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Stacey Harwood

Myth(ologies) in the Making in Chicago [by Stacey Harwood]

Erica Barnes MythologiesFrom the Archives (November 8, 2012):

About a year ago, the Chicago-based theater artist Erica Barnes approached David Lehman for permission to adapt his poem "Mythologies" for the stage as a dance performance piece [photo credit Lauren Sudbrink]. According to Erica, she was in the midst of a somewhat fallow period when on a whim she visited the Poetry Foundation website, clicked on the "Poem of the Day" and "fell in love." David's sequence of thirty sonnets "Mythologies," first published in the Paris Review issue 106 (1988) and awarded the Bernard F. Connors prize, was the Foundation's featured poem. Erica has this to say about David's poem:

We need new myths. Our old heroes are too unattainable, too perfect, too… heroic. David Lehman’s poem ‘Mythologies’ tells the story of a man struggling to construct new myths in the wake of the disintegration of his expectations. Blending the language of poetry with the ritual of theatre, ‘Mythologies’ searches for the answer to the age-old question --  what is it to be human?

Erica BarnesDavid granted permission and over the next several months Erica dispatched periodic updates of her work- in-progress. She secured funding, hired a full cast and crew, found performance space, and held rehearsals. On November 1, "Mythologies" opened at the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse Theater in Chicago.  "It was a success," writes Erica, and her excitement is palpable. .

 Meanwhile, you can find out more about "Mythologies" in Chicago by visiting the dedicated website.  You will find Erica's interview with David here.  And check out this link and this one for more about Erica and the various works she has adapted for the theater since 2012:

Erica describes herself as "a proud Chicago theatre ex-pat [who] served as Co-Founder of Knife & Fork, a theatre company dedicated to social practice around food, feminism, and body politics and as Co-Artistic Director of Blank Line Collective, a movement-based and devised theater company." She "holds a certificate in Laban Movement Analysis and is currently seeking certification for Intimacy Direction.  She uses aspects of these movement modalities to create work that is highly kinetic, physically expressive, and makes the impossible possible. Specializing in directing new plays by feminist and queer writers that explore relationships, loneliness, and the need for human connection, she is fascinated by shifting energy between people onstage and attempts to harness this energy to tell stories."

Congratulations Erica!

"Mythologies" was included in David Lehman's New and Selected Poems (Scribner, 2013).

-- sdh

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I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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