Artwork by David Pym
“My skin is a halo
The halo a light
The light is a fever
The fever is mine.”
There is the One Who Has Come from the City to Heal but does not believe in their sickness.
They have arrived at the sanatorium via a horse & buggy and they only intend to stay here, in the mountains, for a few weeks.
“I don’t see myself in sickness,” they say. “I see myself in need of healing. There’s a difference.”
The doctor’s methods are unorthodox. And the other Ones are wild, beastly, beautiful, and alone. But unlike those in the city, they are not diminished by their loneliness.
They are not like anyone that the One Who Has Come from the City to Heal has ever met.
Years pass, a steam locomotive now takes all The Ones to the sanatorium and the mountain resort becomes a site for miracles as all The Ones, in their affliction, transgress and transcend to an order of Living Saints.
Now Saints, all the Ones build a spaceship and travel far from earth to explore the solar system and the physical limits of their bodies, closing in on The One Who is the Great Mass.
Inspired by Thomas Mann’s tuberculosis narrative The Magic Mountain, Simone Weil’s feminist mysticism, and the lives of hermit saints, this musical dance-theater work follows a group of mystics in a sanatorium who, alongside their terminal diagnoses, build a spaceship to explore the outer limits of their physical bodies and the solar system. The performance meditates upon and celebrates the power of the fragile & afflicted body, and the multiplicity & fluidity of identity.
Playwright statement: T.B. SHEETS is a celebration of the transcendence of the individual when supported by a community. There is also an implicit and important message for me in this work: that the sick body is a body in protest and, especially at time when so many bodies are the continued target of so much prejudice and violence, I see this work as calling to arms for radical care and empathy. As the characters transition throughout the piece, defining their pronouns through their action and intentions, they canonize themselves in an act of profound empowerment toward a secular sainthood. I want to bestow this secular sainthood upon all those who participate in the performance.
Featuring the prism-like narrative complexity that audiences have come to know from Buran Theatre, this production premiered from May 12-27 at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatresproduced by Katy Einerson and co-produced and presented by Flint & Tinder, The Tank’s curated flagship theater program. Other collaborators included choreographer lisa nevada, music & sound by Broken Chord, scenic designer Nicholas Kostner, light/video designer Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, costume designer Baille Younkman, and performers Brady Blevins, Maybe Burke, Danny Brave, Nehessaiu deGannes, Yuki Kawahisa, Daniel Nelson, Colleen O’Neill, Lori Parquet, Tina Shepard, and Moira Stone.
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**November 13 @ Bruce Mitchell Room @ A.R.T./NY featuring Brady Blevins, NicHi Douglas, Kate Garfield, Karen Kandel, Yuki Kawahisa, Colleen O’Neill, Lori Parquet, Martina Potratz, Tina Shepard, Moira Stone, and Marisa Lark Wallin.
**June 26 @ Dixon Place featuring Matthew Bovee, Winsome Brown, Zoe Geltman, Robert Honeywell, Donna Jewell, Yuki Kawahisa, Jud Knudsen, Sarah Matusek, Tina Shepard, and Moira Stone.
**April 10, 2016 @ PostHouse Dance, Los Angeles, CA / 6pm featuring Sasha Ali, Megan Branch, Lara Thomas Ducey, Steve Ducey, Michelle Flanagan, Lisa Maley, Johanna Middleton, Josh Meyer, Anna Quirino-Miranda, and Darcy Shean.
**March 5, 2016 @ Tricklock Performance Lab, Albuquerque, NM / 4pm featuring Erin Phillips, Barbara Geary, lisa nevada, Donna Jewell, Elsa Menendez, Rhiannon Frazier, Katie Farmin, Juli Hendren, Frank Green, and Alex Knight.
**October 12, 2015 @ Little Theatre (Dixon Place), NYC / 7:30pm featuring Kristine Haruna Lee, Lindsley Howard, Sarah Matusek, Isabella Sazak, and Tina Shepard.
**July 18th, 2015 @ Momenta Art, Brooklyn / 3pm featuring Breanna Barbara (music), Lindsley Howard, Olivia Jampol, Katey Parker, Isabella Sazak, and Tina Shepard
Support for this project has been provided by the Mental Insight Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The Tobin Fund for Theatre Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Nancy Quinn Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, The Puffin Foundation, The Dramatist Guild Fund, and individual donors.