By Kamara Thomas
A Public Space Project, Downtown Durham, Inc.
SOAPBOX is a group public performance taking place in downtown Durham on October 19, 2018, Third Friday. The work will feature orations by twelve actors standing atop a circle of soapboxes, an all-female chorus, and original live music. Community processions will take place between oratory performances at public spaces in downtown Durham, including Central Park, CBC Plaza, Black Wall Street Gardens and the green space next to DPAC.
Text and imagery will zero in on twelve “American Archetypes” as the basis for each oration. The aim is to construct twelve monologues that reflect dignity inside the melting pot of viewpoints in our country right now, and a dynamic snapshot of America through our local community's eyes and experiences.
The first oration performance will take place at Central Park. Then the company will parade to various downtown public spaces where the performance will repeat. At every opportunity the company will invite passersby to participate in the procession. At each performance, actors will “take the stage” and deliver their orations from a circle of soapboxes. Standing inside this circle will be the music ensemble and women’s chorus, periodically injecting their responses into the actors’ performances. The chorus will operate visual elements -- inflatable scenery, large pictographs, and lightweight puppets. The idea is to create an engaging, cacophonous, beautiful, pulsating group "organism".
SOAPBOX will be a festive and thought-provoking spectacle, where each audience member will see and hear a different message, based upon their own perspective and individual movement along the periphery of the company organism. This energetic portrait of the local community’s— and America’s— varying perspectives, is intended to encourage us to listen to one another, and to tolerate and even celebrate our differences during this period of communal change.