A lovely time in DC as it turns out. A reading of previously unheard material for the Virginia Tech project, from the set of eight plays that deal with Seung Hui Cho (the shooter). Relates to Soulographie: an attempt to find damaged language that speaks accurately from/to damage; the effort to create a text that requires the formation of a community, focused on a still point (even silence), without being still themselves (a stillness into which we move)… while avoiding simple obscurity or high-flown abstraction.
Learned a great deal from director John Moletress of Forced/Collision and Factory 449; excellent cast: Sue Jin Song, Jacob Yeh, Cori Dioquino, Karin Rosnizeck, Chase Maggiano, Dexter Hamlett, Brant Miller, William Hayes, Sun King Davis (who am I missing?). Characters came clear, and have a stronger sense now of what language is useful and what isn’t.
The visit was also a chance to evolve partnerships in the area… To that end, Pat and I met with Howard Schalwitz and Doug Eacho (Woolly Mammoth), Gregg Henry (Kennedy Ctr), John Moletress and Karin Rosnizeck (Forced Collision), and Mia Chung (independent artist-at-large). We talked about both the Virginia Tech project and Soulographie; as said elsewhere, VT, in addition to being very much itself, is also on path to Soulographie (developing a circle of folks investigating and investing in witness-to-trauma).
I laid out the ideas behind the projects, and then, their needs – in particular:
- Increased awareness (important as premise simply to have this group know what’s going on…)
- Academic partners for VT (we have ten schools committed so far, looking to present What a Stranger May Know in some form, in April)
- Administrative assistance
- A retreat for multiple Soulographie partners (so projects can begin to develop a shared vocabulary)
- Support for Ugandan partners (means to bring over the Ugandan team working on Maria Kizito)
- A number of schools were suggested, along with specific contacts
- People around the table began to put their heads to room and rehearsal space for a multiple residency, possibly in December
- An avenue of approach to the State Department, along with the names of other groups and individuals currently active in East Africa, were put forward
The conversation was immediately practical, and encouraging going forward. Will circulate the December option to Soulographie Central… Those of you reading this who are not as yet directly involved with VT or one or more of the Soulographie productions – please feel free to offer counsel on any of the items on our need list!