Opening : Judson

Always rushing, always about to be late for something. I enter the sanctuary out of breath.

Arrival

The lights are dim, people in the seats only outlines. Onstage a single man, a drum, a microphone, and a delay pedal. Rushing slips into release. The church is filled with sound. I stand in the dark and it fills me slowly. I look up at the light blue ceiling, at the windows. Slowness and wonder and a steady beat. Sunny Jain on the dhol enters a common rhythm into us. Something akin to the pleasure of entering a club where we don’t know anyone—losing the specificity of the self in the music and the dark amid other bodies. Or witnessing the grace of a meteor shower on a warm night. Arrive into something new. Get lost in the echo, reconfigure yourself in the caught breath before the music descends again.

I found an empty seat. It happened to be the one Tara saved for me.

Thank You

From anonymity we surge into full-force spectacle. Four performers grab at our attention—singing, cello-ing, calling out, flexing, colliding, cacophony. I start out feeling a little resistant to the artifice of theater, to the excess of sound and movement and situation, but the performers are wonderfully human—just when you think you’ve got them down, they change on you. Troy goes from aimless to bossy with her taped-up nose, Nick says his arms hurt and puts on stiletto boots to be a Creep, Chris is sent to the corner, and A.J. becomes the bottom half of a transformer.

We are invited back onto the floor to circle around a long strip of shiny paper and single bent light.

Shine

Back into the realm of the subterranean, the celestial. This world but another world. Okwui, the tall grace of her, in her underwear and puffy vest, the uniform of the world-to-be. A recorded soundscape made of sighs and soft notes smooths into the space. Okwui shivers her shoulders like they too are made of paper, slowly shifts her hips, isolating the right leg in its socket, her muscles visibly outlined under the surface of her skin. Her face shines in the light and she sings. Her lips don’t always correspond to her song—sometimes she holds them tight, and sometimes they flutter. Dissonance, disconnection, delay. The sighing on the recording mixes with her voice, with sneezes and coughs and shiftings from the audience, with the whispers of her daughter. Okwui’s voice gathers itself into phrases, setting the word “innocence” into various situations and registers, opening up so many places to enter as her feet make waves on the paper’s surface. The recorded sound rises and concentrates into a drone, swelling its hum, absorbing her voice, and then quieting again, the voice returning, leaving us with, “A hole inside your—innocence.”

—  Jaime Shearn Coan

  • May 13th, 2015
  • Spring Festival

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