October 26 | 20.00 h
In her triple Bessie award-winning solo, choreographer and dancer Marjani Forté-Saunders pays tribute to the “unicorns” of her life and her community: formative figures such as father, son and brother, homies, pahtnas and fams. The choreography interweaves memories of her father – his mystical knowledge, his love for science fiction literature and his special ability to create realities – with collective memories and historical fragments. Inspired by writers such as James Baldwin, Octavia Butler and Toni Morrison, a performance about black identity, magic, resilience and political resistance.
Due to current travel restrictions, the performance unfortunately cannot be shown on stage as planned. Instead, Marjani Forté-Saunders and filmmaker and Bessie Award winner Meena Murugesan will offer the Sophiensæle audience a first pre-screening of the film Memoirs of a Unicorn: A Film (in progress, First Cut). This experimental collage of intimate encounters and experiences documents the piece’s three-year journey and at the same time offers an interpretation of the internal processes and dreams that lie at the core of this work and its team.
NOTICE The film screening will be followed by a discussion between Marjani Forté-Saunders, Meena Murugesan and Joy Kristin Kalu on the translation of the live performance into the medium of film and the presentation of vulnerable art in times of pandemic.
MARJANI FORTÉ-SAUNDERS is a Mother, choreographer, performer, and community organizer. She is a 2020 recipient of the Foundation of Contemporary Arts Grants for Artists Award and a 3x Bessie Award winner for Memoirs of a… Unicorn. Marjani collaborates with husband and composer Everett Asis Saunders as 7NMS|. Their new work, PROPHET, exploring the journey of Hip Hop’s infamous Lyricist, will premiere at Abrons Arts Center 2021-22. She defines her work by its lineage stemming from culturally rich, vibrant, historic, loving, irreverent conjurers!
Meena Murugesan is an experimental choreographer, performer, video artist and arts educator. Meena often investigates the ways in which South Asian dance histories intersect with Eurocentric dance histories, and re-choreographs these post-colonial junctions through live performance, multi-media installations, and video art. Since 2014, Meena has been working through issues of Blackness and anti-Blackness in the South Asian diaspora in a three-part series of choreographies. Meena is currently based in Los Angeles and has worked with choreographers taisha paggett, Shyamala Moorty, Sheetal Gandhi, Laurel Tendindo, Emily Beattie, Alison D’Amato and Carol McDowell. Meena is a current member of the transnational Post Natyam Collective, and taisha pagget’s collective WXPT.
Director, Media Designer Meena Murugesan Producer, choreographer, performer Marjani Forté-Saunders Producer, composer, sound designer Everett Saunders Drone, 2nd Camera D. Sabela Grimes Light Design Tuce Yasak STORYTELLING, STAGE DESIGN, CO-DESIGN Richard Forté Set Design Mimi Lien ASSISTANT SET DESIGN Peiyi Wong PRODUCTION MANAGER Santino Lo
CHOREOGRAPHY, PERFORMANCE Marjani Forté-Saunders COMPOSITION, SOUND DESIGN Everett Saunders MEDIA DESIGN Meena Murugesan LIGHT DESIGN Tuce Yasak STORYTELLING, STAGE DESIGN, CO-DESIGN Richard Forté SET DESIGN Mimi Lien, Peiyi Wong PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT Nathan Shreeve
A production by Marjani Forté-Saunders, funded by the PGF-USA Special Projects Grant, the MAP Fund, the Jerome Foundation and the Princess Grace Special Projects Award Commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Extended Life Residency together with New York Live Arts. With friendly support of the (MANCC) in partnership with the Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center Initiative. Media partner: taz. die tageszeitung.