Mikel Rouse – One Boy’s Day

Creative Team

Conceived, written and directed by Mikel Rouse
Set and Video Design by Jeff Sugg and Jim Findlay
Sound design by Christopher Ericson
Lighting design by Hideaki Tsutsui
Musical direction by Matthew Gandolfo
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts: Producing Partner/Presenter
FuturePerfect Productions: Producer


One Boy’s Day Booklet


2017 – 2020: Development and production
Fall 2020: Premiere at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

A performance installation exploring the realities of today’s children through America’s rural past. Based on the book ONE BOY’S DAY, A Specimen Record of Behavior by Roger G. Barker and Herbert F. Wright

Drawing upon a 1949 “day-in-the-life” study of a seven-year-old boy, One Boy’s Day is a 13-hour performance installation that explores the complex realities of today’s children through the lens of America’s rural past.

One Boy’s Day is a deeply poetic work that asks how childhood has changed over the past 70 years. Where is the ideal American community today? Who makes these claims and to what ends?

Local students and teachers are invited onstage to occupy an immersive theatrical model of “Midwest”, the study’s idealized Kansas town, performing continuations of their everyday lives— from the routine and disciplined to the playful and poignant.

Rouse’s monumental score includes ambient electronics, a string quartet, a choir and invited local musicians who improvise in their own styles. The activities onstage are filmed in real-time and combined with students’ home-made videos creating a profound tableau of humanity orchestrated by music and light.

One Boy’s Day will premiere at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2020.

Presentations of One Boy’s Day will take place in performing arts facilities that can accommodate long­form installations and music, including museums, theaters and alternative spaces. It will premiere at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts’ Colwell Playhouse, a 641 seat continental style theater with a 38 x 30 stage in Fall 2020 and will be modular and scalable to accommodate various venues.

FuturePerfect is seeking partners and co-commissioners for One Boy’s Day.





About Mikel Rouse
Mikel Rouse is a New York-based composer, director, performer and recording artist hailed as “a composer many believe to be the best of his generation.” (NY Times) His works include 30 records, 7 films, and a trilogy of media operas: Failing Kansas, Dennis Cleveland and The End Of Cinematics. His work has frequently appeared on Top Ten lists around the country.

In 1995, Rouse premiered and directed the first opera in his trilogy: Failing Kansas, inspired by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. In 1996 Mr. Rouse premiered and directed the modern talk show opera Dennis Cleveland, hailed by The Village Voice as “the most exciting and innovative new opera since Einstein on the Beach”. In 2008, The Luminato Festival in Toronto, Ontario presented Mr. Rouse’s entire Opera Trilogy in repertory.

In 2010, Mr. Rouse’s New York season included the BAM premiere of Gravity Radio; 2 CD releases; 2 visual art exhibits: Passport: 30 Years Drawn on the Road (as part of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center’s announced acquisition of Rouse’s archive) and False Doors, an exhibition at the Margarete Roeder Gallery and a 2 week retrospective screening of Rouse’s films at Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center.

In 2012 Rouse became the first eDream Visiting Research Artist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana, IL. Rouse recently premiered the techno opera The Demo, based on the 1968 demo of Douglas Engelbart. The Demo premiered at Bing Concert Hall in the spring of 2015 followed by worldwide international press coverage including The New York Times, Wired Magazine and ABC News.

He has received commissions from Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and Betty Freeman. Rouse’s compositions have been performed at Lincoln Center, the New York State Theater and throughout the United States and Europe and the Pacific Rim.