As a kid, I climbed a lot of trees. I can remember jumping to reach branches, tearing skin and clothing, and swinging up to the highest point of safety. There were times when my branch would give and release little me squirming like a fish on shore, laughing undiscouraged amongst the roots. Without hesitation, I would stand up and return to the tree to find a new place to sit.
Unfortunately the last time I climbed a tree was almost 15 years ago.
I can regard those moments as hallowed and secretive places of “outdoor worship” and consistency. Rehearsals with my all female ensemble mirrored this-- warm and smiling places of gratitude in anticipation of hard and collaborative work. I enjoyed watching these women with varying faces, backgrounds, names, and footsteps give to the movement and words through different languages. I felt welcomed by the separate awareness each performer gifted me with. Our cultural connection lies in our womanhood—our frailties, secrets, and lusts. These were our moments of silent prayer--places where we are held accountable for our beliefs.
Our text spoke of imagination and personal vision, therefore my research and inspiration primarily surrounded imagery. I explored the earnest work of contemporary and historical Latina performance artists like Astrid Hadad and Regina Jose Galindo; the melodrama and epic caricature within Pedro Almodovar’s storytelling; and the ethereal bedtime stories of winged messengers and dead giants by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This shaped itself into a specific “deity” within collaboration—aggressive, sensitive, dark, and mythic.
Through this work I found myself redefining the oxygen that nature and its trees can provide. A unique nature that varied according to character yet is founded in us all. Oxygen and breath that is too often lost, yet somehow maintained in the life of women.
Thus, validating our need for excess and clarity within irrationality.
By revisiting my tree climbing days, I am able to discover my own nature by returning to my roots.
Where do you worship?
Purchase your tickets for When Nature Calls, here.