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"RE-WRITING THE DECLARATION"

Catalyzed by the current organizing energy of our country, while recently reading the Declaration of Independence I realized that America’s founding documents were never intended to include many of the people who call this country home today. The justice system doesn’t protect black and brown people for many reasons, one of which is because it wasn’t designed to. Because of these and other shortfalls, I want to rewrite the Declaration as an artistic, performative, and participatory rendering of a new and more inclusive Declaration. Re-Writing the Declaration will ultimately result in a participatory, theatrical experience that invites audience members to engage with the performance in some way that asks them to respond to injustices that are perpetuated, and even defended, by our country’s founding documents. The development of the play will also be participatory, and will include and center community voices and input. I will conduct workshops utilizing applied theatre methods to engage Chicago artists, activists, and often marginalized communities in imagining a new declaration, what society might look like under an alternative founding document, and how we might begin practicing those images.

 

PARTICIPATORY WORKSHOP SERIES

HELP ME MAKE THE PLAY!

Join me in a series of interactive and theatre-based workshops that will inform the play! I'm looking for artists snd healers, activists and organizers, community members, and generally, YOU. This space, and the play, seeks to center and celebrate (!) those most impacted by systems of injustice.

 

"RE-WRITING THE DECLARATION" AT THE SANTA FE ART INSTITUTE

“The Image of Independence”, was written and performed as part of my residency in November of 2017 at the Santa Fe Art Institute. The Institute conducts an event three times a year in which presentations can last no longer than 140 seconds. I utilized the opportunity to write and perform my first text related to my play and project in process. While attempting to re-write the declaration, and wearing the colonial image, the character finds that the words, and the image, are not quite right. Her “revisions” are taken from actual citizens’ re-writings from workshops that I’ve led this year. She gets frustrated and stops performing, doffing her colonial wig to reveal her natural hair; her black body and afro an unaccustomed sight to this fit. When developing this piece, I knew that I needed it, even in 140 seconds, to achieve two things: have a moment of audience participation, and relate our founding fathers to black women’s hair. I received much positive feedback, reassuring me that there may be something to setting this play against the backdrop of a black beauty shop, in having it be interactive in unexpected ways, and utilizing women of color to tell, and lead the re-writing, of this story.