Thank for mentioning our operetta in your article about the Solo Takes On festival. I just want to clarify the topic and breadth of our show. It is not about my mother, but it is a collaboration with three other women, including the philosopher, Luce Irigaray. kindly see our press release below.
Also, just so the readers understand what this operetta is about, here is our description:
“No One Hurts You More Than S/Mother.”
A one-woman opera about the first and only woman we ever loved, our mother.
Press Release: “No One Hurts You More Than S/Mother,” a hybrid work of operatic vocals, maternal myth, and drama, morphs our notion of longing to highlight the first and only woman we ever loved, our mother. S/Mother, as self-reproductive is the mother as artist, responsible for human life and death with a voice that enacts simultaneous births. Ravenous after she sings, she consumes those around her rather than nurture them. Those around S/Mother want her to become human to get the love they need, creating havoc for the balance of the universe. As S/Mother strives to find rest and solace within her body, S/Mother undergoes her own transformation. Can S/Mother successfully recreate herself?
Shannon Wong Lerner is an artist-scholar who is working on her doctoral degree through UNC-CH’s Communication Studies figured on the work of this opera. This is her first solo show that uses operatic voice, inspired by the work of philosopher, Luce Irigaray. Shannon has studied with Luce Irigaray, and her book chapter, “Methods of Irigarayan Breath for Voice and Dance” will be included in the forthcoming book with Irigaray, Breathing With Luce Irigaray, published by Continuum Press. This is a collaborative project with professional opera singer and vocal coach Monifa Harris and musical arrangement Kristina Warren.
Holly, you must have missed "(Spoiler alert! Readers may want to skip the next paragraph.)"
Thanks for spoiling the end of the show for those of us who haven't seen it yet!
This looks really interesting. Thanks for writing about it.
After 1820 the black population in Bs. As. began to freely integrate into the porteño society to the point that three generations later actual blacks made out less than 2% of the population.
The argument that suggests that the African culture in general and its music in particular was so influential and respected as to have had such a major effect on the decision of the remaining 98% of the population to adopt a popular music as their own, can be counterpointed with the argument Carlos Vega made in an article he wrote for La Prensa in 1932,
“A song book may be influenced by another as long as there is not a sentimental abyss between them. Even though most of the enslaved Africans didn’t belong to the group of the more primitive cultures, even though many came from African regions influenced by the semitic-kamitic cultures, the imported music they brought along was, with very rare exception, of such rudimentary, original and strange nature, that it was inaccessible to the ears of the white man.
That music could not wake up in the Creoles the natural desire needed for adopting it. Far from finding in the black celebrations appropriate elements suitable for the expression of their own feelings, the Creoles found them so colorful and ridiculous that after their extinction they modernized them in grotesque carnival parodies with drumming and European songs.” -La Prensa, Nov 16, 1932 – Carlos Vega, African songs and dances in the River Plate area.
Tango as a song and dance popular genre can't be defined just by one of its constituting elements, the music, its lyrics or its choreography. And much less if the essential element is not the music because the music is the organizing and substantial element. Without the music the others can not exist. Without the music there is neither singing nor dancing. A dance step in itself, a verse alone, does not define anything, inasmuch as an isolated musical chord does not qualify as melody.
In Tango, The Art History of Love, the author's tactics seem to circumvent those concepts in a gratuitously attempt to inject the race card in an otherwise all inclusive popular cultural foreign manifestation. He looks at paintings and reads the painter's mind, he listens to a song and states the composer's intention, he watches a dancer and extrapolates a step or posture making up analogies and pulling hairs in a reckless way.
The least it can be expected from a history book is respect for time lines. Repeating irrelevant urban legends the author jumps all over time lines placing habanera dancing Cuban sailors in Buenos Aires about 60-70 years before Cuba's Armada was created.
Page after page of this irrelevant and dishonest history book, the author makes irresponsible claims and insists in implying that white folks stole tango from black folks adding another layer of racist pandering enlightenment.
- Flores = Black = Poet laureate of the people = Commiserates or melts by woman of the night.
- Discepolo = White = Darling of the intellectuals = Turn cold shoulder to woman of the night.
But here is the problem.
Tango YIRA, YIRA is not about a woman at all. There is no woman in YIRA, YIRA, a fact that anybody with basic high school Spanish could easily verify. The verses of Enrique Santos Discepolo at best reflect upon the inevitable end of our lives and the plight of those who live going around through life without ever finding a purpose. At worst, they are an indictment of the prevalent political and social climate just after the Great Depression.
