I loved making this trio with Kris, Meghan and Ash. It’s deceivingly complex, but was so satisfying to rehearse. We set it to music by Ennio Morricone, who I was listening to a lot of when I first began this project. Morricone had composed the score for Pasolini’s Decameron film and this music brought a kind of cinematic sensibility to our research, a kind of drama to contrast with small everyday gestures.
I feel a pull to use physical vernacular in all of my works, because I’m interested in how it resonates with wider audiences; it’s a great equalizer in a way. Part of what drew me to the Decameron as a theme was that Boccaccio wrote in the Italian vernacular, “accessible to readers of all social classes,*” which was radical at the time, and his characters were everyday people with all their everyday desires and misfortunes. Handshaking was interesting to me as a starting point because of its formality, and because it’s a socially acceptable form of human contact. The limitation imposed by this specific type of interaction revealed endless possibilities. Handshaking remained an interest throughout this project, and continued to manifest in the two chapters that followed in my Decameron series, Of Granite and Glass (Brookfield, June 2018) and Alone Together (ODC, December 2018).
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 Atlas Green, 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.