David Novak to bring Buckminster Fuller to life with performance at Arts Center

Special to Black Mountain News
David Novak in the NC Stage Company play R. Buckminster Fuller, The History and Mystery of the Universe.

A Black Mountain Center for the Arts presentation will bring a series of programs surrounding one of the luminaries of the historic Black Mountain College with theater, art and workshops.

R. Buckminster Fuller will be brought to life by performer David Novak on at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6 - 8, at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts in a production of R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) Of The Universe, by D. W. Jacobs from the life, work and writings of Fuller.

General admission tickets to the show are $20 and students will valid identification pay $10. Sunday evening’s performance will be followed by a talk-back with actor Novak and writer-director Jacobs. A special student show will be presented at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6 for only $5. Seating is limited for this performance and Arts Center asks that people reserve their sports for the show.

Fuller (1895-1983) was a man of many talents including author, designer, inventor and futurist. He was an instructor at the Black Mountain College during the summers of 1948 and 1949. The experimental college, which was founded by John Andrew Rice in 1933, was operated on the YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly until 1941, when it moved to Lake Eden. The school was owned and operated by the faculty and all members of the college were responsible for its upkeep. 

Black Mountain College was attended by artists and scholars like Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Josef and Anni Albers, Jacob Lawrence, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Cy Twombly, Kenneth Noland, Susan Weil, Vera B. Williams, Ben Shahn, Ruth Asawa, Franz Kline, Arthur Penn, M.C. Richards, Francine du Plessix Gray, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley and Dorothea Rockburne, among many others. 

It was during Fuller's time at the school that he reinvented the geodesic dome, for which he is most well-known. Though his background is primarily architectural, he was also known for his meandering lectures about life, love, nature and the possibility of Universe, also known as “thinking out loud.”

Novak brings Fuller to life in the form of a mind-bending, fully accessible, unforgettable lecture that demonstrates the breadth of Fuller’s knowledge and philosophy.

R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE was written by author D.W. Jacobs, who is a playwright, actor, director, teacher and producer who co-founded the San Diego Repertory Theatre and served as its Artistic Director for 20 years. He resigned his directorship to focus on writing this multi-media one man show which he has performed more than 800 times.

Novak is an accomplished story teller and the winner of the 2002 Circle of Excellence from the National Storytelling Network. He has been a featured teller at numerous prestigious festivals and respected regional theatres and has toured internationally.

He lives in Asheville where he is artistic director of A Telling Experience and an adjunct instructor for the graduate storytelling program at East Tennessee State University.

R. Buckminster Fuller: THE HISTORY (and Mystery) OF THE UNIVERSE was developed and received its world premiere production at San Diego Repertory Theatre - in 2000. Use of the name, likeness, and words of R. Buckminster Fuller is by arrangement with the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller.

To compliment and further illuminate Fuller’s impact, the BMCA Upper Gallery is presenting Dymaxion Days: Buckminster Fuller in Black Mountain.

The exhibit will feature items on loan from the Black Mountain College Museum’s archive including photographs of Fuller and works inspired by his legacy. There will also be informational panels about the historic Black Mountain College and an interactive activity.

Artist, educator and inventor Mark Hanf will hold two hands-on workshops, at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 8 and 15. The program is based on the teachings of Fuller and available to all ages.  

Go to blackmountainarts.org for more information and to register for Hanf's workshop. Tickets are $11 for children and $22 for adults and materials will be provided.

To purchase tickets or for more information call 669-0930.