Don Rieder: Burnt I
Choreographer and performer Don Rieder
Burnt I is a series of monologues, or tone poems, that are danced and gestured. Found objects are used to create the landscape and illustrate some of the action. A young boy, named Toc, speaks first. Toc watched his father, Yewlis, sail away. His father never returns. The boy grows up without him. In the second monologue, his mother Pen recounts her youth and her life with and without Yewlis. In the third monologue, Yewlis speaks of the horror of the raid, his shame and sorrow, and rationalizes his long absence.
Every story grows from a seed. Burnt I has two seeds. The first, and most obvious, is Homer’s Odyssey. The second is a small seed that is only one sentence: “A cage went in search of a bird.” It is Franz Kafka’s shortest story. Kafka suggests that there are cages out there looking for each one of us. Or maybe we invite the cage, or help build it piece by piece—by a gesture we repeat, a thought that keeps coming back, a memory we hold onto, or a hurt that we rehearse.
Burnt I is a cage of memories, where Toc, Pen, and Yewlis speak in the dialect of their village.