Centered around themes of abuse, boundaries, grief, mourning, the dissolution of karmic contracts, and the healing of generational wounds, “solo mourning ritual for a 17 year old self” is an auto-biographical performance piece that follows the evolution of a young individual through the painful and cathartic process of re-wilding after a five year long phase of abusive “domestication”. Throughout the 20 minute long performance, the audience is introduced to a multitude of mythologically abstracted characters that are all desperately attempting to find some sense of protection and safety: a boundary-enforcing woodland nymph, a 17 year old Artemis “Dancing Queen”, a “CAUTION” tape-wrapped disco Sisyphus, and a lace-draped, tattooed, mountaineer Banshee screamer. While exorcising their trauma and grief through the use of increasingly violent mechanisms of self-defense, the audience bares witness to the artists rebirthing process as they sheds layers of forced domesticity in order to access their wildness once more. Above all, “solo mourning ritual…” is a celebration of the strength, resiliency, and power of a young individual who has summoned all of her courage to mourn the loss of their youth to an abuser and take ownership of their healing as they attempts to move forward in this life with compassion and self-forgiveness. 

"solo mourning ritual for a 17 year old self" was created and performed at The Sable Project Artist Residency in July 2019. I cannot thank the Sable Team enough for offering me their support in the development of this work. 

Photos and video by Matthew Paul Corley