Beyond DarkCorners is a daring double bill of two complementary performances by DC-based artists Christopher Prince and Terry Sidney. While exploring a vast variety of topics and subject matter, their message was clear as a riveted audience took in Sidney’s final words echoing around the silent room: “These are our stories. They have been tested and tried, dragged over hot coals. There is no need for any of us to be ashamed.”
Powerful stuff. Prince starts the performance with a piece about the power of the individual and its status and voice within an army. “The warrior monuments conjured up images of a conveniently homogenized country,” Prince talks about his unwillingness to fight for a country that refuses to acknowledge and embrace all its people. The extended metaphor of a warrior and soldier is an effective entry into the broader subject of acceptance and of a society under siege. He follows with a monologue about a married man, “on the high jagged edge of despair overlooking the landscape of his life,” as he discovers his need to feel like a man. The spoken word poetry is imbued with deeper meaning and a cry out to society to stop the demise of our own doing, and anger at our brothers “so deep on the down-low.” There is an overwhelming appeal to embrace both yourself and each other, which deeply moved the audience, because we are “Hispanic, homosexual, disabled, empowered.”
Sidney took the stage for the latter part of the show with the story of his own identity, telling us that “any queen can sing a sad love song” but his story is a very personal and painful one about his relationship with a man named Ron, a friend dying from his struggle with AIDS. The focus turns to the turbulent relationship between Sidney and Ron’s mother, ultimately asking the question, what is it to love? The story is gripping and the audience was enraptured, especially when it was accompanied by a soulful rendition of “Wade In The Water” by Nikita Vann, a strong presence on the tiny stage.
The audience is left pensively reflecting after having traveled though an immense range of emotions with a final message, “silence kills and shame represses the human spirit.” The performance is thoughtful, provoking and fabulous.
Walking Warrior written and performed by Christopher Prince
Directed by Gregory Ford
Music by Wayson Jones
Just As I Am written and performed by Terry Sidney
Music by Yvonne Johnson
Reviewed by Courtney Ulrich