I remember the first time I felt the giant wall drop in Mimi Lien’s incredible set for Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s AN OCTOROON. I composed original music for the piece, and in tech rehearsal the creative team decided we needed to feel the wall fall from the front row. As the tremendous panel slowly tipped towards us we were all screaming, laughing, curling up into our seats, and trying desperately just to keep our eyes open. When it landed with a shocking gust of air we all leapt up howling in wild gestures of glee and terror. I had a thought in that unforgettable moment. This theater is a place where people are brought into the closest contact with the sensation of being alive.
Soho Rep. is a laboratory of emotion and imagination. It is a place you go to experience sublime discomfort in a community of awe. It is a like a tiny cathedral where you will always encounter something greater than yourself.
As an artist who was raised by community organizers I have asked myself over and over again, “What good am I doing this troubled world by being an artist?”
I like to imagine all humanity as a brain with 7.5 billion neurons. My job is to be one tiny neuron dedicating itself towards the imagination. Together with every other artist, creative thinker and innovator in the world we try to imagine worlds of possibility, where the unsolvable ins solved, the incurable is cured and the unthinkable is thought. I believe that art, and theater in particular, has a crucial role to play in designing what kind of world is possible.
Soho Rep. magnifies the crucial and exceptional imaginings of artists by putting every particle of their resources into the work you see onstage. Artistic Director Sarah Benson demands that each production be an unfiltered imaginative act straight from the mind of the creators to the senses of the audience. I am so thankful that Soho Rep. exists because each one of its productions makes me more human, it makes this giant collective of humanity so much more richer in imagination, and it reminds me over and over of the simple and improbably fact of being alive.
I hope you’ll support Soho Rep. with a donation. If you do I can promise you that your contribution will go directly towards helping some extraordinary, invaluable and singular imaginative acts come into being.