After several performances indoors and up in the forest and fields, and an excerpted show along the edge of New York Harbor, ‘Secrets and Seawalls‘ burst forth to confront the awesome power of the Atlantic Ocean this weekend. A full-on performance of our evolving dance piece was staged at Fort Tilden in the Rockaways, beginning amongst the forlorn shells of buildings that served this Army base that was active in the two world wars and has long since been abandoned. The second act swept dancers and audience south to the endless nearby beach and the edge of the mercurial sea.
What a revelation each unique site provides! Since we agreed from the start that there would be no designed theatrical sets, the interpretation of the themes of vulnerability, protection, secrets, solitude and community continually morphs to adapt, and is enriched by the specificity and allusion delivered by the performance’s physical context. How haunting is the dialogue between the bodies of graceful and expressive dancers and the ghostly remains of buildings that offered shelter and housed complex human lives! How small and powerless are we against the wide and scaleless expanse of the horizon and the massive and uncontrolable ocean! How musical and invigorating are the breezes that punctuate time and movement! How unstoppable are the sun and clouds as they offer and then deny warmth and light!
‘Secrets and Seawalls’ has already lived several lives and it will go on to live many more. Its meaning will grow richer and more resolute as a direct result of the vast potential for its own metamorphosis. Stay tuned for its next incarnation…
Lee H. Skolnick, FAIA
Co-creator of ‘Secrets and Seawalls’