Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Songwriting and Theater of the Oppressed

My friend Martin has a peculiar practice of what I call "intimate economy." Whenever he abandons his home for a new life on the other side of the world, he gifts trinkets, books, accessories -- all those comfort items that make a home -- to appropriate friends. This time I got this:
Now, I'm not a songwriter so I don't know how to write guitar chords or catchy lyrics (though I've tried my hand at hip-hop). But since my experimentation has plunged me headfirst into the world of improv, it seemed appropriate to document these compositions, so. If this inspires you to write pop style songs, by all means share.
I've continued my Theater of the Oppressed journey with Morgan Andrews here in Philly. Last weekend he facilitated an incredibly sensitive, intimate Rainbow of Desire session featuring a black female couple's dispute over public presentation of their relationship. The 30-some odd participants selected their story over four others' from the room. I know Morgan is a master theater facilitator, so he changes up the process according to everyone's energies, but overall Rainbow of Desire is designed to refract the multiple simultaneous impulses of each individual in a provocative scenario into discernible facets, characterize them, process them through image making and image dynamism, and release them in support of the individual's true practice.

Almost every time I disclose that I'm a composer, someone asks what kind of music. We are such powerful, complex beings. We deserve all of one another, and we have the potential to make this world better in our lifetimes. This is the work I mean when I answer. How can I better put in words the calling to dress myself in rope bondage and medical needles, beat a violin, and step all over my audience members?

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