Flyaway Productions to to Premiere MULTIPLE MARY AND INVISIBLE JANE, 9/12-20
The recent recipient of two Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Flyaway Productions has announced the world premiere of Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane, an aerial dance about the experience of older homeless women created by choreographer Jo Kreiter in collaboration with award-winning composer Pamela Z and journalist Rose Aguilar. Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane opens Friday, September 12, 2014 and runs through Saturday, September 20.
Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane offers a riveting portrait of the nature of housing security and how it eludes so many older women in San Francisco. The work aims not only to make visible the invisible "old ladies" who live on the street, but to nurture a connection between them and the available resources -- including women's shelters and family-based SROs -- that the company's community partner, Episcopal Community Services, has to offer.
The site of the performance is located at the edge of the Tenderloin and Civic Center neighborhoods, where the city's extremes of privilege and deprivation crash into each other. UC Hastings College of the Law, an institution that for decades has supported a project focusing on the needs of homeless people terminated from General Assistance Welfare, has generously donated its wall at 333 Golden Gate Avenue to Flyaway's production.
The premiere of Multiple Mary represents the second in a trilogy of large-scale pieces created by Flyaway for performance in the Central Market area of San Francisco. Like Niagara Falling, the first in the series, Multiple Mary focuses on urban poverty. While
Niagara offered a national perspective on the problem, Multiple Mary provides it a distinctly feminist lens.
The piece has its roots in "Old, Female, and Homeless," an article published in The Nation last year by Aguilar. Aguilar reports that the population of older homeless women has grown dramatically in the last 20 years. "It used to be that homeless women over 50 were blessedly rare," she writes. "Today, it's the norm."
With the help of Aguilar and Episcopal Community Services, Kreiter has gathered oral histories from women living on the streets of San Francisco, which she uses as source material in Multiple Mary. In tandem with the show's 12 performances, Flyaway will host a series of "curbside chats," bringing passersby into a conversation about homelessness. Participants in this series include Aguilar, the director of the General Assistance Advocacy Project supported by UC Hastings, as well as the women whose stories are featured in Multiple Mary. The curbside chats will take place in the two weeks leading up to the performances, as well as at post-performance receptions on the street.
"The arts have a unique capacity to raise awareness and build constituencies for social justice issues, and site-specific artworks are especially adept at meeting people where they are," says Kreiter. "At its core, Flyaway's work exposes the range and power of female physicality, and from there, reaches out to communities who are confronted in some way by injustice."
Composer Pamela Z and Kreiter have worked together off and on for nearly 20 years. Z's use of the human voice as an instrument marries perfectly with Kreiter's interest in giving voice to those without. The sound score will integrate the voices and stories of San Francisco's elder homeless women.
Multiple Mary runs for ten evenings, Friday to Saturday, September 12-13, and Thursday to Saturday, September 18 - 20. In addition, two noon performances will take place Wednesday and Thursday, September 17 - 18. All performances are free.
Performers in Multiple Mary form a multi-generational ensemble including Becca Dean,Laura Elaine Ellis, MaryStarr Hope, Erin Mei-Ling Stewart, Alayna Stroud and Esther Wrobel.