Here’s another excerpt from the first chapter of my Decameron series, Of Iron and Diamonds, featuring my 8-month old son, Atlas Green. I had not originally intended to put a baby in this show. But because I had recently given birth to one and he was at every rehearsal, he eventually became one of the creative conditions.
At the time, I felt that having a baby in a show was about the worst thing a self-respecting artist could possibly do. But I was intrigued by the challenge to do it in a way that wasn’t overly sentimental or gimmicky. For one thing, I knew that babies on stage draw focus -- it’s impossible to compete. So in this section, the first scene in which Atlas appears, I crafted a tableaux with Meghan and Kris in which Atlas could exist without becoming the sole focus. I think we accomplished this through two strategies: 1- Kris and Meghan rarely look at Atlas directly, but Atlas looks at them, which directs the gaze of the audience, and 2-Kris and Meghan’s movements are slow and continuous, allowing the viewer to get the gist without following every individual gesture. I didn’t want this scene to be about Atlas, but about these three characters coexisting with equal weight.
In the six weeks between when we first rehearsed this scene and when it was performed, Atlas’ mobility increased, so we came up with choreographic backup plans if he didn’t stay put (ie Ash sliding him back into place when he slithered away.)
The music in this excerpt is by Noveller, and we developed this material thanks to residencies at BAX and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. The full ensemble for this work included Christine Bonansea, Frank Conversano and Ashley R.T. Yergens, with costumes by Karen Boyer, stage management and dramaturgy by Martita Abril, lighting by Emma Rivera, house management by Teri Ann Carryl, and backstage baby wrangling by Patrick Gallagher.
In 2017 and 2018, I created a series of dance works *loosely* inspired by Boccaccio’s Decameron, in which 10 people isolate themselves to escape the plague and pass the time by telling stories. For the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing short excerpts from this series, along with a little bit of context. You're welcome to follow along on instagram.
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