Requiem for a Stranger





Watch the work-in-progress performance on October 3, 2020 - in residence at New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center - HERE. 

Requiem for a Stranger is an expansive work of music and movement-theater created by physical theater company Vagabond Inventions in collaboration with Singer-Composer Renee Benson. This episodic, ensemble-devised project explores the heartspace of grief - an emotion that mainstream American culture habitually avoids, but which currently overwhelms our daily life.

Although initially conceived pre-pandemic, this timely project has met the moment of the Covid-19 crisis - and the way a recognizable present is transforming into a lost past. Drawing inspiration from the poetry of adrienne maree brown, Nikki Giovanni, Rainer Maria Rilke, and the intimate experiences of the creators, Requiem presents a journey of dynamic movement, original sound, live music, and a kinetic set by Jeff Becker. The work conjures a world of disorientation - a storm where all realities dissolve except love and absence. Between disordered memory and attempts to delay time - wailing, rapping, and song tell the story of drowning in mythological rivers and calling to the ether in praise. 

As Requiem for a Stranger grows throughout 2020/ 2021, so will a series of satellite projects: community rituals, meditative film projects, and an online platform for storytelling and healing resources. In partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans African American Museum, and Mindy Milan of the Center for Mind Body Medicine, the Requiem team seeks to draw a broad community into a process of honoring and healing our community’s losses.

In residence at New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center
Co-Conception: Renee Benson and Jennifer Sargent
Performed by: Renee Benson, Grace Booth, Jalisa Roberts, and Jennifer Sargent
Directed by: Jennifer Sargent
Music/ Sound Composed by: Renee Benson
Anti-colonial Dramaturg: Alaina Comeaux
Physical Dramaturg: Penelope McCourty 
Set Designed by: Jeff Becker
Light Co-Designed by: Jo Nazro
Costumes by: AYA Designs Global
Devised by: Tricia Anderson, Jeff Becker, Renee Benson, Grace Booth, Jalisa Roberts, and Jennifer Sargent with early trainings by Donna Costello
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