**This Behind-The-Scenes post was originally Published on Collaboration.ORG For THE 13TH ANNUAL SKETCHBOOK performance festival.**
A third statement in the series comes from Felicia Holman, the co-founder of Honey Pot Performance who devised “Price Point” which is the sole destination on our Green line in this years’ festival. Here we get an inside look as Felicia muses about the importance of “Price Point”. DOORS CLOSING…next stop Price Point!
Extended Crisis Mode–The Making of ‘Price Point’
Let me begin with this: We women of Honey Pot Performance are uberexcited to be performing in Sketchbook again! For our first Sketchbook appearance (2011), we debuted a 9-minute humorous rapid-fire sketch called ‘Suspect Politic’, for which we received critical and popular acclaim (shouts out to our loyal fans who still ask the question “what the fuck is mild sauce?!”). For this year’s festival, we submit a 70-minute interdisciplinary/multimedia feature titled ‘Price Point’. See the ‘Price Point’ project description below:
“Price Point explores notions of fairness and balance, or the lack thereof, in today’s economic landscape through a mixture of the tragic and comic. The work combines movement, theater, song and image to examine the state of the American Dream.”
—Sketchbook 13 Press Release
Absolutely accurate, no doubt! However, since I have this whole blog post to myself, I want to dig a little deeper. I want to share some of the nitty-gritty behind this show’s creative process and our “why” with you, our wonderfully inquisitive Sketchbook audience!
First and foremost, Honey Pot Performance (HPP) is a woman-focused collaborative creative community committed to chronicling and interrogating Afro-diasporic feminist and unconventional subjectivities amidst the pressures of contemporary global life. HPP is Felicia Holman (author of this post), Abra Johnson, Aisha Jean-Baptiste and Meida McNeal.
HPP draws upon the central notion that everyday popular and/or folk forms of cultural performance are valuable sites of knowledge production and cultural capital for subjectivities that often exist outside of mainstream communities. Most importantly, HPP enlists modes of creative expressivity to examine the nuances of human relationships including the ways we negotiate identity, belonging and difference in our everyday lives and cultural memberships. Performance is our way to community, our catharsis. Performance is the haven that welcomes us to rediscover our own value and worth.
It is in this spirit—of showcasing the stories of the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the disillusioned and damn-near-invisible Working Class—that “Price Point” was originally conceived about a year and a half ago. The central questions (or conundrums) we grapple with in Price Point are the same questions central to our contemporary lives: In this New Economy, what is the value of living/the value of work? What does the concept of the Social Contract look like today?
An excerpt of a monologue from Scene 2 (“Extended Crisis Mode”) conveys our shared aspirations and frustrations while grappling with these notions:
“Waiting for a windfall to wipe the slate clean, to get on the good foot, to be in the black, to have time to think and relax, to experience leisure, to take a vacation, to find pleasure instead of anxiety, to breathe without panic, without worry, without fear…I desire peace.
Pushing to make things happen, to rebuild broken links, to evolve to abundance, to break the cycle of lack, to enhance all of our capital because as I do for me I construct a stronger foundation for you too, of more than just a little piece of mercy, of magic, of more than this…..We demand peace. We demand a piece.”
In Price Point, the thesis we offer is that such DIY/Punk/Collective ethics as cooperation, resilience and resourcefulness are the penultimate tools of both social & economic mobility.
Staying true to those values, our fundamental HPP generative process is organically collaborative. I say “organically collaborative” because not only have we been creating and performing works together for over 10 years, but we’ve been close friends for much longer! I believe its the friendship factor which empowers us to open up to and trust each other and disagree and keep loving and learning about each other and working together to create such highly personal yet universally evocative shows.
As usual, our process for ‘Price Point’ primarily involved journaling, archiving data/research, conversation, observation, experimentation and creative expressivity (“play” with words, movement, music, etc), followed by a sharing of individual insights and perspectives gleaned from reviewing the conversations, observations, data, etc. Basically, we do a lot of workshopping and editing to coherently juxtapose our individual/micro stories with the macro topics/notions we explore through embodied storytelling. We strive to take our audience with us as we navigate the highs/lows of contemporary urban life on stage. With Price Point, as with all our work, we aim to open up space in this world for more consideration, empathy and humanity.
I want to close with a big “Thank You” to Anthony Moseley, Sarah Moeller and the entire Collaboraction family for including us once again in this venerable event and supporting our ‘Price Point’ vision.
Looking forward to seeing/meeting/talking with you all at the Flat Iron in a couple of weeks, starting June 5th!