Organizing for health and justice through performance and community collaboration.

Flipping Cancer. -- In Oakland -- With InterPlay and Breast Cancer Action

Added on by Marie Garlock.

What gifts! This community of embodied inquirers, action makers, world-rumble-shakers has welcomed in the Flipping Cancer. project with such verve, generosity, and commitment, for its "residency" at InterPlayce and public showing -- as supported by, and dedicated to, community from NC and across the nation, people impacted by cancer in profound ways.

Through the InterPlay community, Breast Cancer Action, and a network of friend connections in the larger Bay Area (!), I've received the chance to really delve into the soul of this project. While taking more risks in the piece itself, I was also honored to invite people willing to take their own risks as audience members to be a more integrated part of this piece. This was a dream, as the project itself is about highlighting the ways we each (can) become activated to enliven and participate in vital movements for health justice in our world today.  

So grateful to put on their feet the spots of conceptual re-framing UNC Director/mentor Joseph Megel and I tried out before traveling with Flipping Cancer. to Oakland, CA. So limitlessly thankful for the constructive, rigorous, willing community generated through the Millennial Arts + Social Change program that helped this NEW iteration of Flipping Cancer. come to life, and the mentors and colleagues who gave me the BEST feedback afterward about how to shape it from here. (per InterPlay body wisdom, I accepted the exhilarating and nerve-wracking invitation to be brave, and try out a few never-done-before elements in the show. Some went really well and will be kept, some I now know I can release to the winds! "Get on, Get off, Get over it!" goes the InterPlay adage about structured improvisation and performative play).

 

Rev. Stacy Grove, joining from NC, with the love and donations of our community and supporters, offered healing soundscapes to the entire audience. (Rehearsing with Stacy in the Redwoods over the weekend -- what beauty!). To collaborate with my mentor friend Stacy is such an honor -- including now traveling the span of the nation for the Flipping Cancer. performance installation. This project itself is so inspired by the modalities Stacy and leaders like her share with people who face cancers, including many whose interviews/oral histories show up in the piece (Stacy is an Interfaith Chaplain, sound musician, a minister and spiritual director who works with people otherwise isolated and in pain who deal with chronic illness as patients, and as family members and caregivers). I am reminded of the profound teachings of Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, whose Art and Social Justice Repertory at the ADF school (now so many years ago, 2008!) encouraged all students to incorporate a commitment to social justice into absolutely every level of our art making -- from the philosophy of the collaborators we choose to the places we source our costumes/materials. This is why it's vital to have Stacy on board. Her commitment aligns so powerfully with the Flipping Cancer. project: to shift cancer from the cellular to the clinical to the community level, and back again.

 

...Did I mention that Breast Cancer Action (hero!) leader Sahru Keiser was the respondent after the piece? She brought excellent materials (pins, action items, volunteer and activism opportunities to shift the status quo of breast cancer in the US and transnationally). Even an audience of troopers (out late on a Monday night) was so glad to receive them, and to engage in one vital angle of discussion the Flipping Cancer. project opens -- our conflicted and often contradictory relationship to Breast Cancer "Pink Ribbon" campaigns.

 

Wondrous discussion with artist-mentors Cynthia Winton-Henry and Phil Porter and Soyinka Rahim ensued in the week following the piece, as well as with colleagues Marie Bryce, Rebecca Amery, and a cutting-splicing session with Boston artist-extraordinaire Jason Jedruzciak. {{{...thank you for shaping where the project goes from here! }}}