This is a ten minute excerpt from the evening length (75 minute) work titled "johnbrown" which premiered at The Kitchen October 16-25, 2014: the 155th anniversary of the radical abolitionist John Brown's raid on the armory at Harper's Ferry.
The single unedited work sample presents three phases of "johnbrown" beginning at the end of the "irregularities" segment performed by Kacie Chang and Dean Moss - incorporating the artist's father narrating past experiences, video clips from rehearsal footage, a 1929 cartoon of Uncle Tom's Cabin, Fritz Lang's "Metropolis", and live imagery; then a short solo for Ms Chang incorporating a picture of herself at 17 - this is followed by a screenplay written by Thomas Bradshaw, with Pete Simpson as John Brown and Okwui Okpokwasili as Frederick Douglass. The video is in turn interrupted by an original song composed and performed by Julia Cumming titled "17".
The sample captures the varied vitality, the quality of timelessness, the contradictory and densely layered perspectives of the full work. What's hard to see in the sample is the constant presence of the teenaged production assistants at the sides and in front of the stage, the way the audience is captured in the mirrors, and the way light is reflected throughout the room.
Cast and Credits (full work)
Direction, Choreography, Audio/Video and Visual Design: Dean Moss
Performers: Kacie Chang, Julia Cumming, Cassie Mey, Sari Nordman,
Asher Woodworth, and Dean Moss
Production Assistants: Raquel Acobes, Ebony Kennedy, Samantha P. Paul,
Maria Perez and Yangzia Vargas
Lighting Design: Vincent Vigilante
Sound Score: Stephen Vitiello
Battle re-enactment recordings: John Dombroski and Stephen Vitiello
Recording assistant, Olivia LeClair
Original Song: Julia Cumming
Carolina Chocolate Drops: Snowden’s Jig (Genuine Negro Jig)
Vincenzo Bellini: La Sonnambula: “Ah, non credea mirati”
Stephen Sondheim: Somewhere
“treaties of peace” dialogue adapted from Scene 2 of the George L. Aiken’s 1858 play adaptation
of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Interview: Harold G. Moss by Dean Moss
Costume Design: Roxana Ramseur with assistance from Stefani Genda
Costume for Julia Cumming by Lisa Loan
Screenplay by Thomas Bradshaw
Performers on video: Tymberly Canale, Aaron Hodges, Okwui Okpokwasili,
and Pete Simpson
Wigs and Make-up Design by Amanda Miller
Video production by Gametophyte Inc.
Video Production Assistance: Alison Broda of Broda Works, LLC
Video shot at BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn
Conceptual Collaborator for “voluntaries”, and Directorial Consultant: Laylah Ali
Historical and Dramaturgical Research: Joshua Lubin-Levy
Production and Stage Management: Meredith Belis