"Cuando la suerte que es grela, (When luck that has feminine gender) fallando y fallando te largue parao' (letting you down, letting you down, leaves you standing by yourself)" ... clearly talking to a male listener, or maybe to himself, using the noun "parao," an uneducated variation of the passive participle of the verb PARAR, `parado' which he uses to signify being abandoned on your own. PARADO's gender is masculine. A woman would be left PARADA. Right there and then everyone knows that the tango is not about a woman.
In YIRA, YIRA, Discepolo is not turning a cold shower to a woman of the night. A serious tango historian must know about the lunfardo verb YIRAR - the tour around all the police stations of the city by repeat thieves so they'd become known to all the officers. - Serious tango experts also must know that the noun YIRO , a derogatory word for prostitute. A culture vulture would listen to YIRA, YIRA and rightfully think of a prostitute.
The sources of most fairy tales in Thompson's book are generations of Argentines who qualify as ignorant culture vultures, and maybe some reassured him that YIRA, YIRA is about a woman. However ignorance is not a reliable source for a book heralded for having discovered in the Argentine tango a racist undertone that ignores African culture.
By accusing Discepolo, under false pretenses to prove his case, if not of outright copying Flores, "the black poet laureate of the people," but at least of willfully misinterpreting him, Thompson may have inadvertently fit in the vision of Discepolo.
"Veras que todo es mentira (You'll see that all is a lie) veras que nada es amor (you'll see that nothing is love) que al mundo nada le importa (that the world couldn't care less) Yira, yira! (go around every police station so they can take a good look at you)"
A total waste of precious resources and an unfortunate source of false pride for trusting blacks who fall in love with the tango.
I was in the audience on Friday...I was laughing, but for some reason I felt compelled to laugh quietly...maybe it was because I was at a funeral! An example of the polite behavior that lubricates society.
The play was funny, the production was terrific, but to me it was more of a dry thoughtful humor, not a laugh out loud humor. You are right about cues..maybe I needed permission.
Joseph Conrad: Polish-English Author
Writer's Note: In my post below about T.S. Eliot and Duke hoops, I mistakenly referred to Joseph Conrad as a "Polish-American" author when I should have said "Polish-English." So I acknowledge this oversight while also explaining why I didn't major in English at Duke! But even a history major should get that biographical fact right!
Make That the Missouri Tigers!
My apologies for calling Missouri's team the Wildcats in the previous post. I must have had Kentucky on my mind. So please read that:
the Missouri Tigers!
Here's to Laettner, Hill and Hurley:
"Three's Com[any" with Mr. Furley!
No doubt there is at least one English Ph.D. candidate at Duke who might agree with this shocking assessment of T.S. Eliot as a putative Kentucky Wildcats fan: ergo, Colby Bogie, a Kentucky native, Harvard graduate and downright Shakespearean partisan of the UK hoops dynasty. Colby would probably even pull for the K-Cats over Tommy Amaker's Harvard Crimson outfit. Mr. Bogie even plays bluegrass tunes on his guitar, banjo and mandolin when he's not delving through MIlton, Pope and Dickens because he believes that music without a bluegrass flavor can make for some pretty slim pickin's.
But may we, as humble denizens of Red Clay North Carolina, schooled in the literary genius of Warren County's own Reynolds Price, dare venture a defense of the possibility that the great T.S. Eliot of St. Louie and Londontowne could have been a fan not only of the Polish-American author Joseph Conrad but also of Coach Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils.
Indeed, as we imagine standing in line to present our ducats for a Duke home game at Cameron Indoor Stadium, may we deign to picture a distinguished poet in overcoat and chapeau, hoping to wrangle two tickets for a Blue Devils game against the Missouri Wildcats!
Yes, could that be T.S. Eliot out in the crowd, hoping to join the excitement at courtside for this Tigers-Blue Devils faceoff? Wait, he appears to be trying to swap some lines of verse for two entry tickets to the game!
What's this, some damp paper with lines scribbled down as T.S. stood, smiling in the rain? I think I can make out some of the words of this poem:
From T.S. to Betsy Sanford,
Richard Brodhead to Elizabeth Hanford,
Duke fans come from yon Cape Fear
and the London cast of Will's "King Lear."
Heyman, Verga, Lewis and DeVenzio,
Billerman, Spanarkel, Banks and Gminskio!
Laettner, Hill, Davis and Hurley,
Battier, Boozer, Singler and Curry!
