Updated: Feb 6, 2022
The Spring Equinox event kicked off the Talleres for Dreaming Series, which is an ongoing collaboration with a todo dar productions and Galeria E.V.A. The letter below, written by Virginia Grise from a todo dar productions, invites friends, family, and collaborators across mountains, deserts, and oceans to join us on our journey.
When I was in graduate school, worried about how I was going to make a living as a theatre artist, I had a mentor say to me, “It’s simple. Just ask us to meet you under a tree.” I don’t think I understood what he was trying to say to me then but I think about that advice often.
At the beginning of the pandemic when theatres went dark, instead of making plays, I tried to make a garden. And then I tried to make a play about a garden virtually using construction paper and measuring tape, shadows and puppets. This weekend I will transfer my seedlings and plant new plants in my garden. And even though I have yet to feel any sort of ancestral memory of working in the soil, I have learned so many things:
Gardening is a daily practice.
Gardening is a daily practice that requires patience and care and for you to listen.
Plants are resilient.
Life is miraculous.
Even the most resilient die when they are not fed.
I like fennel.
I do not like turnips.
I am also learning something I have yet to fully articulate about grounding, what it means to root. You are a part of my garden, our root systems are intertwined and interconnected. Even when we do not speak, you support me, nourish me, help me grow. I am grateful to be in conversation with you, to think and create with you, to imagine and build with you, to dream with you.
March 20th is the first day of Spring – a new season, a time for rejuvenation, rebirth, reflection. I want to commemorate that day with the people I love fiercely, that love me back fiercely. If I could, I would throw a huge backyard party with music and food and tell stories all night about how we survived last year and the ways we didn’t, about what we learned and about the things we have always known and we would cry and laugh and dance together counterclockwise like they do in South Texas. This is the theatre I want to make.
On March 20th, I will be safely gathering with three other friends. We have decided to make barbacoa over an open flame. We are going to hold an all-night velación to welcome the new season. Spring. We are creating a performance around this gathering which is to simply say there will be a beginning and an end, stories shared, breath, an in the moment live exchange between people. And I’d like to ask you – if you are willing – to meet us under a tree. To safely leave your house on March 20th any time during the day and welcome the new season in whatever way you want to – knowing that there are others doing the same that day – maybe it is a commemoration, a celebration, a picnic, a walk, a prayer, a song, a dance, a eulogy. There are just a few things I ask: that at least one person act as witness to what you create that day, that you document what you create (again, any way you want to) it could be a photograph, a video, a drawing, a poem, an audio file and that you be willing to share it with us before the end of the week, o sea March 27th.
I am hoping that March 20th will mark a shift for me, moving towards a deeper grounding, rooting, a nourishing of our collective root systems. Over this next year, not only do I want to make an effort to welcome each season but I also want to make the commitment to connect with you more often. After you have shared your documentation, I will make an appointment to call you and talk about your experience. I hope you will join us. I miss you. I miss you fiercely.
PS: You can check out some of our online Sister Gardens posts on the @atododarproductions Instagram page by artists Jodi Voice Yellowfish, Carolina Aranibar-Fernández, Marguerite Hemmings, Saretta Morgan, Priscilla Ybarra, Blanka Amezkua, Victor I. Casarez, Adela Licona, Veronica Castillo, Netza Moreno, and Jae Taveras.