Jennifer Gibbs

Theater is ritual; it can explode order, provoke insight, propose new synthesis and provide transcendence.  To expand and intensify the experience my work offers, I build pieces through a process of long-term collaboration with artists across disciplines.  I strive to make risky work that is rich yet accessible.

Spoken word can function as music.  I discover a new stage world by riffing off found sounds to find a unique rhythm.  I think in collage.  Writing lyrics for SOUNDING is challenging new territory.  It’s been exciting to channel my textual inclination toward music into songs.  Audiences are open to more poetry when delivered as music.  Collaborating with Kristin, Maya and Kamala on SOUNDING has allowed me to work in a way I’ve long dreamed.

SOUNDING’s long-term, cross-media genesis is typical of my process.  In 1997, I involved actors and a composer in a yearlong exploration of LADY FROM THE SEA.  Several years ago I wrote a film inspired by that experience: THE STRANGER.  This film, in turn, inspired Kristin to suggest we create our new stage piece.

SOUNDING’s journey of mourning and release is deeply personal.  I am the mother of a stillborn child.  Our current social attitudes turn grief into pathology: an illness to be corrected.  It has been almost a century since we lived in a world where the state of mourning (outside the funeral) was accepted, rather than seen as a distasteful excess best not inflicted upon others.  The presence of death – so fundamental to what makes us human – has become somehow forbidden.  My perspective informs SOUNDING’s challenge of our culture of grief-denial.  This project became what it is because of what I went through while writing.

Kristin Marting

I make theatre because it forges community. In community, we examine our shared assumptions and find new meaning. In a culture where people feel both isolated and over-stimulated, this means a lot. I seek to create immediate, substantive work that combats today’s streaming culture. Inspired by Ibsen’s great characters and Jennifer’s original text, SOUNDING gives me the ammunition I need to viscerally engage our contemporary audience.

In my earliest work in the 80’s, I incorporated dance and theatre with live music. Since then, that joining has extended into an interest in erasing the boundaries in all aspects of live performance. I work in a collaborative, process-driven way to fuse different disciplines into a cohesive whole. I use cross-disciplinary live performance to seduce media-saturated audiences back to live art. SOUNDING is exciting to me because it relies heavily on image and music to reveal character and express narrative.

Over the last 5 years, I have been working on warming up media by more deeply integrating it. This requires what we have for SOUNDING: a group of talented and open-minded collaborators committed to a long-term development process, who allow a range of dramaturgical options to be explored in order to uncover the most emotionally effective solutions.

At the core of my work is risk-taking, both in form and content. My work is constantly evolving as I use what I have discovered on past projects to help me tackle the challenges in new ones. The challenge of fusing Jennifer’s dialogue, Ibsen-inspired characters, video images, and Kamala’s music into a dynamic cohesive whole is thrilling to me because of the risk and opportunity that it offers. As always, I am eager to take that leap.


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