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Read Black Desire, Theatrical Jazz, and River See
by myself and Dr. Omi Jones in TDR/The Drama Review
Winter 2014, Vol. 58, No. 4. edited by Jill Dolan and Stacy Wolf
(From River See produced by The Theater Offensive in Boston. Photo Credit: Ivy Maiorino. Pictured L-R: Djola Branner, Sonja Parks, Mankwe Ndosi, Sharon Bridgforth.)
River See Theatrical Jazz Performance Installation
National Performance Network Performance Residency at
The Theater Offensive in Boston November 10 – November 16, 2014.
Performances will be on: November 13, 14, 15, 16, 2014.
“How Bridgforth tells See’s story falls within both black women’s literary and artistic canons. See’s narrative has the poetic feel, energy and rawness of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 landmark stage play “for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf” and the African Diasporic cultural and religious aesthetic of Julie Dash’s 1991 “Daughters of the Dust.” And like Shange and Dash, Bridgforth experiments with an unconventional narrative device that many sisters of the African Diasporic argue is the only way to aptly convey and capture the complexities of black women lives.”
Qu(e)erying the black migration BY REV. IRENE MONROE | Bay Windows (Boston), NOVEMBER 20, 2014.
(From River See produced by The Theater Offensive in Boston. Photo Credit: Ivy Maiorino. Pictured L-R in back: Kaamila Mohamed, Nyx Zierhut, Ayisha Knight Shaw, Cristina Marie Dones and Giftson Joseph. Front L-R: Sonja Parks and Sharon Bridgforth.)
Playwright Sharon Bridgforth’s ‘River See’ is moving, mystical… by Rohan Preston, Star Tribune “
“Sharon Bridgforth’s new work, “River See,” harks back to the roots of performance. If you let it take you where it wants to, if you follow its gestures and open up, the result is a production that is mystical and knowing.” -Rohan Preston, Star Tribune (FULL REVIEW)
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT WORKED/PRAYED/DONATED/JOINED UP FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF RIVER SEE AT LINKS HALL IN CHICAGO!!
Photo by Dan Plehal Photography.
(Pictured-Seated: Sonja Parks. Standing L-R: Sharon Bridgforth, Ni’Ja Whitson Adebanjo, Marie Casimir, Jasmine Johnson, Nia Witherspoon, Mankwe Ndosi)
A series of blues stories set on a river boat, with juking women, queers, deviants and Seers, River See is the prayer before the first Great African American Migration (1910). Experienced through the heart of, SEE, a young woman-in-training, we journey through a world where the living-the dead-the unborn/the past-the present-the future co-exist. Lil NayNay, Grandma-Aunt Porkchopps, Big Suzi, Mr. Goodies, Mrs. Shine, Ms. Ada and she ole ass dog Lil Lady shepherd the way. With rowdy spirit guides and loving elders, SEE grows into her calling as the answered prayer, as she is prepared to be sent “to the North.”
(From River See produced by The Theater Offensive in Boston. Photo Credit: Ivy Maiorino. Pictured: Audience members offering gestures in response to our improvisational process in support of SEE as she tells her story.)
River See explores blues stories as living arrangements of jazz. Through an improvisational process that happens live during performance/with singers, dancers and audience members, Bridgforth composes a moving soundscape in support of SEE’s Journey. Through this collective process all are responsible for this story/about Love.
SEE (Sonja Parks) embodies/tells the entire story. In rehearsals I teach my Composition language/which is made of gestures to the cast. What they enter the (rehearsal) room with-their lived experiences, artistic expertise and impulses are the architecture for the experience. When the audience joins us they are invited to choose how they will be active Witness/participants. Some translate bits of text, some offer gestures. Some serve as sacred gossipers. Some conjure-pray-chant. Some listen/hold space. I teach them my Composition language/and the show begins. ALL in the room work to serve SEE as she tells her story. Sharon Bridgforth
Read what MLPS press had to say about the 4/2014 workshop production of River See at Pillsbury House Theatre HERE.
SEE’s FAMILY OF COMMUNITY FUNDERS HERE.
River See received $20,917 on USA Projects (AKA Hatchfund) July 2013 THANKS TO YOU!