Some days are good days. Others, not so much.

It can be difficult to articulate what survivorship or victimhood or casualty is like in the moments when all defenses have vanished and you’re completely and utterly open to the reality of what’s happened to you. It’s more than a little terrifying to come to grips with who you are now that you’re [trying to be] on the other side of the ordeal. And sometimes, when you break, it’s a desperate clinging to life. It’s sobbing and clawing at the person next to you or it’s going for a run or it’s picking up the phone and calling your mom or your friend or your mentor because you have to talk to someone.

And sometimes, when you break, it’s a letting go. It’s separating yourself from yourself and allowing life to happen to you. It’s dissociating and not entirely feeling like you need to get back to normal anytime soon. It’s wondering what happens when you stop fighting. And that’s what this piece is about.

Notes to the performers (the abridged version—more detail is in the score itself):

Take What You Want should be cathartic for the performers and extremely, intensely uncomfortable for the audience. Ultimately, the goal is to go forth and make people cry. (Please put a trigger warning on every program involving this piece; we don’t want to retraumatize others fighting the good fight.) Staging and presentation are purposely left alone. Performers should be wherever they see fit. (Be creative with this freedom—at what point in your venue might it be most surprising or unsurprising or crucial for audiences to experience this moment?)

Text in parentheses (is expression text) that can be adhered to or ignored as the performers see fit. My original intention for this piece is to create a push and pull that results in one very loud moment and one very not-loud moment, but alternative interpretations are welcome. Make the story your own. Don’t do it a certain way because you feel like you have to.

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Listen to the world premiere of Take What You Want (Megan DeJarnett and Leila Bishop, voices):

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