Storytelling Through Images and Performance: "When You Make a Broken Heart" and "Everything is Included"
I believe in the power of our stories, that telling and hearing stories is healing, that building and creating is empowering and that our stories are connected through the objects around us. As a performer and artist, my work explores objects as vocabulary used to tell stories. As a trained actor, clown and puppeteer, I use all of these skills to engage audiences through humor and sadness. I work to communicate beyond words: through music, through the life of objects, and through our shared humanity.
When You Make A Broken Heart and Everything is Included are both part of a new project about motherhood. The first phase of the work, funded in part by The Robert W Deutsch Foundation and The Rubys Grant and performed at the 2020 Crankie Festival at The Creative Alliance, is a crankie about facing the mortality of my children through my baby's open heart surgery and the reality of unfixable problems.
The project started with digital drawings shared through my instagram page @figillustrated about the first days of my baby's life after being diagnosed in utero with d-Transposition of the Great Arteries. I then used some of those images, and some new ones, in a painted and drawn crankie. This was my first time exploring the Crankie as a way to tell a story, which was challenging and exciting.
As a mother with high costs of childcare, this project would be nearly impossible without the help of The Robert W. Deutsch Foundation's support.
I am now working on the next chapter in this project, Everything Is Included. "Everything is Included" uses shadow puppetry and poetry to connect my small specific trauma to the larger human one, exploring the beauty of living in light of the terrible things that can happen. As Rilke wrote, “Are there relations of the heart that embrace what is most cruel for the sake of wholeness? For the world is only world when everything is included.”
"Everything is Included" is a seven part original poem about grief performed with shadows. It was made possible with funding by The Jim Henson Foundation and was performed in November 2021 at Black Cherry Puppet Theater's Puppet Slamwich . Music for this section "Everything is Included" was created and recorded by ellen cherry.