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Sibyl Kempson: 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens: Winter Solstice

Wed, Dec 19–Fri, Dec 21, 2018

Floor 3, Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater

The twelfth and culminating Shout in this three-year cycle of performances marks the Winter Solstice. In this final reflection, each of the previous seasons are honored over the course of a three-day installation in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater. On display are the materials from rituals, relics from key characters, and Suzanne Bocanegra’s iconic costumes, alongside live vignettes and music performed by Kempson and collaborators. Past performers return to guide tours, surfacing memories and connecting narrative artifacts that have stretched across the seasons and years. Artist Maria Baranova-Suzuki’s videos, Paula Court’s photographs, and Tei Blow’s soundscapes provide rich visual and sonic documentation of these past occasions. Astrological guide Omie Johnson shares her readings of the angles and transits aspected in the skies over the course of the project, illuminating the themes and imagery that contributed to Kempson’s scripts and concepts for each Shout.

Each day looks back on a year’s cycle of the Shouts: December 19 focuses on Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter of 2016; December 20 emphasizes the seasons of 2017; and December 21 highlights the current year and Winter Solstice of 2018. The beginning of winter is a reminder of the important shift from darkness towards light, and will be observed with a healing ceremony, open to the public, occurring at the exact moment of Solstice on Friday, December 21 at 5:23 pm EST.

Event Highlights

December 21, 5 pm
Pamella and Daniel DeVos Family Largo
Healing Ceremony in concurrence with the Winter Solstice.

The Healing Ceremony is free.

December 21, 7–10 pm
Susan and John Hess Family Theater, Floor 3
Super Shout: Screening of Maria Baranova-Suzuki’s video portraits of each past Shout.

The screening is free but registration is required. Sibyl Kempson welcomes donations during the event, which will be given to an organization supporting immigrant and refugee legal services.


Full schedule of events.

Statement from the Artist

This is our chance to look at what we have done. We look at the accumulation of our works. At the current moment, we face Autumn’s direction, the West: the place of how we have made our living—of where the money comes from—and ask deeply whether the work we do is aligned with our soul’s purpose. Whether we are working for a cause we would truly die for. In the days leading up to the Solstice we look at how we have participated in the events that are unfolding on the Earth. The Winter Solstice on December 21 inspires us with the slow return of the Sun’s warmth and we turn to the North: the place from where Winter comes, where the procession and succession of generations transpires. We face our ancestors and they ask us, “What is the legacy you are leaving behind here?” We answer by bringing in an intention, which is the seed of our future actions, in the time we have left.

This is the Day of the Long Night. The more unstable the conditions, the more enormous is the potential consequence carried within every action. Where we have done wrong, we find a way to make it right. It may be the white light of protection which is exposing these threads and cords that tie our decisions to events and actions unfolding before us in the world. Could it be for our own good? Regardless, sudden vision is very sudden. And we are left scrounging around in the dark for strength and understanding.

When the fire of anger and collective rage consumes or isolates us, we ask to learn to let it light the way through the darkness. In the scary corners where the light of that fire does not reach, may we set fear aside and find a place to surrender ourselves in vulnerability to the process of healing. We gently wash away the poisons which hinder our vision—with tears. And for those who do not have tears, let us gently wash their eyes, so they each can see clearly and with fully conscious awareness the impact of their decisions. We ask that this light which is exposing the harshest and cruelest realities be transmuted to the light of illumination, and finally to gather into a dawn of inspiration, so that as we gather our strength with the increasing warmth and light of the Sun, we see how we might best help.

There is no such thing as coincidence. Everything you are seeking is also seeking you.

Production Credits

About the Artist
Sibyl Kempson is a playwright, director, and performer, and is the 2018 recipient of the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American Playwright in Mid-career. She founded 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. in 2015. Her plays have been presented in New York City, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Omaha, Bonn, and Austin. She is a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow, a 2013–14 McKnight National Resident and Commissionee, a four-time Mondo Cane! Commissionee at Dixon Place, a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, and a graduate of New Dramatists, Class of 2017.

Sarah Willis
Dee Dorcas Beasnael
Brandon Alex Oakes
Jodi Melnick
Elke Luyten
Kira Alker
Omie Johnson
Donna Brickwood

Alexis Powell
Camille Harris
Milica Paranosic

Camille Harris
Johnny Gasper
Wayne Tucker

Tei Blow: sound design
Suzanne Bocanegra: costume design
Darlene Farris-LaBar: seed and flower sculpture design
Omie Johnson: astrological dramaturgy
Kira Alker and Elke Luyten: choreography
Jodi Melnick: choreography
Amanda Villalobos: installation design
Molly Zimmelman: stage management

Production Assistance
Leonie Bell: assistant stage management
Johnny Gasper: sound assistance and band leader
Theodora Lang: costume assistance
Lillian White, Kat Moritz, Nora Daly: production assistance

12 Shouts Docents
Kira Alker
Rolls Andre
Jed Bark
Dee Dorcas Beasnael
Lynn Bechtold
Leonie Bell
James Benson
Maria Camia
Tymberly Canale
Woo Jae Chung
Hye Young Chyun
Darlene Farris-LaBar
Anne Gridley
Camille Harris
Greta Hartenstein
Eleanor Hutchins
Oceana James
Robert M Johanson
Sibyl Kempson
Danielle Levy
Molly Lieberman
Mo Lioce
Elke Luyten
Jodi Melnick
Tavish Miller
Brandon Alex Oakes
Milica Paranosic
Max Pollack
Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowkski
Kourtney Rutherford
Sarah Scholl
Mioi Takeda
Jay Wegman
Jessica Weinstein
Sarah Willis

Special thanks to Mount Tremper Arts.

The Susan and John Hess Family Theater is equipped with an induction loop and infrared assistive listening system. Accessible seating is available.

Learn more about access services and amenities.

COVID-19 vaccination and face coverings are not required, but strongly recommended for all visitors. Plan your visit and review our visitor policies.



A 30-second online art project:
Sara Ludy, Tumbleweeds

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