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banished? ARTillery

Remaining Performances (tickets available here):

Wednesday, July 15 at 7:00 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 8:20 p.m. Thursday, July 16 at 8:00 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:40 p.m., 9:00 p.m. Friday, July 17 at 8:00 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:40 p.m., 9:00 p.m. Saturday, July 18 at 7:00 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:40 p.m., 9:00 p.m Sunday, July 19 at 7:00 p.m., 7:20 p.m., 7:40 p.m., 8:00 p.m., 8:20 p.m., 8:40 p.m., 9:00 p.m

They Say: Wander and play within intimate performance vignettes that ponder our relationships with nature, time and how we enact belonging and rootedness. We’ll story our intricate connections to home and land, and to spores, sprouts and microbes in living, intangible kingdoms.

Erica’s Take: I arrived at banished? ARTillery both nervous and excited about the “intimate” performances of I Thought The Earth Remembered Me. Anxiety crept over me as I envisioned the possibilities. Would the avant-garde banished? productions artists look me in the eyes as they performed? Would they touch me? Would I have to be part of the performance? My fears came true; all of the above happened. But as I moved through the performances I felt relaxed and intensely connected to the performers, to my physical surroundings, to the past, and even to myself.

The five vignettes in the production are experienced either individually or with a handful of people, and the experience goes far beyond watching and listening. As an audience member, you use all five senses to engage with the performances and connect with the artists.

In The Ceremony, you use your hands to uncover a chapter of injustice in American history while Ronee Penoi and DeLessin George-Warren (identified as “Roo George-Warren” in the program) sing with soothing voices. What I Remember stimulates sight through dance and technology. Meredith Bove’s movements and words successfully evoke memories of leaving and going, and feelings of belonging and alienation. In Drift Cecilia Cackley transports you into a miniature marine world with a few small branches and a pair of headphones.

When David Szanto shares personal memories of a friend in The Gastronome in You, he looks directly at you, he holds your hand, he gives you bread to smell, taste, and hear. The invisibly small gains importance, like the organisms that made it possible for that bread to exist and for you to exist. With his comforting demeanor and natural performance, Szanto makes you feel like he is an old friend. A similar thing happens with Being Moss by Carmen C. Wong and Ashi K. Day. In this vignette, you’re robbed of your sight and guided into an enclosed tent. You give your trust to the performer that is with you. You rely on your hearing, touch, and even smell to get a sense of place and figure out what is happening.

All of the performances felt honest and the spaces were inviting. Each in its own way pushed me to reflect on where I am and where I’ve been. In the end I walked out of I Thought the Earth Remembered Me with heightened awareness. I felt the wind on my skin, heard the creaks and squeaks of the Metro escalator, saw my neighbors’ faces, and felt connected to the world around me.

See it if: You’ve ever fantasized about escaping to the forest.

Skip it if: You groan when someone talks about the interconnectedness of people and things.

Image courtesy of banished? productions