BRINK (working title)

Saturday, May 18th, 2024, 5:15-10:30pm
Grace & St. Paul’s Church, 123 west 71st Street, New York City
(16 live performances, Film Showing & Panel Discussion)
BRINK (working title) will be performed at the top of Act I, approx 5:30 pm, right after the opening ceremony at 5:15 pm
For schedule of performances and tickets click HERE

BRINK (working title)
Nonn’ erubescite, reges? from Oedipus Rex by Igor Stravinsky, libretto Jean Cocteau
L’Énigme Éternelle from Deux Mélodies Hébraïques by Maurice Ravel
Paysage from Poèmes pour Mí by Olivier Messiaen

Judith Barnes, director, mezzo soprano
Irena Romendik, co-director, video artist, performer
Dmitriy Glivinskiy, piano
A production of Vertical Player Repertory

Director’s note: BRINK (working title) is a continuation of WOMEN OF SALT AND LONGING*, a telling through music and movement of the story of Lot’s Wife, who, immured in regret for her lost home, was turned into a pillar of salt. The theme of exile has affected me more directly than I anticipated when I first began work on this piece in 2018. Originally created as a response to the refugee crisis and displacement caused by war and climate change, the piece has taken on an even more personal meaning for me. Two years ago, I fell through the open beams of the floor of my own building in a construction accident, and consequently lost my home and artistic studio of 40 years. I had been shooting some footage for WOMEN OF SALT on some open beams a few weeks before my fall. I find those images disquieting because they predict what happened to me when I fell just a few weeks later. Now I am wondering about the idea of fate and how it pulls us on even when we refuse to see it.

In BRINK (working title), I will be singing Jocasta’s aria from Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, and a song by Ravel called L’Énigme Éternelle. I will be collaborating again with Irena Romendik, who will be creating visuals as well as joining me on stage, and pianist Dmitriy Glivinskiy, who has performed on numerous VPR productions in the past.

In Oedipus Rex, Queen Jocasta refuses to believe the warning of the Oracle: her own son is destined to kill his father, King Laius, and become her husband. She has done everything in her power to escape that prophecy, including exposing her newborn son on the mountainside to die. But he survives, and unknowingly he returns to his birthplace years later to fulfill the dreadful augury.

In L’Énigme Éternelle, a song on an anonymous Yiddish text, the World asks the ancient question, and the World answers. And when there is no answer, the answer is still the same: tra la, tra la la la la. Perhaps there really is no other answer?

In Paysage (Landscape), the lake gleams like a big blue jewel, far off in the distance. The road is rutted, the way is hard, my feet hesitate in the dust. But I see the beloved, green and blue like the landscape, shining in the sun. She smiles, her hand over her eyes. And the lake gleams like a big blue jewel.



*WOMEN OF SALT AND LONGING was first produced in 2018 as part of the LEIMAY SOAK Festival