JOY (COMES) IN THE MOURNING

Joy (Comes) in the Mourning

Nine days and nights of free, in-person and virtual interactive experiences exploring and celebrating the rituals of loss and grief – through performances, art installations, workshops and discussions curated by Portland Playhouse’s Community Programs and Associate Artistic Director Ramona Lisa Alexander.

SEPTEMBER 10-18, 2021

View the key note address, "Grief, Gratitude, and Racial Healing," from Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director from Penumbra Theatre Company.

Schedule of Events

All event are free and are open to the public except where noted. Due to capacity restrictions, please sign up to the events you plan to attend. 
All visitors are required to wear masks covering nose and mouth while in any indoor and outdoor space at the Playhouse. Safe distancing is required when attending an event where food is served.

Friday, September 10 - Day 1: Pure creation and forward momentum

5:30-6:30 PM

POP JOY
an Art Installation by Kameron Messmer
Portland Playhouse Community Studio

Kameron Messmer welcomes in Joy (Comes) in the Mourning with a 2000 balloon installation. “I want kids and families and strangers to come across this giant, colorful, unexpected symbol of joy and spread it to others online. My goal is for people to take pictures of themselves inside of the sculpture, literally bringing the sculpture to life with joy. Filling in the missing void with themselves and spreading it to others.”

This installation will also be available on Saturday, September 11th for everyone to view and interact with from 5:30-6:30.  This is an art installation piece and we will be letting people participate in waves within the hour 5 people at a time.

Refreshments provided by Blanca Forzán.

6:30-7:00 PM

Joy (Comes) in the Mourning – Opening and Welcome
Keynote Speaker: Sarah Bellamy
Screening at Portland Playhouse, available online September 11

Join us for the welcoming and kick off celebration of Joy (Comes) in the Mourning featuring a Keynote address from Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director of the Penumbra Theatre and Center for Racial Healing.

7:00 – 8:30 PM

The Flame
By Logan Ridenour-Starnes
Portland Playhouse outdoor/indoor

Join us for an evening into The Flame where audience members become the characters! This immersive piece draws on Southeastern Indigenous stories. Facilitated by an Indigenous artist, participants will learn some simple gestures and movements while being invited to explore the story from the inside. Let’s create a World where we care for the Flame together. After the performance, all performers are then invited to an optional debrief over a shared meal.

Saturday, September 11 - Day 2: Relationships and Balance

1:00-3:00 PM
Racial Healing and Theatre Making
with Sarah Bellamy (invitation only- for theatre makers and innovators)
virtual event

Sarah Bellamy, Artistic Director of Minneapolis’ Penumbra Theatre has led a bold shift in how a theatre company can shape the narrative and center Racial Healing as a creative, vital and necessary part of theatre making.  Join her in a conversation about how this vision came to pass, where they are heading in the future, and what the Portland community might learn from this journey.

“The Penumbra Center for Racial Healing is a brave space where the community is called in to learn, rejuvenate, and stand up in support of racial equity. The environment we envision is peaceful, inspiring, and gently provocative, providing moments of deep reflection and respite as visitors navigate the campus.”

5:30-6:30 PM

POP JOY
an Art Installation by Kameron Messmer
Portland Playhouse Community Studio

Kameron Messmer welcomes in Joy (Comes) in the Mourning with a 2000 balloon installation. “I want kids and families and strangers to come across this giant, colorful, unexpected symbol of joy and spread it to others online. My goal is for people to take pictures of themselves inside of the sculpture, literally bringing the sculpture to life with joy. Filling in the missing void with themselves and spreading it to others.”

This installation will also be available on Friday, September 10th for everyone to view and interact with from {5:30-6:30}.  This is an art installation piece and we will be letting people participate in waves within the hour 5 people at a time.

Refreshments provided by Bianca Forzan.

7:00 – 7:30 PM

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow)
by Michael Cavazo
Portland Playhouse Stage

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow) is a devised video work that explores the ritual of mourning and the stages of grief. The piece investigates feelings of loss, pain, and anger while searching for understanding and hope. It explores one way in which a modern queer Latinx person without a strong faith, but instead having a cynical view of religion, might mourn, embrace rituals of their foremothers and find growth from the tragedy. 

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.
View the trailer here.

