Widow | Excerpts from a 3 hour durational performance-installation

Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Original Score: Chris Becker
Song: “I Know” by David Lynch

Glasshouse ArtLifeLab, Neo-Domesticity Performance Art Festival, Brooklyn, NY, 2017

Widow is a 3 hour solo, movement-based performance-installation. Confined within a hazy, white room, I embody a woman who struggles for psychic integration in the face of grief. The audience is invited to sit or stand anywhere within the space as I engage in a subtle energetic exchange with each spectator. An ambient, minimalist sound score by composer, Chris Becker, runs continually throughout the work, punctuated at the top of each hour by David Lynch’s dark blues song “I Know.” This juxtaposition of sound and music merges with an atmosphere of stillness and impeccably controlled movement to create an austere, Kabuki-like visual intensity. Props associated with domesticity hidden within the costume are suspensefully revealed, and layers of the costume’s fabric unravel in radically slow time.

Desert Widow (performance excerpt) – work in progress

Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Cinematography: Valerie Barnes
Music: Mihoko Suzuki, Krzysztof Penderecki, Stevie Wonder
Outside eye: Michael Freeman

Performed at Abrons Art Center, NYC, 2016

Desert Widow is a nonlinear visual narrative that combines solo, movement-based performance with video projection, chamber music, and digitally manipulated sound. The piece features a woman wearing a black dress, heels and unfurling belt approaching the audience with suspenseful stillness. As both a stage and screen presence, she flees into an unknown environment to find herself in a place of interior desolation as reflected in her surroundings. Through meticulously crafted movement and strong imagery, the performance chronicles her voyage through haunting memories and devastating loss.

At the Borders of Eternity (The Diary of Anne Frank), excerpts

Direction, Video, and Costume: Jil Guyon
Choreography: Jil Guyon with Katie Layton
Actress: Elfriede Irrall
Dance: Katie Layton, Ballet Conservatorium of Vienna
Lighting Design: Andreas Ryba
Staged at WUK, Vienna, Austria

At the Borders of Eternity is an interdisciplinary dance-theater work based on The Diary of Anne Frank. The actress, Elfriede Irrall, appears not only as an historical representation of Anne Frank, but as who she could have been had she lived. Irrall is possessed by the Diary, functioning as a vessel through which the text speaks. But she is also Anne Frank herself, a girl at the end of her life, tired and fragile, yet possessing an inner strength and perception of one who has lived a full life.

Litany for the Animals (excerpts)
An opera in 3 acts

Written and composed by Mihoko Suzuki
Staging and Visual Direction: Jil Guyon
Costume: Yahya Marzi
Protagonist: Lauri Shemaria
Singers: Karen Andersen, Melissa Fathman, Heather Laurel, Rebecca Salazar, Joyce Tannin, Mathew Bender, Jung-Hye Hyun, Ikuko Suzuki
Performed at Washington Square Church, New York City

Mysterium (excerpts)

Created and performed by Jil Guyon
Girl: Myah Segura
Lighting Design: Andrew Lu
Music: Luigi Nono, Alain Presencer, Massive Attack

In Mysterium, a stage covered with red velvet is the setting for a performance-ritual that combines movement, music, sound, ashes, and fog. The performance features a young girl in a white dress lying at center stage. Around her a woman performs a series of gestures with a shamanistic intensity. The woman’s physical presence ranges from gracious to grotesque in contrast to the girl’s eerie stillness. Simultaneously primordial and apocalyptic in its otherworldliness, Mysterium is a richly textured, slowly shifting visual landscape evocative of innocence, pain, sacrifice and hope.

Burning Prayers (excerpts)

Direction, Video, and Costume: Jil Guyon
Choreography and Dance: Eugene van den Boom
Lighting Design: Andreas Ryba

In Burning Prayers the traditional African American spiritual and its concern with the struggle and transience of life serves as the central theme around which video projection and live performance are constructed. The structure of the performance evening consists of a series of recordings wherein each song is presented as a complete performance unto itself. These spirituals, which convert a life of oppression into a rich language of deep emotion, are given further voice through their interplay with video and live solo-performance.