Death Becomes Her

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We had the honor of performing this piece twice this year, once in London with collaborators visual artist, Fiona Fouhy & fashion designer, Ariel Moreton, in St. Barnabus Church, Dalston, and once in Raleigh, NC with collaborators dancer/choreographer Marie Garlock & clothier Gabrielle Duggan in the Contemporary Art Museum.  

In London we were in a venue, and before an audience that looked like this:Image

Our Artists’ Statement read like this:

This evening’s performance is fashioned from a collection of texts from English poet Thomas Hardy, perhaps better known for his fiction than his poetry.

This particular set of texts are thematically arranged around actions of grieving. We live in an age where grief pursues us but we flee it. In tonight’s performance we have attempted to turn the tides on grief and to give it an embodiment in this haunting space.

A life truly lived is a life that considers the reality of death in every shadow. Yet we do not believe that death has any last words for us.

The artists involved in this performance have collaborated across the Atlantic over a four-month period. We sent the text and parameters of performance to Fiona Fouhy and Ariel Moreton. They read and meditated on the poems, and we dialogued about meaning in action. They prepared the space and the clothing. We arrived on Monday and throughout the week have prepared the object interactions that you will experience now.

We invite you to relax, enjoy the sounds in this room, rest in the stillness, read the words printed here and wait with us.

Thank you for sharing this space with us tonight.

Pj Maske & Bruce Benedict Urban Garden Performing Arts 

In Raleigh on September 13th, we performed as part of SparkCon.  We re-worked the piece for a new space, and with new collaborators.  This time it looked like this:

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And our Artists’ Statement read like this:

Death Becomes Her is fashioned from a collection of texts from English poet Thomas Hardy, perhaps better known for his fiction than his poetry. 

This particular set of texts are thematically arranged around actions of grieving.  We live in an age where grief pursues us but we flee it.  In tonight’s sharing we attempt to turn the tides on grief and to give it an embodiment.  A life truly lived is a life that considers the reality of death in every shadow. 

Yet we do not believe that death has any last words for us.

This is the third rendition of this work.  Over the past three years it has taken various shapes and forms as it has lived in Indianapolis, across the Atlantic in London and now here in Raleigh.  We are glad to share this time with you and with our dear friend and collaborating performer on this rendition, Marie Garlock.  The poems are printed here in full.  We invite you to relax, listen and read along or watch at your leisure.

Pj Maske & Bruce Benedict, Urban Garden Performing Arts

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This piece, in all its shapes, is particularly dear to us.  We would always be happy to do it again, as the appropriate conditions arise, ie. collaborating partner(s), venue, audience.  If you want to learn more about it, host it, or share in it as an artist of any kind, please email us at urbangardenpa@gmail.com.

We will be thrilled to hear from you… far more thrilled than this photo makes us appear.  

love,

Pj & B

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