A young woman walks to her car after a late-night study session. A girl stands in the front row at a concert. A man catches up with an old friend. Four women are separated after arriving at a party. In each of these situations, something goes wrong. Each of these people falls prey to the same tragedy that strikes one in five college-age women, and each one must choose how to deal with the fallout and public opinion about their sexual assault.
Almost everyone is affected by sexual assault and rape culture, whether they themselves have been assaulted or they just continue to pass on the same well-intentioned but poorly formulated “advice.” Many of us live in the space in between, aware of the issue but not bothering to consider the nuances. Letters from the Aftermath is my adventure into the moments in an assault victim’s life that the media and the world would rather ignore. Whose responsibility should it be to prevent assault? How does that conflict with what we hear and say today?
Ultimately, Letters will act as an intermediary, a collection of musical works for various ensembles that are open to interdisciplinary collaboration (particularly with actors and dancers) but also can be presented as standalone pieces. Each installment is story-driven, emphasizing the need for more voices in the conversation about sexual assault. Letters will immerse concertgoers in a victim’s/survivor’s/casualty’s world, drawing the audience in but requesting that they kindly leave their traditions at the door.
Just remember, with assault, there’s only one rule….
Pulling the pieces together:
Coming soon: Stealing My Own Identity – narrator and fixed media
Take What You Want, 2018 – three narrators with sad stories
He Probably Just Likes You, 2017 – ten jazz musicians and narrator
Don’t Tell, 2016 – fixed media
Watch Don’t Tell featuring original choreography by Megan Holehan here:
Listen to He Probably Just Likes You as performed by the Nash Composers’ Coalition here: