Nora Chipaumire and Okwui Okpokwasili in Miriam.
Sept. 12 through 15
Spatial arrangement: seating on four sides.
In “Miriam” the Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire explores facets of the female body and iconography, taking inspiration from the singer and activist Miriam Makeba, as well as the Virgin Mary and others.
“This is the first piece that I wrote a script for first,” Ms. Chipaumire said. “Normally, I start from a physical place. With Miriam Makeba, her being a singer wasn’t the thing I was interested in the most. I was interested in the fact that she was wandering around the world, almost like Moses, for 30 or 40 years. The idea of icons started to drive the piece more — and also how we project all of these goody-goody things on them. Clearly, Makeba also had a dark side. All these huge icons do. I like the dark. It’s the unknown. It’s scary. I’m trying to understand why it scares me so much.”
On the spatial configuration: “My idea always is that the audience is complicit. I have a love/hate relationship with them, but they must be there, always. The proscenium always reduces that feeling of the people being complicit in what’s happening. So I’m pushing them really close to where the action is, so they are participants. It shouldn’t be comfortable.”