Flyaway Productions presents The Wait Room in New York

San Francisco’s Flyaway Productions is proud to announce the New York premiere of THE WAIT ROOM, a site-specific dance honoring women with incarcerated loved ones.  Choreography is by Jo Kreiterrecipient of a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, awarded “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.”  Four performances, September 20-22, in an outdoor site next to Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. 


Engaging the ideas of waiting and weighting, The Wait Room blends oral history, dance, music and public art in an exploration of the physical, psychic and emotional burdens of prison for women with incarcerated loved ones.   


Flyaway Productions has commissioned longtime company collaborators, set designer Sean Riley and composer Pamela Z, to participate in the creation of the work. Riley has designed and constructed a mobile set which will travel with the company from the Bay Area to an outdoor site next to Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The Sing Sing Prison Museum, in partnership with Bethany Arts Center, is presenting this East Coast premiere. Composer Pamela Z has translated the oral histories of several women with families fractured by incarceration into a score informing the choreography of Flyaway Artistic Director Jo Kreiter. Additional collaborators include lighting designer Jack Beuttler and costume designer Jamielyn Duggan. The project was derived in partnership with Oakland-based Essie Justice Group, an organization of women taking on the injustices of mass incarceration.


“One in four women and nearly one in two black women in the U.S. has at one point had a family member in prison,” said Kreiter. “I am one of these women.”  Continued Kreiter: “The Wait Room is the most personal work I’ve undertaken since founding Flyaway Productions in 1996. The piece is designed to invoke the balancing act women must pull off as wives and mothers and daughters. The set engages instability as a metaphor for women’s lives under secondary incarceration. With the aid of Essie Justice Group, The Wait Room will frame the conversation around women not just as passive victims of incarceration by proximity, but as women whose collusion is called upon by the very system that is destabilizing their lives.


The first choreographer to be named a Rauschenberg Foundation Artist-as-Activist Fellow, Kreiter has received significant funding to develop The Wait Room and take it on the road.  Before its presentation next to Sing Sing Correctional Facility  in September, The Wait Room premiered in April in San Francisco and was repeated in Richmond, California, May 17 and 18, in partnership with the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts. The event took place inside the “Iron Triangle,” in an empty lot across from the Center. The Rauschenberg Foundation will also support the creation of a dance film by award-winning filmmaker Austin Forbord to be distributed via Essie Justice Group and its national partners.


Kreiter is planning to develop two additional large-scale public art performances addressing the devastating effects of mass incarceration.  Meet Us Quickly with Your Mercy, a residency project with MoAD, Bend the Arc and Prison Renaissance, is slated to premiere in 2020. The following year, Flyaway Productions will mount a new dance inspired by restorative justice. These three works, beginning with The Wait Room, are titled The Decarceration Trilogy: Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex One Dance at a Time.


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Photo courtesy of: Clarissa Dyas photographed by RJ Muna

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