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Phrases of Womanhood

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Phrases of Womanhood by Cynthia C Harris and OlaOmi Akalatunde

Phrases of Womanhood by Cynthia C Harris and OlaOmi Akalatunde

 

Summary

Phrases of Womanhood began as an exploration and an expression of what it is to be a black southern woman. A way to honor all the mother/aunt/sister/friends I have the privilege to know. “Phrases” was intended to be a space in which to display and revere the power of their ways and words. A place to reflect on how these women live out quite beautifully, what are thought to be contradictions, capturing in their essences the art of being aggressive and passive, seen and unseen, subtle and obvious, delicate and strong. However, in the course of this artistic exercise “Phrases of Womanhood” has become more than that. Through this process I’ve recognized similarities between all women regardless of their specific backgrounds. In my search to honor the power in women, to adapt flawlessly and to exist in a constant state of change, I was brought to another example of that power in nature… the wind. The wind because it too embodies contradiction. It is both destructive and creative. It can be gentle and brutal in one breeze. Yet most importantly, because the wind embodies the idea that some things are felt far more often than they are seen. Feel familiar?

Excerpt from Phrases of Womanhood

Ancestor says behind third woman: (directed toward the third busy woman)

Seldom do we realize even a fraction of our own possibility, never completing our circle, not knowing the wonder of a full revolution in this life. It is possible to ride a wave of yourself when there is too much to fit into your body. Take your head off and extend until you are whole. We forget that our own dreams can become fatal if not given light and voice. Blessings become curses if not acknowledged. But even then spirit does not leave you. It just waits for you to mend it. Hmmm…Mendin’. (Nodding her head.) Everybody’s spirit is in need of a little mendin’ sometimes. Because sometimes is the human part of our experience that gets in the way.

Production Information

Length: 1 hour, shorter version available

Props/Audio Items needed: varies

Production Type: movement piece with vocal expression

Original Cast Photos

Original Production with the Phoenix Ensemble and the Village Cultural Arts Center, Nashville, TN

Original Production with the Phoenix Ensemble and the Village Cultural Arts Center, Nashville, TN

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1 Comment

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