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This project was successfully funded on July 8, 2017


by Jeffrey Fracé


Nightswimming is an original theatre-dance-opera hybrid that tells the story of two outsiders looking for home on a road trip through the US in the 1970s. Both a celebration and critique of nostalgia, this show asks us where we find meaning as we reconsider our personal and political histories. I would like us to think about a past moment in our lives that we long for and to examine that longing; to ask whether innocence has value or just describes lack of knowledge; to reconsider adolescence: can some of its qualities, when remembered, enliven our adulthood, and make the world just more fun? I would like to inspire everybody to go skinny dipping. I would like to know when it’s best to think of life as finite, and when to think of it as an inexhaustible well.

Nightswimming features 14 performers (actors and dancers), half of whom are also strong singers (classical and/or jazz/blues). I am directing the show and writing the libretto, while poet Morgan Dawson is contributing lyrics and additional text. Composer Aaron Otheim is writing original music as well as radically adapting covers of 1970s songs.

Last summer, I researched the many threads that weave together in Nightswimming, including 1970s history, the circus, Arthur Rimbaud, Stevie Nicks, schizophrenia, astrophysics, and nostalgia. I fleshed out the characters and the story. In September I gathered an ensemble, and in five days we staged nearly an hour’s worth of material.

Since then I have done a lot more researching and writing, and it is time to go back into the studio with the performers to make the rest of the show. We will be working full-time for two weeks from June 19-30, and on the last evening we will share our progress with an invited audience. We will also make a video, so that I can pitch this show to presenters. I have some interested parties, and I am hoping that Nightswimming will see a full production in 2018.

I am asking for your help to make this possible. So far this year I have raised $10,000, and I need to raise at least $7,000 more to pay for this workshop. Most of the money goes to pay the artists for their time and expertise, there are also some material and documentation expenses. I am so grateful for your support as I launch my most ambitious project yet. Please stay in touch to learn more about the show, visit rehearsal, and to be the first to know about the full production.