An exploration of artistic defiance against social inequality, Pedigree is a solo piece about one’s journey of recovery from the inexplicit influences of racial hatred and violence plaguing their mentality and livelihood. This show explores the lengths in which one declares to take back their power after years of mental and emotional torment at the hands of societal tormentors from her past to the present.
In the wake of the revitalization of the Black Lives Matter Movement, this applied theatre work is relevant to our Black community in providing insight to a cathartic resolution and engaging in civil dialogue.
Conceptualized in Summer 2020 and filmed Summer 2021, I deem the creation of Pedigree an example of the pedagogical practice ‘Activist Theatre’. This work highlights my personalized artistic concept of “performative resistance through narrative”. I adapted Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre model and developed a movement-based process where my own personal experiences of racial disparity and oppression were the focus of the work. What has been particularly striking about developing this piece, and indeed the BLM movement as a whole, has been its creation through, and subsequent dependence upon, social media. That so many people were able to “witness” multiple stories/experiences of these disparities raise awareness and troubling questions regarding private acts vs. public sharing, reception vs perception, as well as more obvious racial power dynamics.
I seek to enlighten "spect-actors" about strategies civil and aesthetic/ therapeutic strategies in addressing the mental strain of balancing everyday life against the myriad of racial equality and social injustice issues constantly broadcasted through our social media streams and personal conversations.
Methodological Approach(es): Image Theatre, Theatre for the Oppressed, Solo Performance, Narrative-based Storytelling
Each performance had community outreach elements including a talkback discussion about the narrative-based solo performance and the artistic process of developing and performing Pedigree.
Harris, B. S. Personifying Resistance Through Theatre: Performing Pedigree
Check out this teaser of Pedigree, a solo performance, performed and written by Brittney S. Harris, directed by Russ Fulmore.