ONE WORD MORE... is an experimental adaptation of Shakesepare’s The Tempest that reimagines the relationship between Prospero and Sycorax by examining the historical silencing of women’s voices and the dynamics of isolation, communication, and power. Through a partnership with the N Street Village, this piece asks us to consider and bear witness to silenced voices in our own community in Washington, DC.
One Word More is a visually evocative show about power and unheard voices. Between 2014 and 2015, the production underwent development with support from The Shakespeare Theatre Company and received rehearsal support from Synetic Theatre and The Catholic University of America. This piece had a 30-minute workshop production as a “Happenings at the Harman” presentation under the auspices of the Shakespeare Theater Company on December 3, 2014, which had a standing room only audience. More importantly, most community members in attendance stayed for a productive dialogue after the show. In 2016, One Word More was accepted as part of CulturalDC's Mead Theatre Lab program and was performed as an expanded full production from April 8-30, 2016 in downtown Washington DC.
Stylistically, One Word More is what the teams calls poetic physical theatre rooted in the symbolist tradition. Symbolist theatre focuses on the sequencing of scenes to create mood and evoke myth rather than relying on plot. Poetic language and structure are used to sequence scenes to emphasize the way language structures meaning and, in effect, creates the world. These are the ideas we're excited about pursuing with this process. We're looking for ways in which the theatre-making process can place equal value on both verbal text and physical text. We're looking for assumptions we make as artists and as citizens about the systems within which we operate. We're looking for new ways of making meaning.
An additional aspect of this project involves radical community partnerships and integration. The team developed an active partnership with the N Street Village, a community of empowerment and recovery for women. The partnership entailed three levels of engagement: 1. Annalisa Dias offered physical theatre and movement education classes during February and March of 2016 to women in the N Street Village community; 2. Women who participated in the classes were offered reduced rate tickets to the show; and 3. We hosted dialogues about the silencing and erasure of women's voices after each performance. This partnership created accessible arts programs for historically underserved populations and connected members of the DC community who may not otherwise inhabit the same shared space.