A DRIP worth the trip: live art on I-Drive

UCF students showcase performance art in interactive dive-bar show.

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You’re standing in a dark room of a loud, industrial bar, waiting for something to happen. Sand, water and paint of red, blue and yellow start to fly through the air and splatter on your white, florescent clothes as you try to keep your eyes peeled, hoping not to miss the show.

Welcome to DRIP — where art comes alive when the sun goes down.

Walking up and down International Drive after moving to Florida from Louisiana, senior acting major Roxanne LeBlanc walked into a gas station and was handed free tickets to the show that she had no idea would change her life.

“I saw the show, and I was immediately blown away — not only as a theater major and a dancer, but as a creative artist,” LeBlanc said.

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A look into DRIP with UCF theater student and cast member Roxanne LeBlanc. Daniela Marin and Rachel Stuart

Located in the heart of I-Drive, the arts entertainment company combines performing and visual arts to create full-sensory environments that excite and move audiences, according to its website. The audience is welcomed with an in-your-face explosion of color and movement, backed by a live rock band.

“Over the course of two hours, you are taken on a journey from a dive bar to being immersed within a performance, then finish the night off with a dance party,” said Mat Marrone, a crew member and resident DJ at the show.

Although the basic storyline and choreography to every show are the same, the improv and spontaneous interactions make the experience unique each night.

The show consists of three characters: Red, Blue and Yellow.

As the audience enjoys drinks at the bar, live music starts to play and the three characters stand up on the bar and begin to dance. Free, color-dyed beer is clumsily poured from pitchers into guests’ mouths, which marks the first splash of color in the room.

LeBlanc, who plays Red, said the show must be seen multiple times because it changes every day and the characters are extremely complex.

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“You just cover yourself in paint, and then you realize nothing else matters because you can’t fake it,” she said. “It’s an extremely raw show, and Red specifically has to exude the most amount of confidence.

“It’s not even confidence; it’s just I happen to be a Red in real life. We’re all colors. I’m Red.”

Red, Blue and Yellow all have completely different personalities, and each takes excessive characterization work. While LeBlanc said Blue is very strong and masculine, and Yellow is proper and perfect, she said she asks herself questions before each show about how Red walks, talks and dances so she can perfectly get into character.

“Some of the parts we come together for choreography, but the majority of it is really improv and really being in that moment and making decisions,” LeBlanc said. “Even with sand and paint and water in your eyes, you just have to make decisions. And sometimes that doesn’t work, and that’s OK because that’s real.”

Working at DRIP is LeBlanc’s first professional dancing job, and although she said she sometimes feels very small at UCF, it’s nice to have a place like DRIP where she can have an impact and feel bigger.

“I don’t think there really is a main concept. I think it’s a bunch of ideas that came together to create something no one has ever created before,” said Danielle Pierce, the box office manager and a student at UCF.

“DRIP is meant to make you have fun and feel young again. It gives you the space and opportunity to get your hands messy, to get drawn into an amazing story and be able to feel like you’re a part of it.”

Pierce, a senior psychology major, said she has always been drawn to the artistic side of life and loves being a part of the local, live art that DRIP creates.

“In a world that is now so fast-paced, with deadlines and everything having to be just so, DRIP allows adults to be able to relax, grab a beer — or even a paintbrush — and get messy,” she said. “The show happens all around you, so you really feel like you’re part of the story.”

Being a part of the show means a lot to LeBlanc as an artist because of its expressiveness — it’s almost like therapy. While she’s running through the audience, trying not to hit them, she said it’s almost like they’re not even there. Nothing matters while she’s dancing and expressing herself, and without a second to think, she said the ultimate message of the show is love and love of self.

“Not necessarily exuding love to other people, but being your color and staying true to your color, and knowing that if you can do that, then everything else will fall into place,” she said.

Marrone, a UCF film alumnus of 2012, has worked at DRIP for the last few months and said he highly encourages UCF students to attend the unforgettable experience.

“Attend not just DRIP, but music, theater, film and art of all kinds,” he said. “New experiences and personal growth are the few parts of college that you won’t be graded on.

“You leave DRIP wet, painted and happy.”

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Rachel Stuart is a News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @RachSage or email her at RachelS@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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