I am drawn to the scene where the actors trace their own shadows on the ground which turns into a circle dance with hospital cots. What is the significance of the shadow in this piece? I see a cool darkness, a place of respite where one can hide or retreat to in order to regain strength, if only for a short while. But conversely, shadows can be a place where monsters lurk, The Abyss. But in a life of harsh truths & un-anesthesized pain, Anarcha, Betsy & Lucy perhaps might choose to navigate the abyss. Their spiritual belief system, which probably is some amalgam of Christianity & African Animism, might enable them to find some solace in that darkness.


To Feel No Pain

To Feel No Shame


Like a Shadow, I glide over walls

Cool & Silent, I bend into corners

And up to the ceiling

Free & untethered, Light & unbound


To Feel No Pain

To Feel No Shame

Like a Shadow…….


The song is multilayered in melody & rhythmic structure. It starts low & sails higher & higher. It is slow & lilting at first…minor & melancholy with spaces for instrumentation to glide between phrases. Then it is reprised with an overlay or counterpoint of voices and instruments that gives it an increase…a fuller, lusher, swell. Just underneath the last few phrases, percussion slips in, subtle at first. Perhaps handclaps, the shadow of the church, the rhythm called calypso, the foundation of lively Black church music. The song takes on this rhythm for the third reprise & the spaces between phrases disappear to adjust. The words lean rock, push & dance with one another. As the song ends, leaving the handclaps bare, more percussion is quickly added. Perhaps, African ago-go bell or Brazilian Pandiero. A melodic chant is revealed. It should kind of materialize as if it was there all along but we're just now hearing it. Searching the abyss, going down through the layers. The chant is not an original one from Africa . Rather, it is a vocable, a scat that suggests Africa as well as a sense of release. I have felt this release many times in the Black church as well as in live African ceremonial & party music. The dense sound of human voices riding on loping percussion. The surge of energy, power & strength. I want to believe that Anarcha & family could call this down, could call upon this power & create a space of peace & revival for themselves. I have to believe.


Eh-Eh-Eh Ata-bah-tay-Oh, Ata-bah-tay-Oh

Ata-bah-tay-Oh, Sha-To Go, Ata-bah-tay-Oh

---- Tiye Giraud