2020/21 SEASON | Lyric Suite

Lyric Suite | November 13-15, 2020

Months into the Covid-19 pandemic, and the eruption of the protests after the murder of George Floyd, I sat in what seemed like a state of perpetual isolation, loneliness, and the fear and despair of not knowing how I would create work. Sometimes I would come to consciousness realizing I had been sitting, unmoving in the same spot and position on my couch for some ungodly amount of time. I feared moving. If I move, I think, I might completely fall apart, sobbing inconsolably or laughing hysterically or even both simultaneously. I would awake each day in dread. Not with anxiety associated with the virus but the dismay of the terrible repetition that each day brought and my not being able to connect to others. I am not a hugger but now I needed a hug. But even that is scary, not because of the contagion but that the embrace, like some kind of emotional Heimlich Maneuver, would cause me to cough up an endless amount of emotional sputum and stuck feelings that are choking me. But I would rather choke because I am afraid of losing control and the ensuing emotional carnage of that loss. My imagination runs amuck…

Lyric Suite is a dance film in 11 vignettes. Its central themes are isolation, fear, despair, and loneliness. The film presents us with 11 responses to – What does a person’s mind conjure up when they experience extended periods of little or no contact with other human beings? These 11 scenes are each an individual’s conjurings of their mind. They are each an example of the mind’s concoctions when a person is not only isolated, but the outside world seems to be falling apart from the affliction of a plague of Biblical proportions and a reckoning on the failures of unjust social systems. The mind makes sense the best it can.

– Donald Byrd

Photos by Marcia Davis