I’ve been writing and making music about sexual assault and rape culture for over two years, and despite my fears that it would be a lonely, angry road, the journey has brought me to new friends, collaborators, and fellow performers across the US. women’s work (collective mend) began similarly: I was asked to join the Arizona Women’s Collaborative to help craft a concert entirely by women, from the text to the music to the performance, and as we began the creative process, I was fortunate to be placed with Felicia Zamora and Emily Cottam. These fantastic women have been amazing collaborative partners, and together we’ve crafted a work that doesn’t talk so much about being hurt but instead explores how we move through life as individuals and as a collective.
Once I had Felicia’s words in hand, I realized I wanted to craft something that’s performable by a singer who doesn’t have other performers at hand, something that would facilitate a performance that is inherently theatrical as well as musical, and something that flows more like a stream of consciousness rather than a strictly-defined, confident statement—because so much of this life as a survivor or a victim or a casualty is typing something and revising it over and over and over because once you start speaking for your community of survivors and victims and casualties the world expects that you say the exact right thing the first time you pipe up. I drew inspiration from Bernstein’s MASS, particularly Fraction: Things Get Broken, not only because I was working from the standpoint of someonewho might at times feel broken but because it plays with emphasis and perceived meter in a way I really enjoy.
[Performance notes available in the full score.]
I’m giving this piece away for free. Email me to pick up your copy.
Watch Emily Cottam give the world premiere of women’s work (collective mend) here: