A Dance with Death began with a Gatekeeper escorting the audience up a set of stairs and entering a candlelit, cavernous barn at dusk. As the sound of gentle rainfall echoed in the ghostly space, audience members discovered that they were free to explore the various sets and scenes around them, two of them already occupied with moving, breathing actors. A young girl sleepily played atop a moss-covered, four tree-post bed sitting center stage, while a masked character sat darkly in an armchair close by. As the rainfall shifted to poetry, and poetry to a score of original music, Death made her entrance. The girl and Death brushed against one another as the girl matured, experiencing the inevitable loss that accompanies human life, tugging at the heartstrings of the audience who, through her journey, soon came to realize their own mortality. Following the eventual death of this woman, who reincarnates as spirit, the actors shed their masks and led a ritual for all in attendance honoring their ancestors through song, dance, and silent candlelit offerings. From opening night, when the ritual ended next to a bubbling stream under a full moon, to the closing night of a sacred circle of 30 people around the altar, A Dance with Death was a provoking, haunting, immersive piece that seems to have found a home in many minds and hearts across the community.

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“The originality of audience as part of the stage in “A Dance with Death” lent to the connection I had with the story and characters. It brought out deep feelings of how each of us is brushed by and confronted with Death throughout our lives. This was grounded in the final music lead by actors but played by the audience on instruments as we walked from the stage and into the full moon by a lake. A Dance with Death was an encapsulating story with palpable emotional interplay. It pulls at the fibers of life with the realization of the morbid promise that is around the corner for all living beings.”
-John Michelotti

“The writing and music were truly amazing. [The words] reverberate, and resonate, and pierce, so beautifully.
Simple yet so deeply affecting.
There was something about witnessing [A Dance with Death] in that cavernous upside-down ship’s hull, the sparseness of us with the sparseness of the set and the words and music, that, for me, was magical.
I drove home in silence, with all of the windows open, slowly. Smelling, listening, feeling my own full heart doing its irregular dance in my chest. On the verge of crying. Out of sadness? Happiness? How fast it all passes? The many I’ve lost? …The joy of being incarnated, even with [the] pain? All. More. More that is still running around inside me, waiting to express itself.
I want to thank you for creating art that made me feel so much.”
-Samuel Claiborne