It’s summer in Flatbush and the Abellard sisters are in the heat of mourning their father, their neighborhood, and what they thought they knew about their lives. Flames in the forms of desire, longing, and family secrets slowly burn in their mother’s house—where it seems there is no one to cool it—in this play inspired by Federico García Lorca's "The House of Bernarda Alba," with poetic and literary cues from Kamau Braithwaite, Louise Glück, Mary Ruefle, Toni Morrison, and more. An exploration of private and public grief, Bernarda’s Daughters (work-in-progress) asks when, where, what, and whom do we mourn.
For her BRIClab residency, Diane Exavier worked with director Dominique Rider and other collaborators to interrogate where grief resides in our bodies, in our sounds, in the streets we traverse daily. How does grief make survival possible? How do we live with grief in this city that has absorbed and witnessed the mourning of its countless inhabitants? What might we learn from these daughters, sisters, women who seem trapped in their grief, in their mother’s house, in a city that will no longer hold or see them? How can we use our voices to prepare for the emergencies of grief (and joy)? Bernarda’s Daughters explores all of these questions and more while also experimenting with modes of storytelling that celebrate the aural. This work-in-progress is being shared at BRIClab in anticipation of a full length audio play presentation as part of Off Stage at The New Group, a new venture featuring theatrical expressions in different media.
Writer: Diane Exavier
Director: Dominique Rider
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Diane Exavier is a Brooklyn-based writer, theatermaker, and educator who creates performances, public programs, and games that invite audiences to participate in a theater that rejects passive reception. With a point of departure located in Caribbean Diaspora, Diane explores what she calls the 4L’s: love, loss, legacy, and land. Intersecting performance and poetry, her work has been presented at Haiti Cultural Exchange, Sibiu's International Theater Festival in Romania, Bowery Poetry Club, Dixon Place, and more. Her writing appears in "The Atlas Review" and "The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind," amongst other publications. Her play Good Blood received a 2017 Kilroys List Honorable Mention.
Dominique Rider is a director and dramaturg based in Brooklyn, New York. They believe in l[i/o]ving like it is the end of the world. Dominique’s work is concerned with answering the question: “What is a world unmade by slavery?” They have worked as a director and collaborator at The New Group, BRIClab, NYU, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Haiti Cultural Exchange, MCC, The Old Globe, The Lark, Soho Rep, The Atlantic, The Bushwick Starr, Clubbed Thumb, Long Wharf, Flux Theatre Ensemble, WP, and The Movement Theatre Company. They are the director in residence for the National Black Theatre through 2021, a 2019 NAMT directing observer, and an inaugural member of Roundabout Theatre Company’s Directing Group.
The program's four tracks are Contemporary Art, Film + TV, Performing Arts, and Video Art. Each track offers unique resources designed to meet the needs of varied artistic practices. Residents receive additional financial support, mentorship, skills-based learning opportunities, and documentation of their work. In-progress public programs (virtual and later live) will take place from September 2020 through June of 2021.