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Sibyl Kempson: 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens: Spring Equinox

MON, Mar 20, 2017
6–8 am

Floor One, Kenneth C. Griffin Hall

This performance, the fifth Shout in this cycle of twelve rituals, marks the beginning of the second year and will celebrate the upcoming Spring Equinox, which takes place on March 20, 2017 at 6:29 am EDT

The Spring Equinox presents a new beginning, a remaking of the world after the desolation of Winter. As a group, the audience will gather to mourn what is gone, and attempt to recall the ways and means that we have forgotten how to remember. This ancient knowledge has the potential to unearth new sources of information, ideas, and solutions, necessary to guide us forward and welcome new life. 

The performance will begin in the Museum’s lobby, where the audience gathers to be transported up to the 8th floor, the top of the building. There, the performers will lead the group through the exhibition Fast Forward: Paintings from the 1980s, briefly undergo a test, and cause a resurrection. The performance will include a light breakfast reception and conclude around 8 am.

12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens is a three-year iterative performance project by American playwright, director, and performer Sibyl Kempson with her theater company, 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. Presented at the Whitney on twelve occasions, 12 Shouts will mark each solstice and equinox occurring between March 2016 and December 2018 creating a new ceremonial calendar and a contemporary mythology.

Please note: The Museum's galleries will be closed to the public.

The performance begins at 6 am, and the doors open fifteen minutes before the program begins. Late arrivals will not be admitted.

This event has reached ticketing capacity. 


The audience is invited to bring the bone of something beautiful that died before its time. This might be an actual bone, or a sack of ashes, or a natural object that somehow symbolizes or has been charged with the spirit of that which was beautiful but died before its time.
A bone is dry, clean, and doesn’t have any living flesh on it. It has no bugs, it has no moisture or liquid. Nor is it all that fragile.
Shells are bones. 
Teeth are bones.
Dried sticks and roots are the bones of trees.
Birds’ nests are a kind of bones.
The entire bodies of certain very special insects can serve as bones in this instance.
Birds’ bones are bones.
There are rocks and stones that will hold a history or an event or a personality, and can serve as bones.
The jewelry of a person who has passed too early becomes part of their bones and can serve as such in this instance. Especially pearls.
A shoe is possibly a bone.
A tool can be a bone for a dead way of doing things.
A pamphlet or scroll with a manifesto or a prayer inscribed upon it can serve as the bone of an idea or belief that has died before its time.
A drawing, for an image that has passed out of immediate consciousness, and which is missed.
All the audience should have something like this in mind, and in hand, as well.


Sibyl Kempson is a playwright, director, and performer, and a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow. She recently founded 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co., presenting Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag at the Abrons Arts Center in 2015. A resident playwright at New Dramatists, her play Fondly, Collette Richland, a collaboration with Elevator Repair Service, premiered at New York Theatre Workshop in September, 2015. Her plays have been presented in NYC, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Omaha, Bonn, and Austin, TX. She is a 2010 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a 2013–14 McKnight National Resident and Commissionee.

Dee Dorcas Beasnael 
Hye Young Chyun
Eleanor Hutchins
Oceana James
Sibyl Kempson
Stephen McGroarty
Jodi Melnick
Brandon Alex Oakes
Sarah Willis

Tei Blow: sound design
Suzanne Bocanegra: costume design
Lenore Doxsee: lighting design
Omie Johnson: astrological imagery
Jodi Melnick: choreography
Alexis Powell: musical composition
Thomas Riccio: dramaturgy

Production Assistance
Ornela Lukac: costume assistance
Sarah Scholl: assistant stage management
Molly Zimmelman: stage management

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A 30-second online art project:
Ryan Kuo, Hateful Little Thing

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All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.