On July 22nd, American artist Samantha Shay premiered an original performance called OF LIGHT at Tjarnarbio Theatre in Reykjavik.
The project was developed over several workshops in Iceland. The extremities of the quality of light in the country sent her on a personal exploration of light and dark as representations of personal initiation, and how human beings are light bearers.
Coincidentally, Shay created the piece based around a poem by Danielle Vogel, called A Library of Light, which was written on the cliffs of Arnarstapi around the same time.
Celebrated performance artist Marina Abramovic was drawn to Shay’s ideas for this project. This mentorship deepened Shay’s process, and the piece evolved from conventional devised theatre to a durational incantation of celestial rhythm, performed almost entirely in darkness, enveloping the audience in sound from all sides; creating Shay’s riskiest and aesthetically unprecedented offering in her young career.
Teaming up with musicians KÁRYYN, who composed original choral and electronic pieces, Paul Evans, who helms Sound Engineering and Sound Design, and Nini Julia Bang, who incorprorates and performs traditional music originating from Kurdistan, Georgia, and Sardinia, Shay has made sound the connective tissue of the piece, rearranging and challenging the value system of our kinaesthetic awareness in live performance. The piece also includes musical performances from Bedroom Community artist Jodie Landau, and New York based actor and vocalist Emily Jackson.
The piece is presented through Samantha Shay’s international artist collective, Source Material, which she founded in 2014.
Source Material has presented three pieces, garnering several awards and rave reviews in the US. 2016 will mark Source Material’s biggest year yet, premiering OF Light in Iceland, as well as A Thousand Tongues, which is co-produced by the Grotowski Institute.
Director: Samantha Shay
Original Music by KÁRYYN
Scenic Design: Vincent Richards
Lighting Design: Alexander Freer
Sound Engineering: Paul Evans
Traditional song transmission: Nini Julia Bang
Performed by Samantha Shay, KÁRYYN, Emily Jackson, Jodie Landau, Suzanne Sterling, and Nini Julia Bang.
Assistant Director: Suzanne Sterling
Production Manager: Chelsea DuVall
Producer: Dagny Berglind Gisladottir
Assistant Producer: Gerri Ravyn Stanfield
Filmed and edited by Victoria Sendra