by Kirby LindsayOver an entire lunar year, starting October 2008, Lucia Neare and her large company of performers, supporters and enthralled audiences celebrated 13 performances of Lullaby Moon. This month, on Friday, September 10, Lullaby Moon will wrap its magic around Gasworks Park once more. Do not be surprised if you haven’t heard about this experience – and do not hear of it elsewhere. That is part of the wonder of it all.
Neare envisioned and conceived the large scale performance piece, and promised “a glorious evening underneath the stars,” to the privileged thousands who see, and become engaged, in the show. Yet, she did not want to divulge specific details on what people will see. “I like the mystery of it,” she admitted, “If they are curious, they can come and see.”
She has not advertized the shows in a conventional way. Instead, word spreads from friend to friend (Fremocentrist.com learned of the performance through Facebook ‘friends’) – and Neare expects a few thousand will show up for the September rising of the new moon. The last show she did at Gasworks Park, in July of 2009, had an audience of about 4,000 people. She expects about the same this time, and hopes not to get many more. The show is not designed for an audience of more than 7,000, she explained.
“It’s really a remarkable experience,” admitted Jim Kelly, Executive Director of King County 4Culture. “I have no idea what it is going to be, but based on my experience of her work,” Kelly explained of Neare, “it will be wonderful.”
A Site-Specific Performance
For her 13 performances in 2008/2009, Neare received funding through the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Seattle Parks & Recreation, 4Culture’s Site Specific Performance Network, and, as mentioned frequently on the website, ‘the generosity of private donors.’ 4Culture has funded this special, one-time only performance of Lullaby Moon.
“We started doing site specific performances,” Kelly explained, to take the arts out into suburban, and under-exposed, areas of the County. He used the example of the dance community, which often performs to their own circle – without opportunities at, or interplay with, unfamiliar audience members. Once outside urban areas, however, they found very few theater-like spaces available. So, 4Culture staff asked, ‘what if we took things outside?’
Neare’s works often take place outside, due to their large scale and her desire to meet audiences where they live. Kelly reported that his first encounter with her work came about 4 years ago with a piece called ‘Lullaby Carriage,’ performed in Duvall and Vashon Island. “She expanded the idea to Lullaby Moon,” Kelly explained, and staged the thirteen performances at various parks around Seattle. Each performance would be different, depending on their locations – such as incorporating the water at Gasworks and Golden Gardens, or sprawling over a series of small sites such as the November 26, 2008 performance that moved through Greenwood, Phinney Ridge, and Fremont Peak Park.
“She calls her works Theatrical Wonders,” explained Kelly, “I can only call them extravaganzas!” Kelly described the work as non-narrative. On the website, Neare mentions influences of poetry, whimsy, dance and opera – so audiences can expect a truly stunning sight. “It’s really magical,” Kelly finally described, “The word is magic!”
Lullaby Moon will grace Gasworks Park starting at 7p on September 10th. Audience members may wish to bring a blanket or sleeping bag for warmth during the show and, Neare admitted, “we appreciate it when people do wear white,” but such participation is not required. Also, the show will be free, thanks to 4Culture and Neare, as will be the memories it creates.
©2010 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.