In this compelling interdisciplinary peformative work Moss, explores the nuanced and not so nuanced legacy of the abolitionist John Brown. The piece, which is structured in seven segments of John Brown’s provisional Constitution of 1858, is a rich theatrical experience with seasoned collaborators including teens that are by turns stagehands and occasion performers interacting with the dancers.

Moving between austere solos to vibrant muscular group pieces that speak to militarism, race and defiance, the props and projected video components are seamlessly integrated into the physicality of the piece; at one point the action on the stage halts to make way for a enacted video segment between John Brown and Fredrick Douglas about suitable time for a man to marry a seemingly under-aged woman (“once she has bled”), and the ensuing outrage that an executed Brown expresses at Douglas’s passionate interracial relationship.

For me the most satisfying aspect of this work occurs where scenes of intense physicality call forth the shame and humiliation foisted upon ‘blackness’ through its association with slavery, and the unresolved aftermath of a legacy that continues to haunt the American psyche to this day.

from 'johnbrown' performance

from ‘johnbrown’ performance