Professional performance sparks discussion
THE SANTA CLARA
April 3, 2014
Actors and dancers from Tandy Beal & Co. led audiences through a two–hour exploration of mortality, realities and the mysteries of death in the Mayer Theatre this past weekend.
The performance, Hereafterhere: A Self-Guided Tour of Eternity, intertwined the arts of dramatic theatre, dance, video and spoken word with the beliefs and traditions surrounding death from a collection of cultures from around the world. This performance encouraged the discussion of what follows our life on earth, rather than an answer to the question of where we go when we die.
The play incorporated a variety of cultural elements. Viewers listened to the famous last words of visionaries ranging from Sigmund Freud to Groucho Marx, and to the didactic texts of societies as widespread as the Jewish people to those of the ancient tribes of Africa.
Dancers dressed in flowing gowns responded to voiceovers with serene — yet expressive —movement. Video clips of diverse individuals were interspersed throughout the performance, each expressing their own hopes, fears, expectations and questions about death.
“I’ve always been fascinated with death,” said director Tandy Beal. “Everyone is going to do it, but no one wants to talk about it.”
The performance was brought to the school through the Department of Theatre and Dance and the Justice for the Arts program, a part of SCU Presents that seeks to integrate social issues with the artistic world. Beal believes strongly in the connection between the two worlds.
“I’m at the point in my life where art and service need to connect,” said Beal. “It doesn’t make sense to me that they don’t.”
Barbara Murray, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance, was influential in bringing the show to campus.
“I saw it a number of years ago and I just thought, this is something so Santa Clara,” said Murray. “Santa Clara needs to see this. Of all the things I have seen done by (Beal)’s company, this is the one that tied in most with the university’s mission.”
Tandy Beal & Co. has a long history and strong tie with the university. Beal lectured at Santa Clara for several years in the past, and choreographed Images, one of the dances for a student performance in Santa Clara’s annual dance review.
Each performance, taking place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, drew audiences of approximately 200 to 250 people. The performances were followed by a question-and-answer session led by representatives from Hospice, the Center for Living with Dying and the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment.
The show was also accompanied by a series of panel discussions on the process of death, intended to help further contemplation of the end of life beyond the stage. Among the speakers was a variety of religious leaders as well as professors of religion, philosophy and anthropology from both Santa Clara and University of California, Berkeley.
Beal has hopes to find a producer for the show and take it on tour.
Contact Nicolas Sonnenburg at email@example.com .