Salomé: Woman of Valor
Poetry by Adeena Karasick, Music by Frank London
Vancouver Chutzpah! Festival, March 8 - 10 2018
Director: Alexandra Aron. Video: Elizabeth Mak.
Lighting: Nicole Lang & Elizabeth Mak. Costumes: Johanna Pan.
Original film: Charles Bryant. Vispo: Jim Andrews.
Photography: Sylvain Senez.
“spectacularly unique”, “spellbinding”, “mind-blowing”, “dizzying and dazzling”, “wildly ambitious”
“A show that defies all categorization and yet entrances in the same way a fever dream does,” and “a brain-teasing mix of semiotic play, pop-culture references, and erudite historic-religious touchstones… a mix of high academia and high camp.”
When Alex (Alexandra Aron) first approached me to work on a new spoken-word music adaptation of Salomé, the original concept for the video projections was simple. Adeena and Frank had re-conceived this Biblical tale into one where Salomé is a herione: she falls in love with the imprisoned Iokhanan, and in begging Herod for his death, frees him to fulfill his final destiny as a martyr. My task was to take the silent film directed by Charles Bryant and edit the footage to tell our story instead. Over the course of 2 workshops with musicians and our 2 dancers who were meant to be the physical embodiments of Salomé and Iokhanan, Adeena expressed a desire for the video to reflect her poetry in a visual way, so I started to create text animation for each poem. "Drown me" had letters from her poem raining down like water, "Come" had seductive text weaving in and out like clouds around a moon, "Bind me" encircled a hanging man with words in flames, and so on and so forth. We also shot the actor Tony Torn as the head of Herod, hovering above our performers. The culminating product was an hour-long multimedia performance with spoken text, dance, Klezmer music, lighting, and video, and was a huge learning experience for me in terms of creating content for non-linear work.
Below, a reimagined Dance of the Seven Veils by choreographer Jody Sperling: