The Chocolate Factory
Oct 26-29 2022

Something personal.  A means of transmission.  Bearing witness.  

VESSEL is a practice, not a performance.  It asks all involved to engage their senses and imaginations in the process of listening on different – and deeper – levels; embracing the unseen as a palpable state of possibility.

VESSEL is thematically influenced by post-colonialist writer Édouard Glissant’s Poetics of Relations, in which he explores the concept of opacity as the unquantifiable definition of ‘other’; questioning our ability to truly know another or even ourselves within the constructs of socio-political identity. Thomson and his collaborators translate these questions into the semiotics of the visual, asking: how can we subvert the relationship between audience and performer and the deeply habitual act of visual interpretation as truth…to reimagine the poetics of presence?

VESSEL is the culmination of a three-year process of building a physical practice of surrender, freedom and alterity with a group of artists I admire.  It is a continuation of my research into questions of identity, and how presence and absence operate within the human experience.

Created and performed by David Thomson with Jaguar Mary X, Katrina Reid, Katie Workum, and Nehemoyia Young. Visual Design by Peter Born and Athena Kokoronis. Sound Design by James Lo. Lighting Design by Stan Pressner. Production Stage Manager: Tricia Tolliver.

Commissioned by The Chocolate Factory Theater with major support from Café Royal Cultural Foundation, NYSCA, Dance/NYC Advancement Fund, Lunder Institute for American Art, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.