In , she took me back so tenderly, loss and regeneration shape-shift, dance, cling, fold, blink, burn and are filed away into multiple experiences that inform our present moment. If we have ever lost something – keys, cities, identities, loves – we have had to confront the same questions the show tries to trace: What lies at the end of loss? Do endings teach those who live on, how to live well?Let the dying go on, and let me, if I can, Inherit from disaster, before I move. — Mary Oliver, “No Voyage”
Rarely do we find ourselves in a place to choose death, and I feel an immense gratitude to all those who have supported the end of this voyage that started in 2005. As banished? productions‘ main guardian, the closure is but one of many invaluable lessons that only the raising of this company could have taught me. Those who have seen how the banished? sausage is made (50% skin, heart and entrails, 30% snacks, 10% gaff tape, 6% glue, 4% string) know that my learning curve was steep. Closing banished? gives us a chance to compost our grandest failures, prideful egos, unmet expectations, hurt and joy, even past triumphs and goodwill, to make room for greater graces and to seed the magnificent unknown.
The work of banished? has always been immersed in paradox. We have always championed the weird and unfathomable, the things that are hard to put a finger on but crawl under our skin, into our (sub)consciousness, viscera or memory. Together we imagined and arrived at brave new worlds and created ways for our different earthly realities to exist in them. We found stories to tell no matter where we found ourselves, and we tried to leave our endings open and imploring. We nestled in that in-between space which moved beyond hybridity and sometimes veiled us in obscurity. Perhaps we have always wished for transcendence from the start and here we are, hard at work to manifest it to the very end.
Standing where we are now, in between death and the unknown, we have one last story to tell with , she took me back so tenderly,. I can say it has been a pleasure and an honor to witness how with a little bit of strange and dumb luck everything came to be, fueled by people generously offering their spirit to the work. A once-roaring avant-pop fire fizzes spectacularly into embers, befitting a journey that was tumultuous and tender. No doubt we will miss what we used to be, yearn for what we never could be, and dream of what else we might have become.
Who holds our hand as we fade away? How might we console our own deepest sorrows? What is left behind beyond sentiment? We hope you will close your eyes, remember your favorite banished? touch, taste, or smell, and be there as we take one last breath and dive in.
Carmen C. Wong is Founder, Artistic Director, Producer, and Board member of banished? productions