8:00 – 8:45 PM

It’s Your Funeral

Book & Lyrics by Wayne Harrel, Music by Dave Fleschner
Directed by Josie Seid
Performed by Eric Island, Dré Slaman, Ron Harman
Portland Playhouse Stage

It’s Your Funeral, a new 15-minute musical comedy, follows the story of Andy, a middle-aged man surprised by a diagnosis of prostate cancer, and the journey he travels with his wife Maya to determine which lousy but life-saving treatment option they can both live with.

Post-show discussion to follow.

Sunday, September 12 - Day 3: Communication

10:00 -11:00 AM

Storytelling Mindfulness Workshop
With M.J. Kang
Virtual Event (Zoom)

M.J. Kang is a 5 time The Moth Story Slam winner in addition to winning various other story slams. Her personal stories have been featured on PBS, The Women’s Storytelling Festival and the National Storytellers Network Conference 2021. She will guide participants in a mediation to help access personal stories which can be used in job interviews, story slams, and many creative projects.

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Joy Brunch
Portland Playhouse Community Studio and Courtyard

Brunch comes in the morning! Join us for an opportunity to share in a celebratory outdoor brunch featuring delicious bites catered by NE Creperie and performances featuring a number of local Portland drag artists, hosted by Portland Drag Performer Silhouette! Break bread (or a crepe) together, make in-person connections and, of course, JOY.

This event is capped at 50 guests. Masks are required when not actively eating or drinking.

1:30 – 4:00 PM

Resilience and Healing through Art with Sarah Bellamy
virtual event

Calling all artists, performers, and healers of the global majority!  Please join us in welcoming Sarah Bellamy, for a 2 ½ hour workshop session in co-creating sacred space, where we can be vulnerable, nourished, and replenished.  Some of the experience may be influenced by Bellamy’s theoretical framework:

“Acknowledge. Engage with historic abuse and trauma.  Attend. Detoxify our bodies and tend to the vulnerable.  Address. Address racial inequity with responsible, informed action.

The experience is ours to make.”  We offer much gratitude to Sarah for the work and experiences she will share as well as those of you who will join us on this journey.  If you are interested in being invited please contact community@portlandplayhouse.org**This workshop is reserved for people who identify as Black, brown or Indigenous – people who make up 80% of the world population.**

5:30 – 7:00 PM

#SendIt
A community discussion, ritual, and celebration facilitated by Charles Grant
Portland Playhouse Stage

*This is Black/African American Affinity space. Please only sign up for this event if you identify as Black, African-American, and/or a part of the African diaspora.*

Inspired by Aleshea Harris’ play “What to Send Up When It Goes Down,” #SendIt will be a safe & brave space for the Black community to come together to hold space for all of the losses we have experienced over generations. Using ritual as a vehicle, this is a space for us to speak our truth, voice our frustrations, and move beyond the hashtags (#BlackLivesMatter and #SayTheirNames) and step more fully into processing the reality of living while Black. Ultimately, it is a space for us to exist, breathe, and send up our hopes, dreams, and joy.

Refreshments will be provided afterwards for attendees to be in community, socialize, and celebrate with each other.

Monday, September 13 - Day 4: Grounded, reliability

6:00 -7:00 PM

Grief to gratitude: Dancing for Joy
workshop with Tarvoris Murray
Portland Playhouse Studio

Join Tarvoris Murray for an in-person workshop giving both dancers and non-dancers alike the space to let go of their grief through movement. For this workshop, participants will be taught choreography as well as given the tools on how to deal with grief through dance. 
 
Masks will be required, and this workshop will be capped at 15 participants.

7:00 -8:00 PM

When “WE” Cry
by Valerie Yvette Peterson
Portland Playhouse Stage

When “WE” Cry, a mini theatrical excerpt from the stage play of the same name, highlights the art of physical storytelling, monologues and combined performance pieces, while capturing the true essence of our history. When “WE” Cry takes a look into the pain of a Black Woman; the perils that still exist. When other women can find themselves through our lens, strength will exist; thereby, creating a sense of courage to pursue collective unity.

Tuesday, September 14 - Day 5. Freedom. A day of stillness, reflection, gratitude and sharing.

Share your story with the Playhouse. What is your relationship to grief? Where do you find joy?  Submit 1 min of video, or a few sentences of text on Facebook or Instagram and tag us @portlandplayhouse or send an email to community@portlandplayhouse.org.  We will share it on this page.

