On the Cusp

(click on the image to watch the video)

Tongues, Sam Shepard
Cascando, Samuel Beckett
Playing God
The Gas Heart, Tristan Tzara
September 24-25, 2021 • SITE/less, 1250 Augusta Blvd


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Historically, Western culture has identified persons who are not members of the privileged class as “others” or “outsiders” and seeks to conceal their existence by casting men to play women’s parts, whites to perform in blackface, redface, and yellowface, and non-disabled actors to portray disabled characters. Where are the boundaries between sound, speech, act, silence, metaphor, and the real? Who determines who is “in”, who is “out,” and who is “other”?

On the Cusp investigates these and other boundaries. Poised between theatre, music, and movement; between story, song, and act; between mundane, alien, and ecstatic, the four works that are On the Cusp open onto dark worlds of difference and reveal who is “outside” and “in,” where power and agency lie, and how art can further resistance.

Performed by artists with and without disabilities and part of a thematic exploration of the junction of “Otherness” and Power, On the Cusp features Playing God, a new work by Enama based on the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, with additional classic works of the past century including Tongues by Sam Shepard, Cascando by Samuel Beckett, and Tristan Tzara’s The Gas Heart.

a ladder beckons … a narrative fractures … a voice is silenced …

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On the Cusp is an in-person | live-streamed hybrid event on the cusp of technology and immersion. For the full immersive experience, please bring your WiFi-enabled device capable of playing YouTube video (e.g. smartphone, iPad, etc.) and headphones or earbuds.


Enama, Playing God
based on poetry by Gwendolyn Brooks
Enama, Performer

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Sam Shepard, Tongues
Arlene Malinowski, Speaker
Steve Butters, Percussion
Theo Economides, Video

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Samuel Beckett, Cascando
Kao Ra Zen, Opener
Michael Herzovi, Voice
Christophe Preissing, Music
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Tristan Tzara, The Gas Heart
EYE, Kao Ra Zen
MOUTH, Arlene Malinowski
NOSE, Andy Slater
EAR, Deirdre Harrison
NECK, Kyle Price
Choreography, Michelle Kranicke
Original Score, Christophe Preissing
Madeleine, Madeleine, Kyle Price
Violin, Owen Ruff
Cello, Oli Harris
Clarinet, Jennifer Woodrum
Trombone, Chris Misch
Percussion, Steve Butters

ACCESSIBILITY : On the Cusp and SITE/less are wheelchair accessible. Captioning and complete texts will be provided online and in print both evenings. Audio interpretation will be provided at the Saturday, September 25 show. A wheelchair accessible/gender-neutral restroom will be available. Please refrain from wearing scented products. For other accommodation requests, please contact Christophe Preissing at non@nonopera.org

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This program is partially supported by grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency
and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.

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