In the Year...2020
Black C Art Gallery was preparing an artist residency with Bulgarian dancer/choreographer Galina Borissova. She was scheduled to be in the country and at the gallery in the Spring of 2020. A one woman performance of ANTIGONE was on the agenda. Galina would direct and perform and also direct two additional artists to perform this imaginative and original event. Three actresses were planning to perform in rotation.
And then, the CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19) hit the world like shattering glass. No international travel allowed, and thus, no creation of ANTIGONE. It seems that at first, we held the thought that this would be a quickly passing dilemma. However, that was not the case.
Broadway shut down. Restaurants closed. Schools reacted. Masks became part of our daily wear. The virus grew and spread at an alarming rate. People became glued to the news and obsessed with the potential harm that was threatening all of us. However, the world moved quickly in structuring rules and regulations for safety and control. Masks. Social Distancing. Washing hands. Staying away from large crowds, etc.
At the gallery, we asked ourselves how to keep active during this difficult time. We were careful in our search of how to stay legally and safely inside the regulations. And the idea came to us.
Two performers. Two audience members. We remounted a two woman show entitled THE STRONGER (based on August Strindberg’s play by the same name) featuring Ani Collier and Sara Morsey. The walls of the gallery were splattered with Sara’s colorful artwork, juxtaposed with Ani’s black and white collages, which served as a background for our set. We performed for two audience members at a time who were masked and safely socially distanced. They were distanced from one another and the cast. And the people came.
Ani Collier and Sara Morsey in The Stronger
Photo by Lauren Warhol Caldwell
The performance was magically played between Ani and Sara. In 30 minutes, the audience witnessed quizzical dialogue, movement and dance, glowing hula hoops and blazing flashlights. The story was filled with intrigue and spectacle...and the audience was safe. Regulations and safety were honored and the show went on. We found our niche in serving our mission in the midst of it all.
The audience participated in a short discussion after each performance, unfailingly assuring us of how safe they felt, honored to be an audience of just two, grateful for the opportunity to see a live performance and gobsmacked by the experience.
Riding on the success of THE STRONGER, Ani invited Tzveta Kassabova to do a residency for an original movement piece. Tzveta, an internationally known artist, drove to us from Michigan where she teaches movement at the University of Michigan. She and Ani created an original movement piece and our next project was born entitled IN SEARCH OF… The space in the gallery suddenly transformed from a small café representing THE STRONGER into an open space with white flooring and black confetti sprinkled thickly across the floor. Transformation complete. The piece is mysterious, edgy, dangerous, emotional and breathtaking.
Ani Collier and Tzveta Kassabova in In Search Of...
We are all looking for a way to get through these challenging times. It has not been easy and the year 2020 will be remembered as the year that pulled the rug out from under our normal lives. There has been loss which has caused great pain. The struggle is not over, however, as a universe, a world, a country, a state and a city, we will slay this dragon together.
At Black C Art Gallery, we are so happy that we were able to bring joy in providing a safe space with live performers. We will continue to create original work that is always unexpected in style and story. Thank you to all who came to these one of a kind events.
“The show must go on” became a reality for many in our beloved Gainesville.
We wish you all a golden New Year filled with happiness and a return to our normal way of life.
Be well and Stay safe