by Nicole Harris
In the last few weeks we've introduced you to new performers, guest artists and choreography mentees related to Friday's performance. Just in case you were missing our incredible Artistic Director, Karen Krolak, we wanted to make sure you heard all about the three new pieces she has in the show.
Karen has created two new solos for Sam Mullen and Olivia Scharff as well as put together a Musing Prompt so you can see what improvisation time with Monkeyhouse can be like. Karen has also designed costumes for the majority of the work being shown!
reACT reBUILD reCOLLECT
Friday, July 27th @ 8pm
665 Salem St, Malden, MA
Tickets available here for only $10 if you use the VIP Code MH10.
VIP tickets are not available at the door so get yours today!
karen Krolak: Yes, through the Musings this year, I began to explore some choreographic ideas related to The Dictionary of Negative Space: an interdisciplinary lament.
N: Can you talk a little about what the dictionary is and how the pieces relate to it?
kK: The dictionary began as my thesis project for my MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Sierra Nevada College. It examines the negative space within the English language, the vast chasms of unnamed ideas related to mourning, trauma, and repair and it was inspired by the car accident that killed my mother, father, and older brother in 2012. By the time we began to plan Re act…, I had a two ideas for pieces based off of this research.
N: You led a number of Musings around the text from MyFather’s  .  Dance. It is choreographic score and it is very different from how you usually create work. Can you describe it?
kK: Hmm. It is an odd bit of text. Really, it is a list of physical instructions. I have been curious about how different people would make movement phrases based on these words. You know, some people when you say ‘Rewind’ will move backwards whereas someone else might turn around like the cog of an old cassette tape.
N: How did you develop the verbs on this list?
Exactly two weeks before the accident, my father, Kwaq7aj’, and I went to see Monkeyhouse’s creation in Luminarium’s very first 24hr ChoreoFest. I decided to create a choreographic score to guide someone from the Dance Complex to the place where we said goodbye that day. When I began mapping out these activities, a little more than 5 years had already passed.
Odd, I just remembered that I started working on the score after I left a showing that Luminarium presented at Green Street Studios this fall.
Anyway, it was challenging to recreate exactly what happened. How long did we wait for the walk signal? Where exactly was our table when we sat down to eat? Since I did not know that this would be my last outing with my father, I did not memorize as many details as I wanted later. More importantly, I realized that I had tricked myself into thinking that this was my father’s  because in reality both of my parent’s  no longer exists. That place was destroyed a few years after the accident. I had latched onto the goodbye from the day of ChoreoFest because my brain clearly did not want to deal with another missing thing.
As I wrote out everything that was tangled up in my head, I realized that I was not writing instructions for my father’s . I was writing out my father’s aaaaaaaaa (n.[usually plural] activities that seem ordinary but take on new significance when they are the last moments spent with someone). I edited my thoughts down to just the verbs to emphasize those actions.
N: Can you talk about what you discovered during Musings?
kK: It was fascinating to see how each person responded to the text. I remember the first time that you played with it, your work began an ended in the exact same spot over and over again. I loved how it felt as thought you became trapped in a memory loop. Elizabeth developed a phrase that just felt isolated or lost in her own mind and that was exacerbated when I asked other people to dance past her. I began to realize that the text could inspire multiple pieces without anyone in the audience feeling as though they were related. Both Sam and Olivia's solos evolved from the text but they did it in very different ways.
kK: Right, I had received an email from Mobius and discovered that they were planning some dadamobile events in Boston at the Farmer’s Market on Copley Square. One of them was just a few hours after the email arrived and I had some free time. Two moments on that trip sparked an idea of how to approach this solo.
First, while I was sitting near Copley over by the Finish Line for the Boston Marathon, a man approached me to use my phone. Having just recently adjusted to a new phone, I was hesitant to hand it over to a stranger. He was clearly in distress and wanted help to contact a medical clinic. I offered to call the clinic for him. As we navigated the phone tree, things got very frantic and confusing for him. He was in a treatment program for opioid addiction and had missed the time that he was supposed to contact his nurse that day. While he and I were sharing the phone in this awkward uncomfortable duet, people were just rushing by us and stepping over us. It was very similar to the feeling of Elizabeth’s phrase from that Musing.
Then on the way home from the T in Malden Center, I was behind three strings of children on walking ropes. I was still worrying about the man from Copley. Juxtaposing the security and calm of these kids making their way to the Ed Emberley Park against the man’s isolation and despair, I began to wonder about a person who realizes that they are all alone on their walking rope. Once again, I understood that I was exploring yet another entry from the dictionary but I will let people guess about which one until they come to the show.
N: How did you approach working with Sam?
kK: Sam has not been told very much about the instructions on MyFather’s
 .  Dance
other than that they are related to the Dictionary of Negative Space. Her choices are all very carefree and full of wonder. I wanted to see how she would experience the instructions without the weight of the backstory.