Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Spectrum Responds To Pulse Nightclub Tragedy with (IM)PULSE

Spectrum Dance Theater closes out its progressive 2017 Season with a highly anticipated World Premiere titled (IM)PULSE, a two-part dance theater work that explores acts of violence perpetrated against the LGBTQ community in American society and how the minds of those attacked often respond in unexpected ways.

(IM)PULSE plays Seattle Rep's Leo K. Theatre from June 15-July 2, 2017 - tickets are on sale now and information is available at (Please note all ticketing is managed through the Seattle Repertory Theatre box office and the Spectrum website will redirect to

(IM)PULSE is a response not only to the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub tragedy that left 49 people dead and dozens injured, but also to the on-going aggression towards the LGBTQ community. Utilizing a visceral protest-art performance style popularized in the 1990's New York 'downtown' art scene, (IM)PULSE incorporates the text of gay artists David Wojnarowicz, a painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist, and playwright Brian Quirk (2010 winner of The Robert Chesley Award) to bring unique life to the social issues connected to this community.

With (IM)PULSE, critically acclaimed director and choreographer Donald Byrd delves deeper into what he calls a 'theater of disruption' -- artistic work that uses dance, text, fiction, music, mise-en-scène, sound, voice, documentary/facts/information, media, and speculation to engage audiences in issues that are difficult and intractable; and most importantly to move closer to disrupting the artificial and often arbitrary boundaries between dance and theater. "With (IM)PULSE we wonder at the human inclination to create alternate realities when faced with truths that are too difficult to bear,"

Byrd states "By dissecting, parsing, reconfiguring these texts, and then combining them with dance, movement, music, video, and projection to create the hallucinogenic and feverish mind of a physically traumatized person(s), we ask the audience to consider why we might have the inclination to cast those not like ourselves in the role of 'the other' and then to annihilate them." The text for (IM)PULSE is drawn from two sources, the writing of painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist, and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz (September 14, 1954 -- July 22, 1992) and the unpublished play Marrow by award-winning contemporary playwright, Brian Quirk.

Borrowing from late 1980's and early 1990's New York performance idioms in dance and theater, this work hopes to reveal through historical antecedents a connection to the current spate of violence directed at LGBTQ people. "This period of time was the peak of the AIDS epidemic when gay people were angry and fearful; when AIDS and it devastation was felt daily, and when most Americans seemed indifferent to what was happening to gay people or believed AIDS to be God's punishment for the gay life-style," Byrd comments. "Just as ACT-UP [AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power] responded to the AIDS crisis with highly theatricalized vocal demonstrations and dramatic acts of civil disobedience, performers will respond with a highly personal monologist genre and performance style characterized by rants, raging, and confession which the production will model."

(IM)PULSE features performances from actor Craig MacArthur as well as the Spectrum Dance Company: Alex Crozier, Alexander Pham, Andrew Pontius, Blair Jolly Elliot, Emily Pihlajah, Fausto Rivera, Jaclyn Wheatley, Lena Silverman, Madison Oliver, Mary Sigward, Nia-Amina Minor, Paul Giarratano, RoBert Moore, and Sherman D. Wood. ABOUT Donald Byrd Donald Byrd, the enfant terrible of the New York dance scene of the 1980s and 90s, achieved international visibility for the creation of the The Harlem Nutcracker. Byrd is aBessie Award winner for The Minstrel Show and was nominated for a Tony Award for his choreography for the Broadway production of The Color Purple. Byrd's body of work is varied and impressive, spanning more than four decades, pushing the boundaries of movement and message. The work may be purely an aesthetic experience or it may wrap itself around a compelling civic issue, encouraging a community to examine ideas and attitudes that it may impact. ABOUT CRAIG MACARTHUR Roles include Thomas Magill in Misterman; Ken in Red; Judas in The last Days of Judas Iscariot; Trevor in The Submission at the Olney Theatre Center. His NYC stage debut was in The Northern Kingdom, which was written by Nancy Fales Garret and directed by Dorthy Lyman. Craig has taught voice in the MFA/BFA Acting program at Rutgers, AMDA and is currently on faculty at HB Studio. MFA in Acting Rutgers University.

For more information, call: (206) 443-2222 or toll-free at (877) 900-9285, or go online at
Spectrum Responds To Pulse Nightclub Tragedy with (IM)PULSE

Related Articles View More Seattle Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You