About the Grant

$27,000 to support Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)(MAP 2012a multidisciplinary performance by Janie Geiser, Erik Ehn, and Valerie Opielski.

About the Project

Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone) is a multidisciplinary performance that merges Bunraku and other puppetry forms with visual landscapes, projection, text, and music to explore the emotional unraveling that follows inexplicable loss. Created by director, designer, and filmmaker Janie Geiser, playwright Erik Ehn, and composer Valerie Opielski, Clouded Sulphur’s elliptical narrative imagines the emotional absence following the tragic, unsolved murder of a 15-year-old girl. Inspired by cases from the Los Angeles County database of unsolved crimes, Clouded Sulphur navigates a complex terrain of family, loss, revenge, and unexpected hope.

Set in an iconic, stripped-down version of Los Angeles, where the untamed landscape meets the city, the project is centered on absence—on cognition in the wild place, and on the range of feelings that flow through brokenness, such as revenge, disbelief, unexpected floods of compassion, and hope. Clouded Sulphur gives home to stories that are adrift. Figures move inexplicably between life and death, city and forest. Gravity and time are unmoored.
Formally, Clouded Sulphur evokes a liminal space in performance through the interconnected artifices of puppetry and projection. The performance utilizes guiding principles behind Bunraku: the contrast of restrained emotion in the puppet, and a range of emotions in the text and music. Valerie Opielski’s sparse electric guitar score inhabits and expands the emotional space.

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