Lucy, a beautiful student dancer at an urban women’s college, falls to her death from the roof of a dorm. Erica, her infatuated classmate, was with her when she fell, but was too drunk to remember what happened. Her therapist, Maureen, arrives on the scene, devastated at the lack of answers.
This is an opera about a possible suicide at an urban women’s college, but it is also a multi-media art installation. It will be written and designed such that it can be experienced in three different ways: as a studio recording, hearable in the intimate space of one’s headphones; as a site-specific performance at an art gallery; and as an ongoing multi-media installation, experienced in the gallery space as atemporal, fragmented audio and video projections that performatively gesture to the mystery and unknowability of traumatic memory.
The performance and installation space for “The After Time” will ideally be a small art gallery with three rooms that flow into one another. The first room will be a video and lighting simulation of an outdoor urban roof space, whose colors shift and loop over time from a beautiful afternoon sunset to a chillingly black starry night. The second room will be a night club, where trance music and glittering lights usher the audience into a 1990s-era rave scene. The final room will be a hall of mirrors, a representation of the dance studio where our two student dancers first met, and which also becomes transformed, through lighting and video, into a labyrinth of tangled and fragmented memories as the opera progresses.
The synopsis for the opera–which one can experience both “in time,” as a performance, and “out of time,” as an installation–is below.
The After Time takes place at an urban women’s college, where Lucy, a talented student of ballet, has mysteriously fallen to her death from the roof of a dormitory. In the terrible aftermath of the tragedy, two people from the victim’s life—her therapist, Maureen, and a shy classmate, Erica, who has been stalking Lucy obsessively—are brought together. While Maureen believes that Erica, who was on the roof when Lucy fell, can bear witness to what has occurred, Erica claims that she was drunk and remembers nothing. As their stories unravel, haunting truths about the nature of Lucy’s relationship with Maureen is revealed, as well as their mutual devastation that they will likely never know why Lucy has died.