Artists & Projects Directory
As a child born into the tail end of the civil rights era, my
parents ingrained in my siblings and me, early on, the importance of community
and voice. No matter what we experience as people, our ability to be
authentically self-expressed is often "at risk." The greatest
revolutionary act that any of us can take on in life is to know, honor and give
voice to who we really are. This is the struggle- to be real, and in being
real, each of us has the opportunity to be well and when we are well, we ARE
free. -Rha Goddess
What is Insanity? This 75-minute, multidisciplinary solo theater piece explores the mythology, stigma, fear and confusion surrounding mental illness. Using a stunning fusion of poetry, music and prose, Goddess brings us the story of Lowquesha- a vibrant young woman's all too common journey through the mental health system. In LOW, Goddess unflinchingly depicts the very human tragedy of mental illness in contemporary culture in a riveting portrayal that is furious, funny, dark and hopeful. Brilliantly staged and directed by Chay Yew, LOW offers up an equal dose of laughter, outrage and compassion - bitingly articulate and modulated for emotional power.
Alongside LOW, and in partnership with Dr. Peter Fraenkel, a New York City College professor of psychology, Goddess developed a pioneering study to explore the therapeutic impact a work of art has on an important social issue. Participation involves completing brief questionnaires before and after the performance and taking part in a facilitated post-performance discussion. Results of this study, which has been approved by City College Institutional Review Board and abides by standard guidelines of confidentiality, show significant changes in attitudes of audience members after seeing this work. First implemented at performances of LOW at 651ARTS (Brooklyn, NY), the method of collaboration has emerged as a national model for community engagement.
LOW was a co-production of Divine Dime Entertainment, Ltd and Sasha Dees for Made in da Shade which had its world premiere at the Humana Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville in March-April 2006. Lead commissioning support was provided by 651ARTS (Brooklyn, NY) and New World Theater (Amherst, MA). LOW received generous support from: Meet the Composer, Association of Performing Arts Presenters Next Steps Program, Jerome Foundation, The NPN Creation Fund; New York State Council on the Arts, Kentucky Foundation for Women. LOW was developed during residencies at: Theater Lantaren/Venstar (Rotterdam, The Netherlands); The Actor's Theatre of Louisville (KY); New York Theatre Workshop (New York, NY); Center for Creative Education (Stone Ridge, NY); and North American Cultural Laboratory (Highland Lakes, NY).
Presenters of LOW included: Actors Theater of Louisville (Louisville, KY); 651 ARTS (Brooklyn, NY); Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia, PA); Cincinnati Playhouse (Cincinnati, OH); Hip Hop Theater Festival/MCA (Chicago, IL); Pillsbury House Theater (Minneapolis, MN); Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theater (New York, NY); Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (Miami, FL); Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, MD); VSA Arts of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM); and Carolina Performing Arts Center at the University of North Carolina.