We are all stories. Some walking parallel lives, others intersecting at imperceptible moments, and still others whose paths ultimately blend into the same moment. Solas Nua is premiering a visual short story, Side-Walks, that celebrates the complexity and fluidity of human existence, and the way life can unexpectedly take you exactly where you need to be.
Side-Walks rounds out the commissioned digital new works of Dublin-based artist John King and DC-based artist Jeremy Keith Hunter. The first two in the series were Emoji Play and What’s On Your Walls (co-created with Tẹmídayọ Amay).
Designer Patrick W. Lord and Director/Composer Rex Daugherty create a seamless experience of sites and sounds with a track that plays perfectly into the journey, guiding the pace and tone. Carrying the story into an almost musical experience at times.
The piece has a visual presentation, with maps, street corners, and storefronts with lights and the movement of parties behind closed doors. But the narrators are the core of the story. Cormac Elliott voices Connor, a young man from Northern Ireland, going to school in Dublin, who ultimately makes his way to the States. And Da’Von T. Moody is Jermal, a young student from the U.S., who finds himself headed to Dublin with a friend for a fun, easy adventure.
They tell their accounts in turn, initially as two separate, unconnected lives. But through the story they make appearances in each other’s scenes. Each man is on a journey to find his path, his “five-year plan” as Connor states.
The story is engrossing and beautifully told. Moody and Elliott master the art of story-telling with all the necessary inflection, timing, and emphasis required to relay a performance with only one’s voice, accentuated by Daugherty’s soundtrack.
The piece is about the unpacking of identity. Finding yourself and your path. And the conflict that occurs when once-linked paths deviate from each other. It’s about real life. And that’s what’s so enjoyable about it.
The entire piece feels fluid and natural, told in such an original way that it leads the mind to linger on the words being said, instead of images, flashy costumes, or movement. Side-Walks is a wonderful, audible, literary experience.
Running Time: Approximately 30 minutes.
EXTENDED: Side-Walks, a Solas Nua production, streams on demand to August 22, 2021. The work is included as part of Solas Nua’s Summer Membership. Individual tickets for nonmembers ($15) are available at solasnua.org.
CREDITS: Jeremy Keith Hunter (playwright), John King (playwright), Patrick W. Lord (designer), Cormac Elliott (Connor), Da’Von T. Moody (Jermal), Rex Daugherty (producer/director/composer). Additional design and devising contributions by Nitsan Scharf and Mekala Sridhar.