By Jay Ruby
The Sam Hill Warehouse was Prescott’s original depot for the exchange of goods and stories, back when the railroad was the crucial link between the frontier and civilization beyond. Nowadays, material goods mostly arrive by truck, and communications come electronically, but the revamped depot, a Prescott cultural landmark for the past two decades, remains a local, vital center for the ideas and tales that help us shape the future ahead. The new frontier, if you will.
Appropriately, the Sam Hill Warehouse will be the site for Inter•Section•Solo, a new festival of solo performance in Prescott hosted by The Carpetbag Brigade. This two-day event (March 29th and 30th) celebrates the art of intimate storytelling with theater, dance and spoken word. Inter•Section•Solo engages performance artists and poets to share well-crafted stories from across the spectrum of human experience that invigoratingly question our traditions and identity.
Inter•Section•Solo is an opportunity to live inside the odd questions and memories that resonate through time in the territorial outpost of Sam Hill Warehouse. How did Johnny Appleseed sell cider mash? What was it like to dance inside the circled wagons on the Oregon trail? Was Eve upset about being made from a rib? Where is the wall along the Mason-Dixon line? Are today’s pioneers dancing in a club? Or herding sheep in the desert? Or both? What’s the difference between migrations north/south and east/west?
Inter•Section•Solo creates a space to listen deeply to the stories that have shaped our culture. Listening deeply means much more than forcing oneself to politely pay attention to a friend’s or a lover’s story so they keep on talking. At Inter•Section•Solo, the burden of concentration, usually bestowed upon a listener, is joyfully lifted by a time-bending performer who can skillfully seize the responsibility of sharing testimonial acts.
In the process, a good performer can provide poetic insight and comic relief into the suffering and grace of genetics and culture on our personal history/herstory/theirstory. At Inter•Section•Solo, your mind will be sparked with a flood of sensations that awaken and reveal our cultural imprints and ancestral memories.
In curating Inter•Section•Solo, I looked for performances in which the performers took the time to deeply work on the self. I challenged their capacity to express a story that is personally critical to them. The creative work processes of each performance are unique in content and challenge, and could only be performed by the solo performer doing it. Each reaffirms subjective experience.
The thread that binds the festival is the commitment of each performer to look into the material of their life, see how it relates to larger questions and dynamics in society, and sculpt a story through intimate stagecraft that is integral to their existence. Each of the works is influenced indirectly or directly by artistic contact with the Focused Research Team of Thomas Richards from the Workcenter. The overarching themes of these uniquely individual works boil down to questions of identity and tradition, and the need to question–sometimes interrogate–the cultural imprints we unconsciously receive.
The spoken-word artists were chosen for their ability to articulate diverse points of view and share unique essences of their personal experience through wordcraft. Inter•Section•Solo is inspired by the concept of Intersectionality–and the need for all humans to live in a just and equitable world where every story counts. Intersectionality emerged from liberation movements that recognized the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, and the interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage based upon them. Racism, sexism, homophobia, class never stand alone.
To become a sustainable society we need to practice understanding of diverse perspectives and create rituals of encounter that allow us to see and appreciate the experience of others. Theater and intimate storytelling contribute to the collective, psychic well-being of a community. The mission of Inter•Section•Solo is to depolarize civic dialogue by affirming subjective human experience through high-quality artistic expression, and changing our attitudes from fear to love through performance interventions.
Are you ready to show up, step up, and pioneer the new frontier? Observe the exchange of Inter•Section•Solo, and take notes.
And if you dare, look for the afternoon workshop Descent of The Creative Body with Christopher Mankowski from 1 to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Inter•Section•Solo is supported primarily by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Prescott College, The Carpetbag Brigade, and Van Gogh’s Ear along with generous contributions from individuals and local businesses in Prescott.
Questioning Identity Questioning Tradition
Friday 29, 2019 Saturday 30, 2019
Doors open at 6:30 with a start time of 7:00 pm.
There will be an intermission each night.
Tickets are $20 per evening, or $35 if you purchase tickets for both nights.
Mature themes presented.
Prescott College students must book online to receive their complimentary institutional discount.
Advance online ticket sales are strongly suggested!
Get Tickets at InterSectionSoloFestival.bpt.me
Jay Ruby is a cultural navigator, physical storyteller, and the founder of Global Stilt Congress, The Carpetbag Brigade and Tsunami on the Square. Last year he worked as Special Operations Manager at Brill for Congress. His new mission involves navigating a course through art and politics and providing something for everybody in everybody’s hometown. He is currently working on a thesis at Prescott College.