Blood Bag is an homage to horseshoe crabs.
It’s a pageant about about a genderqueer skeleton’s efforts to decolonize their marrow and learn to hear the moon. It’s an athletic, theatrical exploration of inter-species kinship, adaptation, and the threat of extinction. It’s a clown-eyed probe into modern human life and our current biomedical industry’s dependence on horseshoe crab blood. Blood Bag features the flag dancing of the Rufa Red Knots, a threatened shore bird that relies on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel one of the longest migrations of any bird on Earth. Puppets that shift scale and style, transformational costumes, and a soaring original musical score propel us through 450 million of years of lunar tidal impulses and intricate relations.
Blood Bag attempts to complicate the notion of the horseshoe crab as a “living fossil,” explore nonlinear processes of evolution, and grapple with our individual and collective responsibility to preserve the land, sea and sky we share with other vulnerable life-forms. The project looks to express gratitude without corniness and explore notions of sacrifice, reciprocity, and debt. What can we learn about patience, fortitude, and interdependence from our primordial ancestors?
My clown research on Blood Bag is called “Protected Area”
So far, I’ve had a reading of the script at Brown University (2/2018), a workshop at the Flea Theater in NYC (4/2018), a residency at Barn Arts Collective (6/2018) and a work-in-progress sharing of “Protected Area” (the clown research of Blood Bag at Cloud City in Brooklyn (2/2019). I’ve also shared pieces of the project through lectures and exercises with RISD’s summer teen program and NUA’s Art Inquiry program, and at protests of the Coastal Resources Commission about the Liquified Natural Gas facility proposed for the Port of Providence.
I’m continuing to rework the script, apply for funding, and explore the music, clown, and community engagement elements of this project (including cardboard construction workshops toward the creation of herds of horseshoe crabs that join in the performance and post show blood drives.) In June 2019, I’ll be presenting my work on Blood Bag at The Hemispheric Institute’s Encuentro in Mexico City.
Team Blood Bag (so far):
- Anne Cecelia DeMelo, Director
- Raja Feather Kelly, Choreographer
- Orlando Hernández, ensemble member
- Izzy Sazak, ensemble member
- Emily Dix Thomas (EDT), cello
- Matthew Schreiber, accordion
- Jackie Coleman, trumpet and electric bass
- Rachel Blumberg, percussion and projections