Conversation & Context video, in culmination of 3 FRAMES / BY ME
In By Me You’ll Never Know, memory/perspective, shape history in the journey of a black family’s trauma, framing dynamics of caste, class, and otherness, as the ‘undiscussed’ weight of legacy for POC.
The pandemic hiatus was opportunity to curate fodder of central themes, from the full-length play, and craft them into an immersive 60-minute narrative presentation as 3 Frames / By Me.
Through workshop and audience feedback in experiencing 3 Frames, it became clear just how especially unsettling the ‘undiscussed’ was to audience members of color, who unexpectedly found themselves in unexplored memories of their own families. Such reflection was challenge across generations, with older audience members of color suddenly experiencing memories of “getting on”, as being more to do with ‘moving up’, which, when unpacked, presented as conversations of their considering that such circumstances could be articulated as legacy of loss.
These reactions are of incredible consequence; they shaped a sobering question for me and the creative collaborators who sought the work’s progress: how to present ‘theatre of trauma’ in best practice of emotional support for artists and audiences -and particularly in the space of reflection afterwards, where discomfort and vulnerabilities might be held in silence?
The scope and intention of the BY ME Project is to stand up the full-length play and align this with development in best practices of care, as ethical model for presenting ‘theatre of trauma’ to diverse audiences, not least to include guidelines of discourse, sculpted by active listening to sharing loss, and in empathy for complex vulnerability.
With theatre works speaking to the trauma of our times, comes an urgency to scaffolding wraparound measures of care.
Throughout the year, this work has had an amazing coalition of support and guidance; thank you: Derek Goldman and The Laboratory for Global Performance & Politics; Makeba Clay; The Phillips Collection; Tyrone Henderson, and Quick Silver Theater Company; Wayne Maugins and Voyage Theater; Jonathan Meth, and The Fence; Alliance for New Music-Theater; Jasmine Mitchell; Timothy Douglas; Angelisa Gillyard; Bob Jaffe; Farah Lawal Harris, Keta Newborn, Young People's Theater; Gail Prensky; Michael Feldman and Theater & Policy Salon; Neil Pritchard ; Marjorie Johnson; Natalie Graves Tucker; Jeri Marshall; Luke Edward Smith; Keith Irby; Corey Emerson; Elle Emerson;
The video, sits as Conversation & Context, not only of the work, but of lessons out of the journey. It is not meant as full representation of the complete play, but offers context of central themes, style, and wonder in 'how we scaffold care', for audiences in 'theater of trauma'.
For ease of experiencing the conversations and 2 scenes from the play, here are the time code markings:
20:47 to 31:21 / Scene of The Brunch with KEN, ALLAN, REA, CELIA - 'You know, until me your father voted Republican'.. KEN / Neil Pritchard; ALLAN / Luke Edward Smith; REA / Natalie Graves Tucker; CELIA / Jeri Marshall
21:21 to 1:09:15 / Conversation with Farah Lawal Harris, Tom Minter and Angelisa Gillyard; a wonder and question as to how do we scaffold care as support in spaces for audiences to experience 'theatre of trauma'?