Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

TOUCH to be Presented by Blessed Unrest as Part of NYC Open Culture Program

TOUCH is a movement-based work, developed collaboratively with the Blessed Unrest ensemble in the midst of pandemic isolation.

TOUCH to be Presented by Blessed Unrest as Part of NYC Open Culture Program

Blessed Unrest will present a new, live, movement-based performance TOUCH, a post pandemic meditation on skin hunger and a longing to connect. Inspired by our growing understanding of the function of mirror neurons and driven by the need to provide a refuge from the isolation and fear of the past year, the piece invites its audience to partake in the warmth of creative intimacy, with the safety of distance. TOUCH will be performed outdoors from May 1 to 9, 2021, as part of the NYC Open Culture Program at East 26th Street (between 5th and Madison, just north of Madison Square Park; subway R/W to 23rd St. and 6 to 28th St.) Space is extremely limited and reservations are highly recommended. Tickets (suggested donation $25) can be purchased by emailing info@blessedunrest.org with patron's name, desired show date and time, and number of tickets requested. More information at http://blessedunrest.org/.

TOUCH is a movement-based work, developed collaboratively with the Blessed Unrest ensemble in the midst of pandemic isolation. It began with cast members writing their personal experiences about this nebulous sense. The award-winning writers (American Moor's Keith Hamilton Cobb and Teddy Jefferson, known for his short stories collection One Inch Leather) edited the original essays and improved their dramaturgy, transforming individual stories into a poetic script focused on voices discussing need for touch and connection. The audio material was then handed over to the longtime company collaborator, composer and sound designer Adrian Bridges who developed a rich tapestry of music and pre-recorded speech that creates a soundtrack which will guide the actors in their kinetic journey across the open city space. The resulting piece, weaving together text, music, and movement, is an invitation to connect while preserving the necessary social distance. Presented as part of the NYC Open Culture program, TOUCH strives to awaken the audience's senses as they follow the performers through fractured journeys of forbidden touch set against the beautiful canopy of Madison Square Park.

"When we finished working on our critically-acclaimed 2015 show Body: Anatomies of Being, which was also built around personal testimonials from the performers, we felt strongly that the idea of touch hadn't been explored fully in the final work," says director Jessica Burr. "It seemed particularly fitting to revisit this subject now, as the months of detachment and related touch deprivation began to take a toll on all of us. When workshopping this piece remotely, each in our own isolated bubble, we spoke about research on mirror neurons and the emotional brain. That research suggests that our witnessing of the authentic corporeal experiences of others can stimulate the very same visceral response in our own brains, as though the experience were ours. It's the forging of literal compassion through neural growth in our audiences. This became a guiding idea behind TOUCH which hopes to allow its audiences to feel touched by the performers moving through this gorgeous NYC city space, as springtime begins to awaken all of our senses," she further explains.

TOUCH was created based on essays written by the cast members and is performed by Michael Gene Jacobs, Tatyana Kot, Ariel Polanco, and Anna Wulfekuhle, with final text adapted and edited by Keith Hamilton Cobb and Teddy Jefferson. The piece is directed by Jessica Burr and features composition, arrangement, and sound design by Adrian Bridges and costume design by Sohn Plenefisch.


Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch

Related Articles View More Off-Broadway Stories

More Hot Stories For You