Wednesday, September 15 - Day 6: Harmony and Unconditional Love

5:30 – 6:30 PM

The Only Way Out Is Through: A Breathwork Journey
guided by Elana Kanan
Virtual Event (Zoom)

Over the course of an hour, Elana will guide you through a somatic journey using one of our most powerful healing tools: the breath. Throughout this time, we’ll connect to our inner knowing, shed what no longer serves us, and release emotional burdens that don’t belong to us. Much of our trauma lives in our bodies, and most of it can’t be touched through mental processing alone. The experiences we’ve had as a collective throughout the duration of this pandemic have had a palpable effect on our nervous systems. We owe it to ourselves to reclaim the ability to feel safe in our bodies, and reconnecting to our breath is a wonderful place to start.

6:00 – 7:00 PM 

/plant/
By Ash Heffernan
Portland Playhouse Courtyard (weather permitting)

Most folx turned to houseplant care as a ritual during quarantine. Our homes, which we would normally fill with friends and family, felt empty. Houseplants were a way to bring in life and growth during a year that felt isolating and stagnant. Ash owns 30+ houseplants and intends to create a performance/ritual around repotting, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and otherwise caring for them while performing poetry and stories about the healing power of gardening and growing plants. This comes as a lineage of Black feminine power and life-giving. The audience is invited to get their hands wet, dirty, and consider caring for themselves in a way only plants can teach us.  Plants will be given as a gift for those who register and attend.

7:00-7:30 PM

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow)
by Michael Cavazos
Portland Playhouse Stage

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow) is a devised video work that explores the ritual of mourning and the stages of grief. The piece investigates feelings of loss, pain, and anger while searching for understanding and hope. It explores one way in which a modern queer Latinx person without a strong faith, but instead having a cynical view of religion, might mourn, embrace rituals of their foremothers and find growth from the tragedy.

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

View the trailer here.

7:30 – 9:00 PM

Something Has to Die
By J.C. “Jace” Meyer-Crosby
Portland Playhouse Stage

Storyteller Meyer-Crosby shares an hour-long piece on what it means to transition–from life to death, from one identity to a new one, from a comfortable homeland to a new frontier, and from this world to another world. A journey through monologue, music, sound, and divination into the question “If there is no change without death, how can we build healthy grieving into our ever-changing lives?”
Discussion to follow.

Thursday, September 16 - Day 7: Wisdom

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Chant of Saints
A sound art installation by Donald King
Originally commissioned by The United Music Experience
Portland Playhouse Community Studio

Chant of Saints is a sound art installation conceived and created by Donald King with a  commission by The United Music Experience, in Austin, Texas. It is an immersive sound sensory experience and environmental installation. Experientially speaking, the installation is inspired, in part, by the Japanese Karesansui gardens. The installation is a sonic collage that marries constellations of inspired vocals (chants) from various spiritual traditions, both sacred and secular. The genre-defying soundscape bends, blends, and remixes a sampling of sacred and secular music that ranges from Buddhist chants, gospel hymns, the Islamic call to prayer, gregorian chants, Jewish mi sheberach, Shinto, jazz, and hip hop. It is an invitation to reflect and meditate on the universal human aspiration and pursuit to reach beyond ourselves in an attempt to connect with the divine. Or, as John Coltrane suggests, A Love Supreme. Ultimately, like the Japanese Karesansui gardens, it is intended to serve as an aid to reflection, introspection, and meditation.  

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

7:00 – 7:30 PM

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow)
by Michael Cavazos
Portland Playhouse Stage

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow) is a devised video work that explores the ritual of mourning and the stages of grief. The piece investigates feelings of loss, pain, and anger while searching for understanding and hope. It explores one way in which a modern queer Latinx person without a strong faith, but instead having a cynical view of religion, might mourn, embrace rituals of their foremothers and find growth from the tragedy.

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

View the trailer here.

7:30 – 9:00 PM

The Visionary Squad presents Strength in Numbers Live: The Conduit to Joy is Peace
Facilitated by Blaire G. Hervey & Karen D. Foster.  Co-founders of The Visionary Squad
Virtual event

* This event is an affinity space for Black women only.  Please attend this event only if you identify as a Black woman.”

Blaire G. Hervey and Karen D. Foster, co-founders of The Visionary Squad, host a conversation about Black women venturing into their journey of healing and wholeness. They will co-create and facilitate a panel discussion centered around collective healing, resiliency and community building. 

Friday, September 17 - Day 8: Responsible Power

5:30 – 6:00 PM

The Awakening
by Fyndi Jermany
At Portland Playhouse Stage

The Awakening is a journey through a visual presentation and lyrical mesh of early 90’s R&B influences and circumstances of reality.

