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, namely:
- The primary source materials are from our Queer Elders
- These stories celebrate folks often left out of the normative narrative around HIV (highlighting trans* folks, women, people of color, and folks living in Pittsburgh and New Orleans)
- Designed and created by an all Trans* and Queer team
- The subject matter focus of these stories is Care-Work, which is often undervalued.
- The work operates in an intergenerational mode that connects past to present and present to future.
DANCEFLOOR’s media design extends these RARE elements of the production by doing everything in real-time onstage. The image collages are all created with document cameras capturing actual archival materials arranged by the performers that visualize the auditory stories played-back, lip-synced, and shared throughout the night. The live cameras employed by the performers create a heightened sense of intimacy as we get to be close to the faces and bodies of performers in a way that is RARE for the stage. The technologies used bring together past and present by blending cameras and TVs from the 1980s with real-time shader effects that react and respond to every movement.
All of these live elements of the media design allow audiences to focus towards a choreographed witnessing of the act of listening that forefront stories of care as a mediated, intergenerational bridge of meaning-making. The increasingly layered images of body and ephemera take the RARE approach of both calling to the specificity and vastness of the archives of queer care that stretch across pandemics, places, and people.
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