10 Mayo St
Portland, ME 04101
Join our July Artist-in-Residence, Arisa White for a work-in-progress libretto reading of Post Pardon: The Opera!
Presented by Indigo Arts Alliance please join us at Mayo Street Arts with our current Artist-In-Residence, poet and writer, Arisa White for a work-in-progress libretto reading of Post Pardon: The Opera. With its concern for gendered and ecological violence, Post Pardon is the transgenerational apology needed to repair a Black woman’s soul.
Set between the material and spiritual worlds, where Elsa, The Bottle Tree, serves as the threshold, three females’ lives intersect because of a murder-suicide. From the afterlife, Rema returns to heal her relationship with two daughters: Willow who is living, and Isa, the child she killed. Willow is guided by The Sistas (Tulsi, Astra, and ShiShi), empowered by the eco-activist group Black Azaleas, and inspired by Rosa’s love as she embraces the multiplicities of death.
Adapted from Arisa White’s eponymous poetry chapbook, published by Mouthfeel Press in 2011, Post Pardon was inspired by poet Reetika Vazirani who killed her two-year-old son and then took her own life in the summer of 2003. Arisa was struck by these events, having met Vazirani and Jehan Komunyakaa a few weeks prior to their deaths. As a device to non-judgmentally enter the interior landscape of a woman who contemplates murder-suicide, Post Pardon: The Opera employs Caribbean mythologies and West African cosmologies to explore the concept of inherited sorrow.
For the reading of the text, Arisa White, featuring local artists and actors, will focus on the libretto as a poetic literary form and the inherent musicality of language to amplify the ritualistic, performative, and evocative nature of the lyric. A moderated discussion and Q&A will follow. This program is free, open to all ages (16+), and will take place at Mayo Street Arts located at 10 Mayo St, Portland, ME.
PLEASE NOTE: For the health and safety expectations, all attendees at indoor events and performances are required to provide proof against the COVID-19 virus, or a negative PCR test from within the previous 48 hours or a negative ‘Rapid Test’ from the previous 12 hours. It is necessary to also show a legal photo identification along with your vaccination proof, or test result. All proof may be original or digital. Participants are asked to remain masked. There will be extra masks and hand sanitizer stations provided.
Arisa White is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Colby College. She is the author of Who’s Your Daddy, co-editor of Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart, and co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice Series for young readers. Her poetry is widely published and her collections have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Lambda Literary Award, and has won the Per Diem Poetry Prize, Maine Literary Award, Nautilus Book Award, and an Independent Publisher Book Award. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that are rooted in Black queer women’s ways of knowing. She is a Cave Canem fellow and serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press, as well as the Community Advisory Board for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Arisa is currently working on an Afro-speculative opera, set between the material and spiritual worlds, where three females’ lives intersect because of a murder-suicide. Post Pardon: The Opera, in development with composer Jessica Jones, is a transgenerational apology.
Indigo Arts Alliance is a place where freedom of expression and personal transformation through creativity is encouraged. Indigo Arts Alliance embodies a Black-led, multiracial approach to the rich intersections of citizenship, community-building, and creativity. More than ever, our world needs people who can help us imagine more compassionate, generous, and welcoming human societies. Indigo does that work. It is a great gift to the Portland community, to the region, and to our nation!
Indigo Arts Alliance is rooted in two principles:
– Art is a key resource for healthy human communities. It should be cultivated and celebrated.
– Artists play a unique role in strengthening our multiracial democracy. We need their vision and inspiration to help build a more humane, inclusive, and just world.
Mayo Street Arts strives to strengthen its neighborhood and community by providing a haven for the arts that is vibrant, safe, and inspiring; and to engage area youths of diverse cultural communities in robust participation in the visual, performing, and literary arts. Mayo Street Arts provides a welcoming community arts space in the heart of East Bayside, the most densely populated, ethnically and culturally diverse square mile in Maine. MSA’s building serves as a theater, concert venue, art gallery, and meeting space and offers affordable artist studios, rehearsal space, and a teaching platform for visual and performing artists of multicultural backgrounds. MSA programming embraces a variety of forms with a particular focus on puppetry, folk music, and dance.