Opening Saturday, October 24th, at 2PM
Join the artists of a canary torsi and your fellow audience members for a sneak peek of Last Audience: a performance manual! Get to know the artistic minds and big ideas behind the project, and find out how to use these visually arresting manuals to create a unique performance on your own, or with family and friends. In this virtual event the artists are also joined by Chicago-based civic leaders and MCA Associate Curator Tara Aisha Willis to answer questions about the project and hold thought-provoking conversation about how rituals of judgement and reckoning shape our society and our collective future. Attendees will receive early access to one of the scores as a PDF to use at home.
About the publication
Bessie-award winning collaborative, a canary torsi, reimagines performance for an era of social distance. Delivered in the mail as a series of printed booklets or digitally as a PDF, Last Audience transforms audience members into performers in their own homes, guided by the artists’ voices through rituals of mercy, judgment, communion and blessing. As participants stage their own interpretation of the artwork, they become both witness and creator, giver and receiver in an at-home performance of reckoning and transformation.
Who are we when we’re in a community? How do we assemble in today’s faltering democracy? What is our responsibility to judge, liberate, and have mercy on others? How do we move and make choices as a group, separated by physical and cultural distance? How can we reimagine the intimacy of theater for a new future?
Last Audience is a live, at-home laboratory for communal conjuring created by the Bessie-award winning collaborative, a canary torsi. Originally premiered as a performance embodied by its audience in 2019, it is now a visually arresting artist’s book where the machinations of the work are laid bare. Last Audience places theater in the hands of the audience—as both witnesses and performers—and expands it back to an earlier form, gathered around the hearth.
Each audience member receives a set of printed manuals containing 28 performance scores via mail or a downloadable PDF. The instructional scores invite the audience member to interpret, recreate, and enact the performance. Last Audience comes straight to the recipient, and happens anywhere and anytime they want, punctuated with chances to connect in real-time with the artists and fellow audience members in virtual space. The audience becomes the assembly, the performers, the set and sound designer, and director in a ritual of mercy, judgment, blessing, communion, transformation, and democracy.
Drawing on iconic images in US history, theater’s ancient roots in Greek tragedy, and the structure of a requiem mass, these scores are, in artist Yanira Castro’s words, “a manual for collective imagination on reckoning.” Last Audience pushes us to create our world anew, together, in a time of upheaval. The scores specify movement, text, sound, and scenic elements, as well as a recipe, but can be arranged in any order. Do some or all of them at home, outdoors, alone, or with family and friends. Exactly how, where, when, and who takes part in Last Audience is for the audience members to imagine.
This Last Audience will be much bigger than any one of its participants. It invites audience members to connect with their fellow performers by sharing images of their performances through an online archive and to join the creative team behind the project, Yanira Castro, Kathy Couch, Stephan Moore, Leslie Cuyjet, devynn emory, David Thomson, for exclusive virtual gatherings.