vivien Wood (DV8 Physical Theatre). From 2011-2013, Daniel co-founded and served as Project Leader of Jubilo, an international foundation working towards artistic intervention with marginalized communities in Europe. His creative ventures include numerous international performances, films, awards, festivals, and residencies. He regularly teaches acting and movement for theatre and dance companies and universities world-wide. He is currently a lecturer at The Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia. More info at www.daniel-han.com.

Rebekah Wilkins-Pepiton is a producer, set dresser, and printmaker for Laura, or Scenes from a Common World. She is an artist working in printmaking, graphic design, and photography. She holds an M.Ed. in art education from the University of Idaho and is a visual art teacher at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley, WA. Rebekah previously served as the Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County Arts Council in New York. Her work has been shown in galleries in New York, Colorado, Idaho, Texas, and Washington. Most recently, her prints are featured alongside poetry by Saara Myrene Raappana in their collaborative book "A Story of America Goes Walking" (Shechem Press, 2016, her woodblock prints illustrated poet Stephen C. Behrendt’s collection "Refractions" (Shechem Press, 2014), and her photo essay "The Gayo Coffee Project" is currently on display in Anchorage, AK. More info at www.bekawp.com.

Leslie Stamoolis is the costume designer for"Laura, or Scenes for a Common World". She is a designer, a technician, and an educator currently based in Spokane, Washington, where she teaches at Gonzaga University. She has designed and built costumes in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, California, and Washington. Leslie holds an MFA in Costume Design from University of California, Irvine, and an MA in Theatre from Miami University in Oxford, OH. This scholarly base inspires Leslie’s design work, as hearty research and thorough script analysis are hallmarks of her creative efforts. Some favorite designs include "Much Ado About Nothing" (Gonzaga), "As You Like It" (UC Irvine), "Cyrano: Rehearsed" (New Edgecliff Theatre in Cincinnati, OH), "Embraceable Me" (Little Fish Theatre in San Pedro, CA) and "The Conversion of Ka'ahumanu" (Miami). More info at www.lesliestamoolis.com.

Charlie Falke plays The Boy in "Laura, or Scenes from a Common World". This film marks his acting debut.

*This project is made possible, in part, through a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters' Travel & Exchange Network, supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Add Director’s Biography
Director Statement

"Laura, or Scenes from a Common World" was created collaboratively in Tromsø, Norway, in June 2015 by an international team of artists. The process was a conversation between the landscape of the Barents Region of Northern Norway and our various artistic disciplines.

The region’s shifting light and steadfast mountain-scape offer a counterpoint for Laura’s struggle to emerge after her experience of loss. This is a landscape that welcomes Laura’s isolation, but also teaches her to embrace the quiet consequence of the common world around her. Laura is a foreigner to Norway's birch forests and fjords. She is equally at odds with what she finds among Tromsø’s public spaces and docks. Her clothing is wrong for the climate. Her features are far too Mediterranean. Through the course of the film, viewers mark her journey from separation toward empathy, from transience toward a life more rooted in place and other people.

While remaining grounded in the narrative of Laura’s struggle, the film unfolds as a cinematic poem with colliding images, words, and evocative physicality. This is a film that invites audiences to complete the creative act. Poet Anne Micheals notes, "not two to make one, but two to make the third, just as a conversation can become the third side of the page." We invite audiences to share in this conversation. We hope viewers will pause to contemplate as Laura stops to connect with the Northern landscape and the common world around her.

-Charles M Pepiton

Naturally stories of love and loss are old, maybe the oldest the stories we have, and after I started writing "Laura", I remembered reading in college “Apollo and Daphne,” as recorded by the Roman poet Ovid in "Metamorphoses". It is a book filled with stories of change, many of them involving love. Ovid’s stories are never static. A single encounter is full of passion, images, consequences, echoes of other myths and characters, allusions and whispers for us to hear and imagine. I read again of Apollo being overwhelmed by love, released as it was from Eros’s golden tipped arrow and of Daphne’s inevitable flight after being struck by a second arrow, only this one was dull and lead tipped. Similar to Daphne, Laura flees as a consequence of love. We learn this in the beginning of the poem when she recalls her boy on a bridge and how after he is gone there is suddenly “nothing.” Yet Laura is not a replication of Daphne. Her return home begins not with a plea but after an unexpected practice of attentiveness. We notice when she remembers peeling apples or looks outside of a window or recalls a young girl who could not sleep because of a cuckoo bird. There are no demands made by these moments or the people in them. Rather, Laura must receive the inherent gift within them. For her to do this, she must make an admission of the gift’s reality, and I believe stopping is such an admission.

-Damon Falke, writer