The Laboratory For Global Politics And Performance Presents The World Premiere In-Person Performance of Melisande Short-Colomb’s Original Work, Here I Am, With New Dates In April

The Laboratory For Global Politics And Performance Presents The World Premiere In-Person Performance of Melisande Short-Colomb’s Original Work, Here I Am, With New Dates In April


WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, April 4th, 2023, at 7:30 p.m., the world premiere in-person performance of Here I Am will take place at Gaston Hall on Georgetown University’s campus, with a second performance on Wednesday, April 12, 2023.

Writer Mélisande Short-Colomb is a descendant of families 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. 

The first performance of Here I Am will take place in Gaston Hall at 7:30 pm ET on April 4th. The second performance on April 12th, will open with a screening of the work-in-progress film I Am The Bridge at 7:00 pm ET. The second performance of Here I Am will follow at 8:00 pm ET, with an estimated conclusion of the evening at 9:15 pm. ET

Colomb shares, “Here I Am is the recognition that our Ancestors were here, in this place, working to build the legacy of the Society of Jesus and American Catholicism at the beginning and are still here. It speaks to questions of who has value in life and after death, who gets to be remembered, and why some do not. Now in 2023, the unknown is being known. We can commemorate ancestral burial and sacred grounds like Sacred Heart in Prince George’s County. The ancestors are making themselves known; our work is to acknowledge, remember, and never forget.”

Here I Am weaves a tapestry through narrative and music, with vivid imagery,  thus inviting the audience on an experiential journey exploring family oral history and its relationship to the Jesuits institution that enslaved and trafficked her ancestors. I Am The Bridge, the documentary film from Colomb’s personal point of view, follows her time at Georgetown University and examines the possibilities of repair for the generational harms of American slavery and  contributions “ by the involuntary founders of freedom and democracy.”   

Lab Artistic and Executive Director Derek Goldman comments, “Meli Colomb has deeply inspired and galvanized our community for over six years on campus. This remarkable original work moves expertly and with unfailing grace from Meli’s intimate personal exploration of her eleven generations of maternal grandmothers to her clear-eyed reckoning with the complex and troubling history that is entwined with Georgetown’s institutional identity,  as well as our nation’s larger relationship to a shameful history built upon the enslavement of fellow human beings.”

After the acclaimed virtual premiere on April 16, 2021, attendees shared praises, “Powerful and spellbinding,” “the more exposure this gets, the better off we will all be,” and “most compelling intersection of live and virtual theater making we’ve experienced, and all to support an essential story.”

Both performances are free/pay-what-you-can. Tickets are available here, and donations are welcome.

The co-creative team on Here I Am includes Nikkole Salter (dramaturgy), Jared Mezzocchi (multimedia design/ direction), Grammy Award-Nominated vocalist Somi (original music), 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 film’s final version.

The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics was founded in 2012 as a joint initiative of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the 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, including students, emerging artists, educators, policy leaders, and activists. Our work harnesses narrative, memory, and acts of witnessing to spark transformation and change. The Lab is the creator of the original production of Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski.

If you have questions about ticketing or switching your selected performance date, kindly visit the Here I Am FAQ page.

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Official Press Release

Feb 28, 2023

For more inquires:


CONTACT: Ersian Francois
Phone: (202) 687-0799

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