A work-in-progress in collaboration with Sojourn Theatre.
A woman sits in a Kansas City office long after hours. She writes, shreds & writes again, evolving a message that boils a terribly complex set of emotions into a short series of words perfect for the inside of a greeting card. Turning out to the audience, she teaches the intricate process through which a Hallmark card is created. Seeking clarity, she pictures cornfields. A sunset. A family farm. A fireplace with stockings, light in the darkness. She is not in Kansas City anymore…
A DJ is trapped in his booth. Outside, uninformed voices are everywhere. Inside are gift cards to give away. He is fanatical about the KC scene that helped defined jazz in America, he only sees unmitigated chaos now. Improvisation takes discipline, and he sees none. Everything is past, or masochistically dissonant. He speaks to the audience beyond his glass, dissects the mechanics of a jazz session: one musician measuring another, the protocol for voicing disrespect, how consensus on a tune is abandoned & reclaimed. He teaches listening. And the music carries him around the river’s bend, to where the Missouri meets the Mississippi & heads north, arriving in Davenport, where a white kid named Bix learned to play the trumpet.
An examination of what it means to be a union on personal and national levels. How do we listen? How do we talk to each other? And what do we do while waiting for the other ______ to be ready.
Commissioned by Kansas City Repertory Theatre; workshop production February 2013.