… one year later. I am aware that having a news section with news a year since passed sort of defeats the purpose, but here it is in a nutshell, and quite possibly not in chronological order:
Kun-Yang Lin’s TARA with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Company in Denver, CO: this was an extension of the concepts explored in ONE this time with the venerable CPR company. I wrote a piece using Tibetan chants to the Goddess as a textural element, while telling the continued story of our commonality.
Devotedly, Sincerely Yours: at the Annenberg Theater at the University of Pennsylvania. The Pearlman Sisters continue to spread the story of the USO girl Louise Buckley, and I was fortunate to be a part of that magic once again.
The Philadelphia Fringe Festival: Another wonderful opportunity to write for keila cordova dances with As Pretty Does, telling the story of Henrietta Lacks and the dance plagues of centuries past. Also debuted work with Birds on a Wire dance theater with Melissa Rodis at HATCH in the Performance Garage. Both were fabulous experiences, being able to narrate through sound and music.
Driving Miss Daisy Philadelphia and national tour with the Walnut Street Theater: under the direction of Bernard Havard, I was again fortunate to be able to work with the oldest continually operating theater in the country (1809!).
The E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Arts Residency at Earthdance: My third year attending this one-of-a-kind residency in Massachusetts, this time co-directing a project concept based on contemporary views of the Oracle (with Nicole Nigro and Chris Galanis, along with collaborators Maré Heironimus, Adriana Segurado Méndez, and Alex Kramer). We managed to do the following, all in the course 12 days: blaze a 1.5 mile trail through knee-high icy snow, including carrying boards a ways in to cross a creek, with a 400 ft. altitude change over the course of the trip. And hang a trapeze 20 ft. in one of those trees in that forest for Adriana, who came from Spain to swing in the trees, and organize a bon-fire with hot cocoa, and organize a local 16-member choir to sing a 12th C. Georgian hymn, and they threw in a South African national song for added style, and set the outside of a church with installation art, and organize a performance inside for three dancers, two instruments, along with sound and set design elements, and write a traditional ’round’ for the audience to sing, planned and performed a ritual to send hikers on a journey.
The process was such: One would write down a question on a card and leave it for someone else to answer before embarking on the 1.5 mi. journey. Upon finishing this demanding walk, one comes upon an other-worldly sight, a woman swinging and moving through the trees, through the sky. From there, they continue to the bon fire, and warm up, drinking cocoa and reflecting on the journey so far. Proceed to the church, the center of activity for West Cummington, MA where one comes upon installation that harkens the Greek oracles themselves, looking beyond with wisdom, or guiding you through difficult and dark truths. Upon entering the church, they are received by a solemn choir soothing the soul with heavenly sound (and thanks to Penny, it certainly was, with the Spirit of the Hills choir). From there, a process of transcendence happens with movement expressing the idea of passing on wisdom, and searching for that wisdom. As we settle, text is read, the answers to those question posed before the walk, read out loud, for others to hear their answers from another source of potential wisdom. We deliver the audience by organizing a traditional round written by Alex Kramer, folk musician extraordinaire.
If that makes your head spin, I understand. By the way, NONE of it would have been possible without the tireless support of the curators of E|MERGE and Earthdance staff as well. They came through in such a major, major way.
The CONTACT Project, which uses theater as a form of expression for social communication for veterans of war. This was a Krista DeNio production, and it was fun and interesting to tele-work for a project across the country in San Francisco, CA. I have the highest admiration for this art messaging, art meeting society at its most difficult intersections and using aspects of both for greater understanding.
Inis Nua Theater Company’s very funny staging of Midsummer: A Play with Songs, which is a very very funny and touching story of two people’s intersection and how their interweaving becomes a source of strength for both. Did I mention it was funny… and touching as well.
From there, and operating in the background for the whole year prior, was the ongoing collaboration with Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers for the world premiere of Be/Longing: Shadow and Light. This represented my most immersive collaboration with Kun-Yang, and the spirit of the show displays that. We really searched for the idea of longing, and I ended up in a different place that where I had imagined I would. The music involved recording Hebrew vocal music to integrate into the scoring, as well as presenting Lou Harrison’s Strofo 7 of La Koro Sutro as a vocal section sung by the dancers. The process involved working with a Chinese master puppeteer and a Columbian mandala artist. I was again humbled to be working with such dedicated, skilled artists. So varied and complex, and so fortunate to be a part of the story, the message.
That was last year. And here we are. Ready for another year. Ready to go.