WASHINGTON – On Friday, January 20, 2023, the world premiere in-person performance of Here I Am will take place at Gaston Hall on Georgetown University’s campus, with a work-in-progress screening of the film, I Am The Bridge preceding the performance.
Here I Am weaves narrative, music, and imagery, inviting the audience on an experiential journey exploring a complicated history and relationship with the that enslaved her ancestors. I Am The Bridge, the documentary film from Mélisande Short-Colomb’s point of view, follows her time at Georgetown University and examines the possibilities of repair for the sin of American slavery and the contributions of generations of activists and artists working toward racial justice.
Colomb shares, “Six years after Georgetown made their announcement, there are universities all over America who are now researching their own archival records and their institutional history with enslavement and human trafficking. The introduction of living descendants in the retelling of these histories should bring us closer to having the necessary conversations as Americans to dismantle institutional racism and white supremacy.”
Writer and performer Mélisande Short-Colomb is a descendant of families who were enslaved and trafficked by the Society of Jesus in the documented 1838 sale. Her family’s narrative forms the centerpiece of an expansive curricular effort to engage the complex histories around slavery as part of the Jesuit expansion of education in the United States of America. This performance of Here I Am at Gaston Hall comes two years after its acclaimed virtual premiere on April 16, 2021, in conjunction with Emancipation Day, where thousands of audience members attended the live/online version.
After the online event, attendees wrote in the chat, “Powerful and spellbinding,” “the more exposure this gets, the better off we will all be,” “most compelling intersection of live and virtual theatre making we’ve experienced, and all to support an essential story.”
The co-creative team on Here I Am includes Nikkole Salter (dramaturgy), Jared Mezzocchi (multimedia design/ direction), Grammy Award-Nominated vocalist Somi, and Derek Goldman (direction). Here I Am is produced by The Laboratory for Global Politics and Performance with award support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Office of the President at Georgetown University.
I Am The Bridge (2023) was produced and directed by Bernie Cook; co-produced by Dawne Langford, Christina Dropulic, and Mélisande Short-Colomb; filmed by Kuna Hammad and Jonathan Howard; and edited by Dawne Langford. The temporary soundtrack for this work-in-progress screening is by Grammy Award-Nominated Composer Carlos Simon, who will provide original music for the final version of the film.
The work-in-progress screening of I Am The Bridge will open the night at 7:00 pm EST. Here I Am will be performed at 8:00 pm, with an estimated conclusion to the evening at 9:15 pm. There will also be a preview performance on Thursday, January 19, 7:00 pm EST.
Both performances are free/ pay-what-you-can, tickets for the Friday performance are available here, and all donations are warmly welcome.
The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics was founded in 2012 as a joint initiative of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Department of Performing Arts, The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics humanizes global politics through performance. With highly visible original productions, partnerships, and initiatives, The Lab cultivates a distinctive global community of collaborators that includes students, emerging and established artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Our work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing with the aim of sparking transformation and change
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CONTACT: Ersian Francois
December 16, 2022 PHONE: (202) 687-0799