“Drawing inspiration from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a text originally intended to provided the deceased with a blueprint to the afterlife, we will use analog projection, sound, and dance to animate a series of burial vignettes. We excavate this 3000-year-old series of spells and incantations to create a new translation, focusing our inquiry on the scroll’s central metaphor: the weighing of the heart. The performance proposes burial not as erasure but as offering restitution, performing rites, and creating space in our lives for the presence of the absent, the imagined and the longed for.” – Kaneza Schaal
In fall 2014 Schaal and her team return to GO/FORTH after a month long research trip to Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. During her LMCC Process Space residency, Schaal has been creating the performance score and building out an entranceway installation. The entry structure is inspired by the architecture of Middle Kingdom Egyptian tombs, their intended magic and ornate painting. The GO/FORTH funerary murals connect an ancient legacy of permanence with urban memorial paintings and the quest for presence among populations who are not immortalized by monuments. The entranceway paintings and text will contain underpinning mythological histories referenced in Going Forth By Day (a more accurate rendering of the “Egyptian Book of the Dead”) to provide the audience with a guide and initiation to the performance itself.
In ancient times individuals would select chapters of Going Forth By Day to create a unique script for their passage. Like the burial scrolls, GO/FORTH is a set of instructions; it is a blueprint to performance. For the 2015 premier co-produced by Performance Space 122 Schaal will invite 9 artists to execute the score over the run of the performance. The performers’ diverse relationship to the material creates 9 unique performances. The theatrical event becomes a modern ritual and what remains, like the ancient scrolls, is an artifact that serves as a passport to the ephemeral. In her Open Studio in LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, audiences will have an opportunity to experience this work in development.
Friday, November 21
Performance starts at 3:15pm. Ferry departs promptly at 3:00pm from Battery Maritime Building, Manhattan.
LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island
Ferry departs promptly at 3PM from Battery Maritime Building, Manhattan.
No late arrivals.
Justin Hicks (sound artist)
Christopher Myers (visual artist)
Joshua Lubin-Levy (dramaturge, scholar)
Ashley Vellano (lighting designer)
Cornell Alston (Rehabilitation Through The Arts)
Justin Hicks (sound artist)
April Matthis (Ralph Lemon, Elevator Repair Service)
William Nadylam (Peter Brook’s HAMLET, THE SUIT)
Greig Sargeant (Elevator Repair Service, Target Margin Theater)
Courtney Williams (Fordham University)
The initial work on GO/FORTH began while Schaal was in residence at The Baryshnikov Arts Center. There she developed a physical and visual vocabulary that honors the hieroglyphic text and draws on multiple languages of art to interpret the material. GO/FORTH aims to strengthen the connective tissue between image, word, sound and body, which the ancient Egyptians understood to be inextricably linked.
In spring 2014 through a Performance Space 122 RAMP residency, Schaal and her collaborators braided together Going Forth by Day with further texts. Schaal explored how this material played in the mouths of actors as diverse as Peter Brook’s leading man, a teenaged girl, a man who was incarcerated for 30 years, and an R&B singer. In addition to using translations of Going Forth by Day by E.A. Wallis Budge, Raymond Faulkner, and Normandi Ellis, she incorporated other ancient tales of death, burial, and justice. Schaal drew on interpretations of Sophocles’ Antigone by Jean Anouilh and Anne Carson, as well as the films of Jean Cocteau (Orphic Trilogy) and Jean Rouch (Les maîtres fous). She combines surrealist logic and ancient mythologies to highlight the beauty and absurdity with which this 3,000-year-old text lands on contemporary ears. At its core the work explores an exchange of ideas on the afterworld that has circulated the Mediterranean and which echoes from the classical world into today.
GO/FORTH is generously supported by Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Princess Grace Foundation, Performance Space 122 with a Jerome Foundation 50th Anniversary Grant, The Performing Garage, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and a Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship.