Conceived and Directed by: Judith Smith @ The Ontological Theater
Sets + Lighting by: Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Elegy for a Vacant Lot, an adventurous work of movement theater, combines scored and real-time sports forms, riffing on sport as both a kind of dance and a mode of true collective improvisation. A play-by-play radio broadcast gives rise to the voice of a poet, who, out of the state of collective play finds first a language for collective memory, and then a singular, intensely intimate voice, equal parts joy and pain. Elegy positions itself at the intersection of disciplines, influenced as much by the playfulness of jazz improvisation as it is by theater or dance; dispensing with theater's fixed notion of 'character,' the performers play the piece like a sport. With text freed from the burdens of linear narrative, Elegy celebrates the pleasure of language for its own sake, seeking out a sense of meaning closer to music than to story. The work's state of play is rooted in a fluidity of roles--as one player becomes another--and forms--radio play-by-play becoming poetry, dance becoming sport.