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All Of Us Islands
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Two astronauts are on the first manned mission to the far reaches of the outer solar system.  Along their journey, they explore the limits of human connection, and as they get closer and closer to the interstellar medium, the confines of physics begin to break down, making a full physical, mental, emotional and spiritual union between the characters potentially achievable.  

In 2016, Jordan Mechano approached me to direct & act in All of Us Islands. It is intellectually rigorous & imagistically rich, & Jordan wanted it embodied too. This was not his wheelhouse, but was mine.  For a number of reasons, we ended up moving on to other projects.  Then, in late January 2020, Jordan passed away at 33. Afterward, I determined to do this project, for two main reasons: It is an amazing piece of writing that deserves production (especially now after Covid; more on that below), & because I want to honour my friend & colleague, whose work was not appreciated enough in his lifetime. 


I decided to do this play after attending Jordan’s memorial. Days later, we entered the first lockdown. In lockdown, I had an ever-increasing sense that this play is a perfect metaphor for our pandemic experiences: It is about the paradox of our deep yearning for connection, & the immense obstacles to achieving it. We experienced a period of terrible isolation, which we will be processing for years. That has galvanized my desire to produce this show, because it deals directly with loneliness & connection. In light of Jordan’s death, this is particularly relevant, helping me connect to my friend, knowing that I, the artists and the audience will share something meaningful with Jordan, as his play helps us to reflect on our own experiences of isolation and yearning. 

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On September 15, 1945, in the U.S.-occupied town of Mittersill, Austria, an American soldier named Raymond Norwood Bell shot and killed the preeminent Austrian composer Anton Webern. In the court martial that followed, Bell was acquitted; however, he died a decade later (12 days shy of the 10th anniversary of Webern’s death), the victim of depression and heavy alcohol consumption fuelled by his overwhelming feelings of guilt over the event.


I am collaborating with composer Kieren MacMillan to bring this story to life.  Our “opera without singing” in|variance is an evening-length stage work of speculative semi-fiction. Incorporating movement, text, projections, and music played live by a string quartet, in|variance examines the death of Anton Webern and the cascade of actions, emotions, decisions and missed opportunities that led to Bell’s own death a decade later.  We are pulling from contemporary sources (court martial records and Webern’s journals), extensive research on Anton Webern’s life and works, current neuroscientific research on trauma, as well as interviewing Raymond Bell’s family, who live serendipitously close to my mother in North Carolina.  Running parallel to the historical sequence of events however, is an alternate version of Bell, who is able to find ways to process, integrate and heal the trauma of his wartime experience, giving him access to his Higher Self.  


in|variance explores themes of addiction and mental health, what healthy masculinity could look like, and human resilience: how we continue on in the face of life-shattering events. 


Over the next 12-24 months, we will be creating the remainder of the work, and flesh out the content into a treatment/script (unsung libretto?).  

Want to learn more or support the project?  Reach out to discuss a donation.


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Coming soon - LEARN MORE

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