Faedra Carpenter, Storyteller
FAEDRA CARPENTER, Dramaturg, UMD Assistant Professor, UMD School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies
In 1995 my dear friend and mentor took me to see the Off-Broadway production of Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk. It was early in my career as a professional dramaturg and my mentor thought this much-touted piece would help me gain a greater understanding of the possibilities of devised theatre.
This total merging of the sensory and the cerebral helped me realize, fully, the power of performance…
The outing was intended to be a lesson of sorts but I became totally enraptured by the performance. I can still feel the electricity in that room. I was so moved by the explosive talent on stage and awed by the way the performance fused so many art forms. It was tap dance, poetry, song, visual spectacle — and all the while, ruminating on substantive themes and issues within African-American history.
This total merging of the sensory and the cerebral helped me realize, fully, the power of performance to translate sensations and ideas. I remember jumping up on my feet, applauding crazily and being so certain I was in the right place and doing the right thing in my life, that is, working in theatre and working toward the creation of projects that could be equally transformative, illuminating — and just plain thrilling!