It is She Who I See

It is She Who I See

It is She Who I See is an immersive multimedia performance that celebrates the original woman who is in all of us, launching a long term exploration of gender imbalance that permeates societies all over the world.

The balance of female and male energy in the universe determines the evolutionary path that we traverse, and it doesn’t take a great deal of observation to note that today’s state of imbalance requires attention. As I consider this condition I find that I have more questions than answers, and more concern than relief. When I talk about this with others, though, I am buoyed to know that many people are also wondering, acting on it in many ways, and seeking a community with whom they might collaborate to make change in the world. It is She Who I See is the inaugural show that launches the explanation of gender imbalance issues, and it is the theme title for the long term initiative.

It is She Who I See emanates from two sources: a digital illustration created by artist Candy Kuehn that provides the show title, and a poem by renowned poet Rita Dove – “The Hill has Something to Say”. This digital illustration reflects how Candy perceives the original woman whose DNA carries forward into all of us through time. The poem expresses the depth and meaning of all that has unfolded through time on the hill, and reinforces the thread that holds all time together in us.

The show includes live and recorded music in a multi-dimensional soundspace, imagery and pre-taped performance projected onto a stage hung with translucent scrims, lighting design, and movement performed by a male theater artist. The focus of the movement was the male performer’s exploration of his internal states of imbalance between male and female energy. Music included “The Hill has Something to Say,” for soprano, piano and amphora; “On the Hill,” a live improvisation by the Shape ensemble including Craig Harris, Viv Corringham and Steve Goldstein; “SHE,” a piano-cello suite; “Beauty Is…,” from the Sleeping Beauty Ballet Suite; “Threshold,” for chamber ensemble and audio soundscape; and “She Is…,” for voice and audio soundscape.

The project officially launched during a 3-day workshop, video and audio recording session, and special event on September 16-18, 2013. We developed the show, we worked on the technological aspects of the production, and we recorded material to incorporate into the show in November. At the special event we asked the audience to don wearable art works by local artists and designers, and invited them onto the stage to experience the immersive environment. The project “midwife/dramaturg” led the group in an exploration of beauty, and how beauty manifests itself in gesture. Their presence in the environment was built into the November show, representing people who have been “on the hill” before, or who will be there in the future. The music for this scene is a composition called “Beauty Is,” a composition for voice and electronics originally written for the Sleeping Beauty Ballet, a dance-theater performance developed with and produced by Minneapolis-based Ballet of the Dolls, Myron Johnson, Artistic Director and Choreographer. The November production included a lobby gallery with digital illustrations from the show, and information about gender imbalance was included in the exhibition.

The show brought together a remarkable cohort of artists, musicians and theater professionals to present an abstract multimedia exploration of “She,” incorporating several compositions and narrative soundscapes written by Harris. These award-winning collaborators include soprano Norah Long, vocalist Viv Corringham, theater artist Paul Herwig, cellist Randall Davidson, the New Music ensemble Zeitgeist, English Horn performer Merilee Klemp, electronic music artist Steve Goldstein, projection designer Jim Peitzman, digital illustration artist and costume designer Candy Kuehn, and lighting designer Mike Grogan, with creative audio mixing and sound processing by Tim Donahue and project midwife Kym Longhi.

We are working to keep the exploration moving forward – to keep the conversation going, and to identify potent opportunities for us all to have an impact. Planning is underway for the next two phases of the project, It is She Too and She 3.

The following video provides excerpts from the performance of It is She Who I See in November 2012.

Scenes included in this series of excerpts include:

  • The Hill has Something to Say
  • On the Hill
  • Gentle Rain
  • Beauty Is…
  • On the Hill 2
  • Alice: Key
  • SHE Is…

Credits

Craig R Harris, Artistic Director

music by Craig R Harris
"On the Hill" music by Shape: Craig R Harris, Viv Corringham & Steve Goldstein
"The Hill has Something to Say" - poem by Rita Dove

Viv Corringham            Vocalist, On the Hill
Randall Davidson         Cello, She
Tim Donahue               Creative Audio Mixing and Sound Processing
Steve Goldstein           Electronics, On the Hill
Mike Grogan               Lighting Design
Paul Herwig               Performer and Artistic Collaborator
Merilee Klemp             English Horn, Alice (Threshold)
Candy Kuehn               Image and Costume Design
Norah Long                Soprano, The Hill has Something to Say
Kym Longhi                Project Midwife
Jim Peitzman              Projection Design
Tim Wilkins               Production Manager
Zeitgeist                 New Music Ensemble, Alice (Threshold)

“The Hill Has Something to Say” from Museum: Poems by Rita Dove, Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburgh, PA. © 1992 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of the author

(c) 2012