We are the Holloway men,
Winning crucial games with a wry grin.
A victory's end with Coach K's gang
Comes not with a whimper but instead with a bang!
Yes, T.S., it would be great if you were a Blue Devils fan because as the muse might opine:
Nothing, methinks, could be worse
Than a Cameron Crazie without verse.
David Proctor McKnight
Our modest guest raises an interesting issue. Since Martha isn’t really losing a child in that moment in the play, why shouldn’t her character (not the actor playing her) display a response to that development comparable to, say, a mediocre LARP player? Isn’t this merely a disagreement with a director’s interpretation, and not a legitimate point for critique?
Useful question. The most useful response might be for me to simply step aside and allow the work to critique itself.
1. By the end of Act Two, Martha’s character has repeatedly responded far more ballistically—and believably—to a host of “injuries” much less meaningful than George’s unilateral act of progenicide, hypothetical or not.
2. When George tells her that he killed their “child” because she broke a rule and talked about him with someone outside the family, there’s Martha own sick, boozy admission that she sometimes forgets he’s not real and forgets it's a game.
3. Then there’s the subtitle of Act Three itself: “The Exorcism.” Not “The Mild Disenchantment” or “The Disappointing End of an Interesting Mental Exercise.” (Now, I’ll admit, a working man might not have access to this last bit information—it wasn't in the playbill—but the director and actors most certainly did.)
Was what we saw really an “exorcism”? If not, why not? Did Albee actually shatter any grand illusion in the moment George informs Martha their son is dead? Or did he merely intend to pull the plug and let it deflate, as this production seemingly did?
Given all we’ve seen from Martha to that point, which response is more appropriate? More plausible?
Reasons enough, all told, for us to expect a moment a bit more believable than the one I witnessed Saturday night.
Thanks for writing.
I can't make it to the screening -- hope there will be other opportunities to see this film locally!
Yikes. Maybe I should re-evaluate my whole not-not-eating-meat status. I don't think I'm going to make it down to Saxapahaw tonight for the screening, but this doc is definitely on my radar now. Thanks for the review.
Thanks for this critical review of the movie, particularly looking at it from the standpoint of the animals who are enslaved and slaughtered.
I urge everyone interested in this issue to check out www.HumaneMyth.org which was created to expose the lies of so-called "humane" flesh, milk, and egg pushers and to document the inherent abuse that results from treating animals as commodities.
Hey, I'm just a simple working man and not a theatre critic, but I don't know if you really "got" the play. Your criticism of not believing Fishell's Martha as she reacted to the news of her son's death, in particular, seems a little strange to me since, as far as I could tell, that was the moment in the play in which it becomes apparent that George and Martha never had a son. Also, your comment that "In the world of the play, tonight is not like any other night in George and Martha's house" seems to be contradicted by the text, which implies that they have done this before. Like I said, though, I'm a simple man who holds no degrees or distinctions. Perhaps I'm the one who didn't "get" it.
hey amy and guys..i was also wanting to know if the stabbing was staged..it looked so real but my husband said it was staged. well amy tell me something keep the show going love it..plus girl you have one hell of a right hook!!!!!! plus i love the way u grab them around the neck and walk them out the door...that was so funny,,,,,love ya all
Amy did ron realy git stabbed and if he did is he going to make it?
I am a very big fan would love to git in the buisness and would realy love
to work for yall! But i no yall dont know me and yall only work with friends
and familey.Bobby man i had mad respect for you.I know you got to have
a personal life but what you did was messed up!Ron is like your familey.
Now look what happend because you left you friend like that he got stabbed!
Grow up Bobby BROES BEFOR HOES FOR LIFE MAN LEARN THAT MAN!
YALLS BIGEST FAN: JEFFREY PERSINGER
By the same immaculate logic, it's just as obvious that God wants everyone to walk around naked.
Weren't we born that way?
God (for the vast majority of you who are atheists, He created the universe and all that is within it; it didn't just happen) created man to eat meat. WHAT!!! How can you say that? It is easy. He made us to be omnivores. Look at our teeth. Compare our teeth to those of a cow and those of a lion. Now tell me that we were NOT made to eat meat.
To sponsor an orphan in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan, follow this link to www.sudanhelp.org to find out how you can bring hope and a brighter future to these needy children. http://www.sudanhelp.org
Sounds wonderful. What vision. Wish I could be there. Hope you'll put some pictures on line!! (Nana in Florida)
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