“The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you, you shall love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
“Do not neglect hospitality to strangers, for by doing some have entertained angels.” Hebrews 13:2
Stranger in a Strange Land was initially conceptualized and choreographed for the Grinnell College Dance Ensemble/ACTivate in Spring 2018. Stranger is a devised work. Rather than working from a script or pre-determined choreography, I bring the concept to an ensemble cast and together we develop the details of that particular performance.
In January 2019, I was invited to bring the concept to an ensemble assembled by Daniel Singh and Christine Mossere at New Spire Arts in Frederick, Maryland.
This series of videos follows the process of creation with the Frederick cast:
Videos created by @eyelumworks
Music created by @saharas.greenery
Stranger assembles the Choreo-Script for movers, actors, dancers, storytellers out of the uniqueness of each individual contribution to the overall gestalt of the work.
No two productions of Stranger will ever be the same, because the cast is always unique to itself – though the piece itself is built on the same conceptual foundations. Stranger in a Strange Land draws from the individual stories shared by the cast about a time when they felt like outsiders, or when they welcomed an outsider in, or we were welcomed in. Additional text comes from secular and religious texts reflecting on the “stranger” and our human obligations. In Grinnell, the Ensemble was dancer/movers. In Frederick, our Ensemble was comprised of actors, storytellers and dancers.
Music is an important element of Stranger. At Grinnell College we collaborated with the Grinnell College Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Mark Laver and Gabriel Espinosa.
At New Spire Arts, we worked with the Frederick Chorale under the direction of Doug Cox.
“We tell each other stories so that we will remember. Try and find the meaning in the living of your days. Always telling stories, wanting to remember where and whom we came from, who we are.”
From Considering Matthew Shepard by Craig Hella Johnson.
“Stranger in a Strange Land” is available for adaptation for other communities.
It asks the questions:
Remember a time you felt that you were a stranger (outsider), or when you were welcomed in, or you welcomed a stranger in
From the stories of the local cast/community, “Stranger” is built. It is a theatre/movement piece that can be assembled with a 2-3 week residency.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.