Leaves of Grass - Uncut
- Theater Arts
“Leaves of Grass - Uncut” will be a multi-disciplinary performance about Walt Whitman, presenting the complexity and courage of his art, spirituality and sexuality, his life and times. His work and life changed western culture, creating space for everyone, and especially queer people, to live their lives more freely, but his era forced him to write cryptically about his sexual attraction to other men. It’s time to bring Walt out of the closet, for everyone to know him uncensored, undoing decades of denial by mainstream US culture.
Most of my work has been autobiographical, bringing my life as an openly gay, HIV+ man onto stage and into the world. With this project I continue a familiar theme, claiming space for unheard voices, while shifting to biography, to Whitman’s life, bringing me new material - a great poet, with a fascinating story. “Leaves of Grass - Uncut” will combine theater, poetry, photography, opera and dance. It will embrace Whitman’s challenges, for writing Leaves of Grass he was trashed by reviewers, fired from a federal job, banned in Boston, and shunned by Harvard. It will celebrate his successes, including his lovers Fred, Peter, Harry, and his admirers - from Emerson to Lincoln. It will reveal his influence in the world, ranging from Wilde to van Gogh. It will also reveal his compromises, including self-editing, removing some poems, altering others...
I began this multi-year many phase project years ago with research. The research continues fall 2013 as I begin to develop the show. In January I will begin to rehearse, leading to a workshop presentation of it in March 2014. After the workshop showing, I will begin the final development of the show, leading to a final presentation in the spring of 2105, and touring the show after that. In developing “Leaves of Grass - Uncut” ” I plan to work with other artists for costuming, directing, literary input & dramaturgy, and musical composition. I plan to employ dancers and a videographer.
Please help me to raise $10,000 through Hatchfund. If we raise more than my $10,000 goal (Let’s dream together!) I will be able to hire more dancers, and pay all of them, and the video artist working on this, higher wages.
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