Requiem for a Stranger
Come into the candlelight. I’m not afraid
to look the dead in the face. When they return
they have a right to stand there in our gaze
the same as other things.
Come here; and we’ll be quiet for a bit.
Rainer Maria Rilke, from his poem Requiem for a Friend
Requiem for a Stranger is a devised work in development by physical theater company Vagabond Inventions in collaboration with Singer/ Composer Renee Benson. This new creation explores the nature of grief – both personal and cultural – by giving form to how this experience, repressed culturally, exists in the heartspace of humans.
Through movement, image, and music, Requiem explores a constellation of intimate stories – culled from the creators’ personal losses and poetic odes from the likes of Nikki Giovanni and Rainer Maria Rilke. These stories exist in conversation with anthropological and psychological insight into the human experience of grief and mourning. Mimicking the cycles of grief, the stage transforms from an expanse for sacred ritual into a landscape of disorientation - and back again.
In fall 2019, the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans invited Requiem to be a part of Southern Crossings, the art center’s annual works-in-progress residency program for exemplary local performance work. The creative team recently completed six weeks of "socially distanced" creative development in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. The work will return for a second residency at the CAC in fall of 2020.