In Chinese folklore, the Lady of Forgetfulness, Meng Po, feeds the souls of the deceased a soup to help them forget their previous lives before reincarnating into their next.
Meng Po serves as a gateway to ruminate over what ties us to the past, present, and future. Her role as the gatekeeper of memories and reincarnation reminds us that life does not dematerialize, but instead, always transitions and transforms. The piece asks participants to reconsider the nature of memory and loss in their own lives, stirring in cultural anecdotes, neuroscience, and interviews with loved ones. How do we hold space to communally recount and remember significant moments in our lives, and how does it alter all of us to do so?
During this time of seismic loss, when many traditional grieving rituals – communal gatherings, vigils, and funerals – have been unable to proceed as usual, this piece draws inspiration from ancestral rites, spiritual altars, online platforms and communities, as well as research on catharsis, in order to reimagine and play with new rituals for the moment. Conceived as a multifaceted experience, Waters of Oblivion is an on-site/online hybrid experiential piece that wades deep into the underworld to observe what collectively emerges and what can be left behind.
This pieces was created as we reflected on the times we are in, from pandemic to widespread socio-political upheaval, the unique/rare circumstances has propelled us to think beyond the norms and conventions. As we tried to create space through art and theater to address the heightened emotions during this time, we felt it necessary to embarks on this multi-platform, interdisciplinary, and highly devised (in both performance and design) journey.
Presenter – Theater Mitu
Venue – Mitu580
Tina Hanaé Miller
Director – Cinthia Chen
Projection Design – Cinthia Chen
Media Design – Cinthia Chen
Stage Manager – Maya Simone
Lighting Design – Sarah Lurie
Scene Design – Chen-Wei Liao
Sound Design – Tina Hanaé Miller
Tech Director – Justin Nestor
Actors featured in Photos
Photographer – Cinthia Chen