Content warning: Mentions of suicide
Nicole Denise White, a senior in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, premieres her Interarts senior thesis, “Disrupted,” this weekend, April 19 at 7 p.m. “Disrupted” is a “one-woman experimental film” featuring a series of beautiful vignettes of White’s coming of age story, exploring themes of suicide, parenthood and substance abuse.
Niki White works as a talented performance, visual and scenic artist. Some of White’s recent credits include her work on the set of the University production, Antigone, as well as assistant directing and serving as intimacy coordinator for the first University production of the Theatre & Drama season, Nora: A Doll’s House. For her senior thesis, she chose to write, produce and direct a short film entitled “Disrupted.” By definition, disrupted means to “interrupt the normal course or unity,” but in the context of her and her father’s lives, White said that the word means something slightly different to her. “Disrupted,” White said, represents the combination of life happening to us, around us and with us; what we can control, when we have a choice, when we don’t and what follows. Continuing with the theme of being disrupted, the piece is cut into 10 different parts, each representing a chapter or segment interrupting the course of life, and each beginning with a title that starts with the letter “d.”
“Disrupted” follows the story of White’s life, as well as her experience with her father taking his own life. The short film aims to discuss suicide in a manner that both “finds the truth and its complicated reality” and makes those who have experienced and survived it feel seen. The conversation of suicide is rarely portrayed in media settings, and when it is, it is missing the element of complicated truth that “Disrupted” seeks to provide. White says that through watching her story, she “provides evidence that life is worth living.”
“Disrupted” wasn’t always going to be a short film. White considered a visual album or live performance; however, because of the pandemic, White said film felt like the safest and only option. This way, more people can see her work without feeling uncomfortable attending a live event. White also believes that the film truly represents a culmination of her time in Interarts, allowing her to explore all different manners of art making. She said, “this relationship between theater, film and my art making became part of the plot too as I often use art to both avoid and examine situations in my life.”
White is an experienced theater-maker. She has worked on approximately 25 productions at the University and has become a self sufficient artist, creating her own work, whether that be design, performance or direction. “Disrupted,” White says, “is the piece of my academic career; all of my education, experience and personal growth combine in this all-encompassing, cumulative work.”
To see Niki White’s wonderful work live and in person, there will be a screening of “Disrupted” in the Arthur Miller Theater (a space that holds a special place in her heart) on April 19 at 7 p.m. Reserve your space here. If you are unable to attend the live screening, “Disrupted” will drop on Vimeo on April 22 at 8 p.m. on her website, ndwdisrupted.com.
Daily Arts Contributor Constance Meade can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.