A series of 17 plays on the history of America in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides
The project at hand
Soulographie is a durational performance event looking at 20th century America from the point of view of genocides in the States (the Tulsa Race Riot), in East Africa (Rwanda, Uganda), and Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador).
The 17 plays, written by Erik Ehn, make meditative space for considering the nature of genocide directly. The 20th Century was the age of genocide; if the 21st Century will be the age of ecology (as it must be – the age of interdependence, of knitting/re-knitting together), then there must be due commemoration, a spiritual frame for loss. Otherwise the loss will be denied, or repressed, and will poison our wells.
The process calls together family – relationships that have been building over the 15-year writing process. Informing and creating dialogue with audience over the course of the development extends family; the plays are not informational so much as experiential. The information needs to get out there too. Story-sharing, teaching/learning, and sustained conversation are part of our way forward.
Ehn has been working with the dramaturgy of extended sets and cycles for some time (the Saint Plays, the Noh Cycle). Soulographie brings to synthesis a sustained arc of writing, thinking and collaborating, making manifest summed ideas on art and trauma, on dramatic poetry, poetics and social change, theatrical uses of time, and cooperative art making.
The 17 plays will be produced independently throughout the United States, Rwanda and Uganda over the course of the 2010-2011 Season. These plays will converge in at La MaMa in New York in November 2012 as Soulographie, a theatrical event featuring the plays performed in rotation, as well as opportunities to reflect and converse about the issues invoked by the plays, and the creation of art and poetics as acts towards social change. Soulographie aims to create channels of dialogue through art and conversation.
To find out more, or to get involved in Soulographie in your area, contact us.