A Bold and Timely Dance Drama  - by Kristen Lewis

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This is a demanding piece of live dance theatre. Demanding to create, demanding to perform, demanding to watch. We have really had to work for this one, and like most difficult things, it has been worth it. The final product is beautiful, interesting, and audience friendly---because in the final analysis, this play is for you, our audience. It is an offering and a prayer. Our hope is that it will inspire you, move you, make you think, and, most of all, remind you of that great love that outlasts the infamy.

 While creating the play, we experienced periods of intense frustration, followed by bouts of overwhelming mystery and grace---this beast wanted to be born, but took its time and kicked along the way. Many times during rehearsal I wanted to run screaming out of the studio and never look back. Luckily, my beloved husband, muse, and director David insisted on me staying and I am grateful for that.

 The sheer emotional demands on me as an actor were almost unbearable---during and after rehearsal I would often collapse in tears, explode in rage, or feel smothered in shame. The historical legacies we are dealing with in this play are heavy-duty---war, sexual shame, religious corruption. I didn’t want to shy away from feeling this stuff in full being, or from finding the dance that faithfully expresses it.

 So, Paradise is Jagged has not been easy, but it has been rewarding--because in the midst of all this horror, my job was to remember the hope that survives the agony. And in this discovery is the possibility of redemption---for the soldier, for the lover, for the priest, for the actor, and so also maybe for you---our cherished audience member.

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