REVIVAL was originally conceived in the spring of 2020, before the world shut down, as an intimate chamber opera about queer love called ANTIOCH MASS. The show never happened, and when the Shed suggested we do it in June 2021, Covid restrictions meant we would be in their massive glass-walled space facing Hudson Yards rather than the small theater we had originally been assigned. It was clear that ANTIOCH MASS could not happen there, and so the piece became something very different: a stirring one-night-only ritual for personal and collective liberation with a full community choir, with the structure modelled on that of a church revival. Some of the songs from ANTIOCH ended up in the show and some did not, and some new songs were written specifically for the new piece.
The show is rare because it elevates community in a time of strife and division. It is designed to meet people in their sorrow and offer a path to joy and collective celebration. Toward the end of the service, singers, choir and audience come together to speak the words of Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” This mantra is, essentially, the guiding thesis for the show and one of the reasons it resonates.
REVIVAL was done again at the Shed in June 2022. Photos submitted are from the original 2021 production.
Author and Composer – Troy Anthony
Director – Troy Anthony
Director – Brisa Areli Muñoz
Scene Design – Youshin Chen
Costume Design – Ashton Muñiz
Lighting Design – Daisy Long