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Eben Joondeph Hoffer – The Dance Floor, the Hospital Room, and the Kitchen Table


    the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table (DANCEFLOOR) stitches together stories from COVID-19 and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Three queer researchers slip between the present and the past, becoming, interacting with, and learning from a chorus of voices from a critical moment in the queer liberation movement. The script draws from over 40 long-form interviews with caretakers, activists, organizers, and long-term survivors. DANCEFLOOR’s entire premise is RARE for many reasons:

    • The primary source materials are from our Queer Elders
    • These stories celebrate folks often left out of the normative narrative around HIV
    • Designed and created by an all Trans* and Queer team
    • Focusing on Care-Work and organizing around care, not just sickness and death

    DANCEFLOOR is about people listening to stories, taking them in, and being changed by them. Because the sound (including these archival interviews) is mostly live and actor-controlled, the performers must choose to press play, to listen, and to hear and be changed during every performance. Each evening is unique, and RARE.

    For much of the piece, the recorded interviews and supporting score are on cassette tapes, which actors play live onstage and amplify with microphones. No two cassettes sound quite the same, timings change, and the possibility of mechanical failure is always present. Occasionally, the music on the tapes sneaks into the full sound system, synchronized by careful live timing. Each tape and each press of “play” is unique, a risk, RARE.

    The climactic act of the show consists of three long interviews with people who lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS or its aftermath. Each actor lip-syncs an interview, totalling nearly twenty minutes of sustained tape, spatialized to come from the actors’ large live-projected faces. During an early lull, a performer sings a verse of “I Will Always Love You” – we sample this audio live and dub it over itself, slowly building echoes and reverberation into a calm ocean of sound, utterly unique to these performers and to each night.

    Production Credits

    The Kelly Strayhorn Theater – Pittsburgh
    The Contemporary Arts Center – New Orleans

    Playwright – Lyam Gabel
    Director – Lyam Gabel
    Composer – Kei Slaughter

    Scene Design – Sasha Schwartz
    Costume Design
    – Jean-Luc Raimond Deladurantaye
    Lighting Design – André Segar
    Sound Design – Eben Hoffer
    Media Design
    – Joseph Amodei

    Stage Manager – Leo Liotta
    Tech Director – Jo Nazro

    Assistant Scene Design – Peyton Koehler
    Assistant Costume Design – Emma Pollet
    Assistant Costume Design – Becca Zhou

    Sound Technician – Travis Wright
    Sound Technician – Steve Gilliand
    Carpenter – Jebney Lewis

    Photographer – Beth Barbis
    Photographer – Mel Cardona
    Photographer – Ryan Hodgson Rigsbee

    Actors featured in Photos

    Hannah Cornish
    Frank Davis
    Owen Ever