COMMUNION (HERE WE GO AGAIN)
“Communion (Here We Go Again)” is a performance within which the performers’ actions, objects used, and setting are reminders of the passing along of traits, behaviors and dysfunctions within families, from one generation to the next—and also laterally as families and communities expand.
The performance of “Communion (Here We Go Again)” on October 18, 2013 began with the setting, which was the consecrated ground of a nearly-century old Christian church. A twenty-foot wide silent video was projected onto the largest wall; the video featured my mother and myself sitting at her kitchen table, sipping a dark, sanguine liquid—and spitting each sip out onto pretty folded handkerchiefs and tossing each hankie to the floor underneath us. This video served as both a literal preview for the viewers as to what the performance would entail, as well as a metaphorical context within which “Communion” may be placed.
In front of the video projection was an early-20th century dining table and four mismatched chairs. A Quaker lace cloth was draped over the table’s scratched surface, beneath an assortment of some forty-odd drinking glasses, stacks of 200 handkerchiefs, and a pair of glass gallon milk jugs full of the red liquid, which serves as a visual stand-in for blood. Each object was selected for this particular performance with care to inject its own historical energy with which it is imbued into the performative environment.
The performance included myself and three additional performers (in this instance, a man and two women). Our actions were highly improvised; I informed them that their only guidelines were 1) to keep their minds focused on the themes of the work (intergenerational dysfunction and destructive behaviors) and 2) repeating the process of pouring a sip, imbibing it, and then spitting it out onto a handkerchief until the liquid was depleted.
During the performance, a recording I created of myself slurping and drinking the same liquid, as well as clinking the glasses, was playing at a high volume. This augmented the actions playing out in front of the audience. The viewers displayed an array of responses, including physical ones. Some people chose to leave due to feeling ill, and came back to see how if we were successful in our mission to get rid of the two gallons of liquid. Three audience members chose to step into our space and temporarily engage in the same actions. All told, “Communion (Here We Go Again)” lasted about 45 minutes.