as though your body were right

Jonathan Meyer

This work will be presented in January 2023 at the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival.

It is clear that the action of the thumbsucking child is determined by pleasure
Humans break themselves in like animals, which means to say, dressage
The body becomes a useful force only if it is both productive and subjugated
Destruction of trust in the world is equal to destruction of the self
That inside their boundless emotion all things may shudder with joy
I am talking about the cells and fluids witnessing themselves

-from the florilegium

This work is an invitation to confront the bodiliness of being human. It is a shared experience of the vulnerability of being a body, and of the power of being a body. It is a peeling back of one aspect of being human, the social skin that guards and protects all that is contained therein; the child, the infant, the animal, the organic mass, the incomprehensibly vast community of cells. It is a query to the wisdom of the cells, to offer some gleam of how to be one among many in a system that is vaster, more powerful, and more merciless that we can comprehend.
How does the cellular speak to the super-organismic? Can we love what is thoroughly and simultaneously our power and our vulnerability? Can we be just bodies together? Powerful and vulnerable, naked of the social? If we could, what would we gain thereby?

Jonathan is developing a new work driven by these ideas and questions. Research has been exploring what it would mean to choreograph the cells’ movement rather than the body’s; it has been reading, thinking, and writing about personal and systemic traumas; it has been grappling with how these two areas of inquiry relate.

The work being imagined might look something like:
An audience of four in a room within a room
A micro-theater, a puppet theater
The performer’s body as landscape
Watching the cells of the body murmurate like starlings
A creature that would live on such a landscape
Crawling over it, flying over it
Calling it home

This is an evolving work. Artists contributing to the project are:

Jonathan Meyer – direction, choreography, set design & construction, lighting design, dance performance
Sara Zalek – dance performance
Tom Lee – puppetry design & creation
Arden Lapin – puppetry performance
Amanda Maraist– dance performance
Margo O’Connell – puppetry performance
Lauren Kunath – puppetry performance development
Joe St.Charles – music & sound composition, in collaboration with Kevin Spafford

as though your body were right is one half of VICINITY DIPTYCH, and is being developed in tandem with Julia Antonick’s project Tend. These pieces are conceived as a performance diptych able to be experienced independently or as a double feature. The first iteration performance of these works was presented in fall of 2022.

Both works intend to significantly challenge the audience and simultaneously practice radical care for each attendee, inviting people into a safer space to delve into inherently uncomfortable but rewarding material. You are welcome to view the audience applications in preparation for future presentations of these works. The applications are solely to ensure open communication and informed consent.

as though your body were rightaudience application
Tendaudience application

Photography – Ian Vecchiotti
Pictured – Jonathan Meyer, Amanda Maraist
Puppets created by Tom Lee

To find scheduled events visit our calendar.