It’s always fascinating to be a small piece of an enormous work, such as This is Reading. For months, you hear bits and bobs about the grand scheme but focus only on your tiny piece. This past weekend, we saw it all come together at Franklin Street Station.
This episode of Let Me Ascertain you is the third and final installation of “The Way They Live,” the final performance of the Civilians’ season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “The Way They Live” was written by Micharne Cloughley, based on interviews Civilians associates and members of the company’s Field Research Team conducted with curators, artists and visitors in the Met’s American Wing between 2014 and 2015.
This episode includes songs crafted from interviews about three artworks in the wing.
First up, Kyle Beltran performs an original song by Michael Friedman, “John Brown,” inspired by Thomas Hovenden’s painting “The Last Moments of John Brown.” The song is introduced by Cindy Cheung, playing a museum curator.
Next, Grace McLean performs her original song “Obsessed by Madame X,” inspired by a filmmaker’s reaction to John Singer Sargent’s “Portrait of Madame X.”
Finally, Ty Defoe and the company of “The Way They Live” perform Ty’s “In All Directions,” a song inspired by a Native American dancer and choreographer’s reaction to James Earle Fraser’s iconic sculpture “The End of the Trail.”
“The Way They Live” was performed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 15 and 16, 2015. Mia Rovegno directed a cast that included Damian Baldet, Jordan Barbour, Kyle Beltran, Cindy Cheung, Irene Lucio, April Matthis, Grace McLean, Jennifer Morris, Tanis Parenteau, Monica Salazar and Rona Siddiqui. The piece featured songs by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Erato A. Kremmyda, Grace McLean, Lady Rizo and Yair Evnine, Kirsten Childs, Michael Friedman, Rona Siddiqui and Ty Defoe.