[Local events] No Strangers Here Today, IFCC Feb. 16-18

David Abel passages at rdrop.com
Mon Feb 12 20:21:34 PST 2007

No Strangers Here Today

Written, choreographed & performed by Susan Banyas

Music composed and performed by David Ornette Cherry
Movement and voice directed by Gregg Bielemeier & Gwynne Warner

Additional text: Elizabeth Conard Edwards, John Rankin, Henry David 
Thoreau, Harriet Tubman,
Chris Hedges, John Lewis, Thomas Wolfe, Frederick Douglass, Edward Ball

February 16, 17, 18, 2007

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (IFCC),
5340 N. Interstate Avenue

Friday & Saturday at 8pm & Sunday at 4pm & 7pm.
Tickets are $10-$20 sliding scale/group discounts.

Reservations: 503-239-7107 or online at http://strangers.scatter.com





No Strangers Here Today is a stirring poetic monologue-with-movement 
about political
engagement that dances between personal memory and American history from 
the Civil War to the
present. Susan Banyas' Quaker Great Great Grandmother, Elizabeth 
Edwards, kept a diary during
the Civil War with coded phrases suggesting her participation in the 
great socio-political movement
called the Underground Railroad.

This vast and allusive social network between blacks and whites defied 
the federal government, and,
through great personal risk, demanded an end to the slaveocracy, the 
slave system supported by
both the South and the North. The memory network that arose from that 
time continues to
symbolize freedom seeking and vigilance against economic, political, and 
personal tyranny by the
master class.

Early doctrine of the Society of Friends, who settled in the new 
colonies in 1682, states without
compromise: “War is incompatible with the Christian spirit. Slavery must 
be eradicated.” By
opposing the “binding character of authority,” the doctrine connected 
the dots between war, power
and oppression, a philosophy echoed today by anti-war activist, Chris 
Hedges, former war
correspondent and NY Times bureau chief in the Middle East. “Historical 
memory is hijacked by those
who carry out war,” he writes. “The return of historical memory restores 
a common language to the
one usurped by war.” No Strangers Here Today is written in solidarity 
with the Ancestors who
lived through those times and inspire this vision.This production marks 
the premier of the work as a collaboration between Portland 
writer/movement artist Susan Banyas and L.A. jazz artist, David Ornette 
Cherry. Cherry's compositions, soundscapes, and improvisational moments 
will weave through the piece to evoke drama, mood, and image. Movement 
and voice direction provided by Gregg Bielemeier and Gwynne Warner. 
Portland area performances run February 16-18, 2007 at the Interstate 
Firehouse Cultural
Center. The production then travels to Los Angeles as part of the ALOUD 
series at the Los Angeles
Central Library on February 25, 2007.


Susan Banyas

is a dancer, director, and storyteller who has worked for the past 30 
years to embody and express
the poetry of everyday life. These expressions take form as theatrical 
monologues, dance stories,
essays, and stories. Her aesthetic and artistic roots as an improviser, 
dancer, and experimental
performance artist led to collaborations through SO&SO&SO&SO Inc. SO&SO 
performance works
have been performed in Seattle, San Francisco, LA, Chiapas, Mexico, and 
Portland, Oregon. She cofounded Dreams Well Studio (1991-2003), a low 
tech performance and teaching laboratory, where
she produced and directed poetry shows, Soul Stories evenings, 
dance/theatre pieces, and genderinspired
shows in collaborations with some of Portland’s finest theatre artists, 
poets, musicians, and
dancers. The studio was home to her classes--Soul Stories, everyday 
dancing, Performance
Lab–developed with movement, memory, and awareness practices at the 
heart of creative
experimentation. As an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark 
College/Graduate School of Education,
she also designed Who Owns Your Mind?, a media literacy class designed 
to empower children,
parents, and teachers to deconstruct corporate advertising, the machine 
driving the American
economic system and affecting personal memory/perception.

Ms. Banyas has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, 
Regional Arts and Culture
Council, and an artist fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, as 
well as awards for her video
art. She is currently a member of the Maya Angelou Writers Guild, 
teaches everyday dancing at
Conduit Dance Inc., and is at work on a book of non-fiction, The 
Hillsboro Story—memory
narratives and imaginative portraits of the people from her hometown in 
southern Ohio who played a
surprisingly powerful, although historically hidden, role in the 
national civil rights movement directly
following the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954.
Ms. Banyas has performed No Strangers Here Today at the The National 
Underground Railroad
Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, the International Society for the 
Study of Time Conference in
Cambridge, England, and at ALOUD LA, a literary performance and lecture 
series funded by the
Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

David Orette Cherry

winner of the “2003 ASCAP-CHAMBER MUSIC AMERICA Award for Adventurous 
Programming of
Contemporary Music”, is composer, arranger, and band leader. David was 
born the same year
Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry recorded their first album, SOMETHIN 
ELSE. The ambient music
streaming through his childhood was generated by the early 
collaborations of his dad, Don Cherry,
with Coleman and the musicians who visited his parents’ Mariposa Avenue 
home in Los Angeles.

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