cullen+them and young dance collective, the two performing ensembles of cullen+them, come together for an evening of inter-generational performance under the direction of Hannah Cullen. In Mark it in Pencil these two ensembles developed work separately and together, collaborating on themes around unity and division. Starting with conflict, Mark it in Pencil aims to outline pathways towards resolution.
Inhabiting different characters, the company examines how aspects of individuality shape the way humans approach conflict. In one scene between Cullen and one of the members of young dance collective, a mother grapples with her son’s rejection from college, revealing her sense of entitlement and understanding of what’s “fair.” Mark it in Pencil integrates spoken word, narrative dialogue, and movement to address issues of gender, sexuality, white privilege and mental illness. It points towards the common experience and shared humanity of, at first, seemingly unrelated individuals. It reminds us that our view of the other does not have to be rigid and that communication can be grounded in listening. When we allow ourselves to write in pencil, we forgo a permanence that gives us permission to erase and write it over again.
cullen+them’s performances are part of New York Live Arts’ Plus program, designed to allow mission-aligned performing arts organizations access to state-of-the-art facilities and support toward the growth of their work. More information at www.newyorklivearts.org.