I’m thrilled to commission Everett Saunders to develop new work; a sound installation composed for audiences before they enter the theatre, and an expanded composition for being Here…/this time- a mixed media performance work about Mental Health and Addiction Recovery. Saunders will explore a technique in sound design; a binaural recording process resulting in a 3 dimensional stereo soundscape, to be experienced via headphones at “Listening Booths”, stationed in theatre lobbies or gallery spaces. We’re hiring Industrial Designer Johann Mittnacht, also set designer for “being Here…” (in March 2013) to craft the Listening Booths for the Sound Installation.
The 3D simulation is an exciting new venture for us in audio effects, and is especially fitting for this project. Saunders was the original composer for “being Here…” produced and previewed March 2013 at Danspace Project. His work was well received but after only a few short months of working we realized we had only scratched the surface of what this work had to offer. New Music USA funding will grant us time and resources to invest solely in a sound/music exploration that supports this complex and dynamic performance work, and stands alone as an exciting Sound Project. More importantly this project, the Musical composition and Sound Installation (in collaboration with the performance work) is rooted in storytelling; a weighty story of survival, gathered from our research and contributions from the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Dr. Carl Hart of Columbia University, and the N Street Village/Bethany Day Center in Washington D.C. This commission will grant us time to re-enter the work sonically as its choreographic structure and scenic design evolve over the next year.
Conceptually, both in the the installation and the full length composition, Saunders is examining the capacity of sound to disarm and stir the listener; intentionally destabilizing this listener, while contextualizing what they’ll experience in the performance. He’s triggering an array of emotional arcs that give a glimpse into one mind’s journey towards mental health, addiction recovery, remembering trauma, and envisioning, or rather embodying healing.
Everett Saunders and I, choreographer Marjani Forte, have worked together on several projects but this would mark my largest commissioning of his work, requiring a significant amount of study, research, time, and drafting. The work is scheduled for a premiere in Fall of 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA at the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre. It would be the first time we introduce this sound installation. We’re also in conversation with New York Live Arts a performance space, and the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts in Brooklyn NY with 651 ARTS (a presenting organization and 2012 creative host for being Here… through their Artist Development Initiative), to present this installation and excerpts of the performance work, designed for the gallery.