"There are notes between notes, you know."

Sarah Vaughan

The Script

A series of blues stories set on a river boat, with juking women, queers, deviants and Seers, River See is the prayer before the first Great African American Migration (1910). Experienced through the heart of, SEE, a young woman-in-training, we journey through a world where the living-the dead-the unborn/the past-the present-the future co-exist. Lil NayNay, Grandma-Aunt Porkchopps, Big Suzi, Mr. Goodies, Mrs. Shine, Ms. Ada and she ole ass dog Lil Lady shepherd the way. With rowdy spirit guides and loving elders, SEE grows into her calling as the answered prayer, as she is prepared to be sent to the North.

SEE tells the story; all the text in the script is her. The Composer roots the experience.Everyone present is responsible for the Journey.

Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora Spring General Issue 43.1

Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora
Spring General Issue 43.1

The ENTIRE River See Theatrical Jazz performance script is featured in
Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora
Spring General Issue 43.1

“I am deliciously crazed, and obsessed with creating living arrangements of text as jazz.  With my script as the score/an ensemble/and the audience - I Compose Ritual/Jazz Theatre – improvisationally/Live during performance.”

Sharon Bridgforth

In this video, Sharon goes over gestures (Composition Language) right before a show during the premiere of "The River See Theatrical Jazz Performance Installation" at Links Hall in Chicago (June 2014).

Sharon, the Composer, uses gestural language to communicate requests to the cast and the audience/to create a moving soundscape that supports SEE in her journey. The work is activated as jazz through this improvisational composition process that happens live during performance.

We are based in the West Coast, the East Coast and the Mid-West. We come together to join your community…to play.

Our company of artists - their essence, artistic expertise, life experiences, impulses, willingness to play/to experiment - sets the Journey on its course.

At the top of the show the Composer invites the audience to be witness/participants-to...

...offer their attention with intention in support of SEE’s journey, to gesture any time they feel moved to. Additionally the Composer asks the audience:

Who feels like translating text?

Who feels like gossiping?

Who feels like Offering Light?

Audience/volunteers are accordingly given SEE’s CARDS which contain bits of SEE’s story. The Composer practices gestural communication with the audience.

 

The show begins.

 

“My real job in this piece is to be centered in not knowing.  To listen with my essence, surrender and respond to what wants to happen.” 

Sharon Bridgforth