Letters from the Aftermath
A young woman walks to her car after a late-night study session. A girl stands in the front row at a concert. A man catches up with an old friend. Four women are separated after arriving at a party. In each of these situations, something goes wrong. Each of these people falls prey to the same tragedy that strikes one in five college-age women, and each one must choose how to deal with the fallout and public opinion about their sexual assault.
Almost everyone is affected by sexual assault and rape culture, whether they themselves have been assaulted or they just continue to pass on the same well-intentioned but poorly formulated “advice.” Many of us live in the space in between, aware of the issue but not bothering to consider the nuances. Letters from the Aftermath is my adventure into the moments in an assault victim’s life that the media and the world would rather ignore. Whose responsibility should it be to prevent assault? How does that conflict with what we hear and say today?
Ultimately, Letters will act as an intermediary, a collection of musical works for various ensembles that are open to interdisciplinary collaboration (particularly with actors and dancers) but also can be presented as standalone pieces. Each installment is story-driven, emphasizing the need for more voices in the conversation about sexual assault. Letters will immerse concertgoers in a victim’s/survivor’s/casualty’s world, drawing the audience in but requesting that they kindly leave their traditions at the door.
Just remember, with assault, there’s only one rule….
- This Is What Love Is, 2020—two voices (open duration)
- burn it, 2019—fixed media (2’30”)
- stories/walk free, 2019—fixed media (10′)
- Panic I and Panic II, 2019—open score*
- walking/I’m sorry, Mom, 2019—two narrators and moving a cappella choir (~5′)
- You Probably Don’t Remember Me, 2019—harp and fixed media (3’45”)
- People Talk, 2018—symphony orchestra and roaming, raging narrator (with option for chamber orchestra—15′)
- women’s work (collective mend), 2018—mezzo-soprano and objects (3′, free download!)
- like no one’s watching, 2018—one or more victims/survivors/casualties (open score, free download!)
- Take What You Want, 2018—two narrators with sad stories (3′)
- He Probably Just Likes You, 2017—ten jazz musicians and narrator (5’30”)
- Don’t Tell, 2016 – fixed media (5′)
N.B.: works with an asterisk (*) were created during the development of face the mirror.
Watch Don’t Tell featuring original choreography by Sofia Klass (myself, Sofia, Kezia Madarang, Alicia Bobb, and Emilee Iuvara, dancers):
Watch People Talk as performed by The Ensemble at CalArts (Nicholas Deyoe, conductor; Leila Jay, narrator):
Below I’m compiling a list of my blog posts and other writings that directly relate to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or other aspects of rape culture.
- To Mark Swed Re: Plácido Domingo, 10/4/2019
- “Know My Name” and the Complexity of Post-Assault Relationships, 9/25/2019
- Pardon Our Dust (This Work Is Messy), 8/17/2019
- Music, Weaponized Vulnerability, and the Question of Us, 8/10/2019
- Curtis Institute’s Non-Apology and Actionable First Steps, 7/29/2019
- Audience Participation vs. Performer Protection: A Snapshot, 7/20/2019
- Fuck the Maestro Mentality, 7/13/2019
- the performance of affection in male spaces, 6/29/2019
- Stay Informed, Help Your Friends: A Survivor’s (Super-Abridged) Guide to Things You Should Know, 4/27/2019
- Don’t Shout (And Other Suggestions For Allies-In-Training), 4/20/2019
- The Men in the Gray Area, 4/13/2019
- A Counterintuitive Guide to Mandated Title IX Reporting, 4/6/2019
- Recital in Review: face the mirror and its process, 3/9/2019
- that girl onstage isn’t me, 3/2/2019
- Schrödinger’s Rapist and His Presence in Male Spaces, 1/20/2019
- We Don’t Report, 9/29/2018
- this does not feel good, 9/22/2018
- Coming to Terms, 8/25/2018
- A Memo to Private Teachers/A Thank You to my Dance Instructors, 7/28/2018
- On the “#MeToo Generation,” Per the President, 7/9/2018
- my mother was right (about concertgoing), 6/7/2018
- An Open Letter to Mayim Bialik, 10/15/2017
- Remain in Your Seats: When Sexual Respect Training Goes Wrong, 9/5/2017
- Dear Teenage Girls, You Deserve Better, 6/14/2017
- Bringing’ It Back: Don’t Tell Enters the Jazz World, 3/20/2017
- On Jazz Performance and the Isolation of Women, 3/11/2017
- Don’t Tell: February Premieres and Shenanigans, 2/7/2017