Nora Chipaumire: Miriam
March 15 - March 16, 2013
“She’s a riveting figure, a theatrical warrior…stomping and prowling and transforming the stage into a freighted, separate universe that seemed to vibrate with feeling.”—The Miami Herald
From a pile of rocks, cloaked in darkness, a woman slowly emerges. Thus begins Miriam, choreographer Nora Chipaumire’s latest exploration of "otherness” born from her own journey out of her native Zimbabwe.
This dance/theater work plunges the viewer into a dreamlike world of presence and absence, lightness and darkness, earthly materials and alien sounds. With the audience surrounding the performance, Chipaumire’s immersive installation and hallucinatory performance challenges us to confront the difficulty of approaching the world as an outsider.
Her efforts are abetted and haunted by an otherworldly character—both angel and devil— by actor/dancer Okwui Okpokwasili. In their interplay, Miriam renders in vivid images the intensity of women who fight to create new realities for themselves despite the dual legacies of strict cultural traditions and imperialist views that have defined female beauty and power.
The inspiration for Miriam springs from the cultural and political milieu of Chipaumire’s southern African girlhood, her self-exile to Europe and the US, and her self-discovery as an artist. But Miriam also reverberates with other literary and legendary influences: the writings of Joseph Conrad and Chenjerai Hove; the life of South African singer and activist Miriam Makeba; and the Christian iconography of Mary.