Drawing upon both the myth of Eros and Psyche and a violent, race-related incident from my childhood in Japan, After Eros explores the evolution of wounds. In collaboration with playwright David Henry Hwang and composer Philip Glass, I seek to meld text (spoken and on LED screens), movement, projections and music into surrealistic impressions in which the female body becomes a symbol for the earth's regeneration.
The incident in Japan had lived with me continually in the form of slow, twisting movements that only my body understood. Through the art of Butoh, which allows the body to find natural states rather than learn techniques, I found an artistic expression for these involuntary movements. Ironically, by returning to Japan to work with the masters of Butoh, I was completing a regenerative cycle, as Psyche had after being wounded by Eros's arrow. The piece speaks about these cycles.
When Philip joined David and me, on After Eros, we agreed to Philip's proposal of replacing normal rehearsals with "encounters", in which parts of the work would be fully staged with all the elements.
Following discussions, we would then work in isolation, exchanging additions or changes via fax, video and DAT. After the first encounter at the La Mama, we decided to apply for the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production Fund through NYFA's Sponsorship Program.
During the collaboration, David Hwang's wife Kathryn gave birth to their son Noah. David told me how struck he was by the complete irrationality of the power of love when he first saw his son. After Eros deals with the hope of a new world where this irrationality crosses racial boundaries and what begins as a wound of war, becomes a quest of love in all its complexities and simplicity, where human beings shed layers of identity and touch the wound of universality. The theme and process of this work can be crystallized by the following line in David's text, "I had become the one whose love I had sought." After Eros has toured widely in Europe and will premiere in New York City in the 1997-98 season.
-Maureen Fleming, choreographer/dancer