written and performed by Heather Harpham
Happiness distills the emotional marathon of caring for a perilously sick child into a lyrical narrative that swerves into ethereal landscapes. Mother, child, and doctors morph into Lana Turner, guiding groups through purgatory, where Gandhi exalts and laments an earth that is excruciatingly beautiful as it is inexplicably cruel. Teetering on the razor thin edge between pathos and humor, Happiness finds absurdity and redemption in the smallest details: a nurse’s soft hands; a child’s re-fashioning of medical tubes into puppets; a late-night ambulance ride on worn tires. Happiness considers the body as social object, medical subject, commercial commodity, and spiritual artifact. The piece explores the euphoria and fear that we face as physical beings both fragile and resilient. Ultimately, Happiness leads us from the delicate, ailing baby in the incubator to a young girl merrily dancing an Irish jig.
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