6:00 – 7:00 PM

Chant of Saints
A sound art installation by Donald King
Originally commissioned by The United Music Experience
Portland Playhouse Community Studio

Chant of Saints is a sound art installation conceived and created by Donald King with a  commission by The United Music Experience, in Austin, Texas. It is an immersive sound sensory experience and environmental installation. Experientially speaking, the installation is inspired, in part, by the Japanese Karesansui gardens. The installation is a sonic collage that marries constellations of inspired vocals (chants) from various spiritual traditions, both sacred and secular. The genre-defying soundscape bends, blends, and remixes a sampling of sacred and secular music that ranges from Buddhist chants, gospel hymns, the Islamic call to prayer, gregorian chants, Jewish mi sheberach, Shinto, jazz, and hip hop. It is an invitation to reflect and meditate on the universal human aspiration and pursuit to reach beyond ourselves in an attempt to connect with the divine. Or, as John Coltrane suggests, A Love Supreme. Ultimately, like the Japanese Karesansui gardens, it is intended to serve as an aid to reflection, introspection, and meditation.  

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

7:00 – 8:30 PM

No-No Boy: Asian American History Comes Alive Through Song and Story
By Julian Saporiti
Portland Playhouse Stage

The No-No Boy concert is a 60-90 minute multimedia event which combines original songs, storytelling and archival images to provide the audience with an immersive experience which explores difficult histories of immigration, refugees, race, empire and incarceration. By transforming his doctoral research into a concert, musician/scholar Julian Saporiti delivers a deeply researched performance which entertains as it educates, deftly blending scholarship and art and offering a model for public facing academic work.
Post show discussion will follow.

Saturday, September 18 - Day 9: Completion

12:00 – 1:00PM

Chant of Saints
A sound art installation by Donald King
Originally commissioned by The United Music Experience
Portland Playhouse Community Studio

Chant of Saints is a sound art installation conceived and created by Donald King with a  commission by The United Music Experience, in Austin, Texas. It is an immersive sound sensory experience and environmental installation. Experientially speaking, the installation is inspired, in part, by the Japanese Karesansui gardens. The installation is a sonic collage that marries constellations of inspired vocals (chants) from various spiritual traditions, both sacred and secular. The genre-defying soundscape bends, blends, and remixes a sampling of sacred and secular music that ranges from Buddhist chants, gospel hymns, the Islamic call to prayer, gregorian chants, Jewish mi sheberach, Shinto, jazz, and hip hop. It is an invitation to reflect and meditate on the universal human aspiration and pursuit to reach beyond ourselves in an attempt to connect with the divine. Or, as John Coltrane suggests, A Love Supreme. Ultimately, like the Japanese Karesansui gardens, it is intended to serve as an aid to reflection, introspection, and meditation. 

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

12:30 – 1:00 PM

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow)
by Michael Cazavos
Portland Playhouse Stage

de los cadáveres crecen flores (from the corpses flowers grow) is a devised video work that explores the ritual of mourning and the stages of grief. The piece investigates feelings of loss, pain, and anger while searching for understanding and hope. It explores one way in which a modern queer Latinx person without a strong faith, but instead having a cynical view of religion, might mourn, embrace rituals of their foremothers and find growth from the tragedy. 

This is an art installation featuring sounds/video/media on a rolling loop. Participants are invited to attend at any time during the time frame, and ~10 people will be let in at a time.

View the trailer here.

1:00 – 1:30 PM

I am the Mourning
By Moxxy Rogers
Portland Playhouse Courtyard

I Am the Mourning is a series of visual poems performed from the perspective of a Black woman, as she unravels from the weight of the past two years. These poems reflect on the fear that sat within our communities as we watched what felt like the world burning around us; the agony of fighting for the right to see another sunrise; and the moments of joy we desperately sought to find within one another. This performance is a chronological poetic journey through the mind and heart of a young writer in Portland, yearning to find meaning in words and worth in love.

1:30 – 5:00 PM

Music Festival and BBQ
Portland Playhouse Courtyard

Join us for a closing celebration featuring the sounds and stylings of various Portland artists, musicians, bands and a Joy BBQ. 

Using all COVID safety protocols, it is our hope to gather and make music together outside and around the Playhouse. Bring your instruments, drums, shakers, your VOICES, your dance moves and your best selves to this closing ceremony and celebration.

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