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This project was successfully funded on July 16, 2013

River See

by Sharon Bridgforth


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Set on a juking boat, with blueswomen, queers, deviants and Seers,River See is the prayer before the Great Migration.  Experienced through the heart of SEE, a young woman-in-training, River Seeexplores blues stories as living arrangements of jazz. Through an improvisational process that happens live during performance/with singers, dancers, musicians and audience members, Bridgforth composes a moving soundscape in support of SEE’s story.  The actor that plays SEE (Sonja Parks) and Bridgforth work with local performers in each presenting city.  During the rehearsal process Bridgforth creates physical language to signal directions to the performers. The performers lived experiences, artistic expertise and impulses are the architecture for the signals. The Witness/participants – the audience – choose how they will participate in bringing the performance to life.  Some will listen/hold space. Some will translate text, some will gesture. Some will share in telling the story. Some will chant. Through a collective process, all serve SEE.  We become responsible to one another in the art of creating a piece about Love. 

To Date: Bridgforth has conducted 18 developmental workshop experiments* around the country. Workshops have helped Bridgforth: complete the performance script; develop her role of Writer/Composer/Improviser; devise physical language to communicate composition instructions; experiment with space/with reconstructing  notions of what it means to make performance using artistic and spiritual technologies traditional to people of color; activate and intersect  art, healing, science and spiritual practices/based in Jazz.

“...not so much an experimental play as a ritual of transition and healing. It takes place in a theater that has been made to feel, through music, dance and deeply felt performance, like sacred space” ?- Rohan Preston, Minneapolis Star Tribune. April 15, 2013

lil naynay pull she blade out she titties clip a piece of boucilla hair toss it to sweet rodger in one motion/get to dancing.  chorus sing help she Jesus.  somebody speak in tongues.  sweet rodger back from run-hair-to-grandma-aunt porkchops in kitchen.  sweet rodger dance.  river lift/river rock louder louder faster higher hips swirl and shake the walls.   feet drum floor boards quick.  all of a sudden mr. goodies run up from back the joint/grab boucilla.   pull chorus close while lil naynay and sweet rodger dance.   mr. goodies push boucilla head back with he thick hand/call help she lawd.   help she Jesus chorus respond.  mr. goodies spit on forehead/call help she lawd.  help she Jesus chorus respond.  mr. goodies dip boucilla like a baptizing.  river lift/river rock...Excerpt from River See. Copyright (c) 2013 Sharon Bridgforth

Your support will help us complete this project.   Your tax-deductible donation will go towards: the creation of tour ready design elements; promotional packaging that will insure the work expand beyond the commissioning cities; the creation of an online Riverbank where communities can use storytelling as a tool for healing, understanding history and bridging communities; and uniting artists from the 18 experiments to join Bridgforth and Sonja Parks (SEE) in presenting the River See premiere in at Links Hall Chicago. 

We could not have made it this far without the support of our friends, colleagues, partners and funders. We welcome your support in bringing River See to its fullness through this campaign.  

*River See is a NPN Creation Fund Project co-commissioned byLinks Hall in partnership with Living Arts of Tulsa,Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator, Pillsbury House TheatreThe Theatre Offensive, and NPN. The MAP Fund  awarded Pillsbury House Theatre a 2012 grant in support of River See.

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