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ABOUT THE WORK
In Which _______ and Others Discover the End originally was a collaboration between performance collective SuperGroup and experimental playwright Rachel Jendrzejewski, together with installation artist Liz Miller; art rock band Brute Heart; performers Angharad Davies, Hannah Kramer, and Stephanie Stoumbelis; and process correspondent Hannah Geil-Neufeld. It premiered at Public Functionary in Minneapolis from March 7-April 7, 2015.
In July 2018 a new version of the script, with a foreword by Lara Nielsen plus illustrations and several music scores, was published by Plays Inverse.
Emerging from a densely layered collaboration between performers, audience, visual environment, and sound, In Which _______ and Others Discover the End grapples with the current generation’s collective, unconscious anxiety that the world may in the foreseeable future be uninhabitable for humans. Taking inspiration from scientific discoveries (the identification of a new knee ligament, a new class of mathematical shape, the previously unknown mating spot of the blue whale) that are continually updating what we think we know, In Which asks us to acknowledge that we live in a world of uncertainty through an expansive rumination on the ways we embody polarity, mystery, mortality, discovery, and change.
“Rachel Jendrzejewski & SuperGroup have the very difficult task of ‘trying to tell a story with no chance of success’—that of the Earth’s future and our own. In a story in which we may too easily succumb to helplessness or fear, this play takes a compassionate approach that examines our discomfort and calls us into ‘running and jumping and recognizing each other.’ Through dance, music, visual art, and a participatory audience, the performers seek to bring us back into conversation with our body, with other bodies, with the body of the Earth. A physical score for movement guides each potential iteration of this performance to allow for mourning, for embarrassment and admission, for growth. The piece is a celebration of our togetherness, an acknowledgment of all we do not know. Why even call it a performance? This is an act of living. ‘You can take a minute to tune in. Listen.’ And you should. Just long enough to awaken your body, awaken your voice.”
-Abigail Zimmer, poet & author of girls their tongues
“This visionary, exemplary book feels like the lovechild of Caryl Churchill and Deborah Hay. A document that is at once a dance, a play, an epic poem and a graphic novel, it provides a new way of thinking through performance at the beginning of the end of the world.”
-Miguel Gutierrez, choreographer & author of When You Rise Up
“Words and image hover in a suspense of whimsy and joy, with the understanding that whimsy is also a form of mortal anxiety and theodicy is joy’s visa. The printed event is spacious, generous, and playful—also beautifully instrumental in the ways it is framed and illuminated. One smells the Flapjacks of Creativity in the traces here of process: love, compassion and fellowship reading clearly. A process of making comes alive and provokes more making in responsive ripples.
Politically, the piece is clear eyed about rut peel parches and the squandering ooze, while ultimately praising the glory of dappled things in their dappling, dappling, dappling. Esthetically, here is smart, electric instress, recalling a strong inscape and calling for new.
1. The document is a lake’s capture of a leaf on its tension, and the delicate tremors radiant therefrom.
2. It is all highly personal.
3. There are ligaments.”
– Erik Ehn, playwright & author of The Saint Plays
This project was made possible by the Jerome Foundation, Brunsfield North Loop, 60+ individual donors, and the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Image – Erin Search-Wells and Angharad Davis in IN WHICH _______ AND OTHERS DISCOVER THE END (photo by Theo Goodell)