INTERRUPTION! is a cross-genre performance project that meditates on some of the key issues facing the United States today, including voter rights, economic inequality, and racial injustice. Co-created by Rob Reddy, Oliver Lake, and Meg Araneo, INTERRUPTION! features a fourteen-piece ensemble of some of the country's most well-respected and versatile musicians. Rob Reddy will compose and conduct the music. Oliver Lake will write and perform the poetic libretto. Music and libretto will be threaded together dramaturgically by Meg Araneo.
The title and premise of the piece is taken from a sermon that the Reverend William Barber II gave on July 12, 2015 on the eve of the North Carolina NAACP vs. McCrory hearing in Winston-Salem. The NC NAACP along with other plaintiffs that included the League of Women Voters and the Department of Justice filed a complaint challenging the signing of North Carolina's HB589 into law. A sweeping piece of legislation, the law severely restricted access to voting in ways that disproportionately impacted citizens of color, young people, the elderly, and the poor.
Seeing North Carolina's extreme changes to its voting laws as an opportunistic response to the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013, Reverend Barber took to the podium and delivered a potent political call to action. Citing Isaiah 58: “Cry Out Loud, don’t hold back, interrupt the nation,” Barber exhorted the over 10,000 protestors gathered outside the state capitol, their allies, and the many who watched events unfold on the news to engage in what he called “necessary interruption.” “The reality is,” Reverend Barber explained, “the nation needs interruption, particularly when liturgy or parliamentary procedures become a cover up for injustice.” Not limiting himself to the immediate issue of voting rights, Barber called for interruption to confront a number of social injustices from police brutality to capital punishment to discrimination against those in the LGBTQ, Native, and immigrant communities.
INTERRUPTION! is a response to Barber's challenge. Integrating Reddy's compositions with Oliver Lake’s poetry, INTERRUPTION! will be a collection of meditations and short narratives threaded together dramaturgically into a single performance event. Oliver’s libretto, which he will perform in the production, will riff on Barber’s sermon. It will incorporate the poet’s own personal and autobiographical response to current national crises around identity, economic inequality, and fair access to the political system. Reddy's compositions will both support and be in dialogue with Oliver’s text. Through their respective disciplines of jazz/contemporary composition, spoken word, and theatre, the collaborators will use performance to interrupt social and political hierarchies that have long perpetuated a multitude of injustices in the United States.
INTERRUPTION! was awarded a 2016 MAP Fund grant, a program primarily supported in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MAP is an affiliate program of Creative Capital.
INTERRUPTION! was conceived & created by Rob Reddy
Music by Rob Reddy
Libretto by Oliver Lake
Dramaturgy by Meg Araneo