Theater examines the action of care

Team Sunshine returns with The Sincerity Project #4: Cyclones, Schools, and Packs

2 minute read
An image of a man in casual clothes in a rehearsal space. It's imposed over another image, it's blurry w/ dancers rehearsing
'The Sincerity Project' is 24 years in the making. (Image by April Rose.)

Team Sunshine returns with The Sincerity Project #4: Cyclones, Schools, and Packs, the fourth installment of its long-term performance experiment. Founded in 2010 by theater and dance artists Benjamin Camp, Makoto Hirano, and Alex Torra, Team Sunshine provides experiences that bring people together to engage with our collective contemporary experience. For The Sincerity Project, the same ensemble convenes every few years to create and perform a new work. “We have dedicated ourselves to doing this every couple of years for 24 years,” explains Torra, the creative director. “It helps us and our audiences track experiences over time, to stop the train of our lives for just a moment.” The performers piece together a work based on their experiences, publicly accounting for the lives and communities they create.

Taking your time

The Sincerity Project #4 reckons with the difficulties of the last two years and aims to offer healing to its creative team and viewers. “One of the prompts we’ve given ourselves,” Torra noted, “is to be really truthful and sincere about what we’re going through.” The ensemble had been talking about “widening the iris of the piece,” as Torra put it, and events including the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter demonstrations solidified the need to expand its focus. Artist and educator Shavon Norris came on board as a facilitator during the show’s development. Her work included helping the company address diversity, equity, and inclusion, and Norris stayed on to guest direct.

The healing of art

The resulting performance offers a means for both the ensemble and the audience to process the past few years, Torra said. Norris imagines The Sincerity Project #4 as a way to “invite the whisper, the shout, and the song, ultimately offering each other the dignity and honor and empathy necessary to see, speak, [and] move toward what feels individually and collectively sacred, whole, healing, healthy, divine, right, [and] loving.” She will be present in the performance, serving as a live facilitator and guide for the audience, while also moving through her own experiences of the last several years.

The Sincerity Project prompts performers to ask themselves “what matters to us as people?” and make it into art. The ensemble, which includes Makoto Hirano, Marcie Mamura, Iris McCloughan, Aram Aghazarian, Rachel Camp, Benjamin Camp, Danielle Currica, Mel Krodman, and Megan Quinn, will address experiences of communal care and protection as well as safety, wholeness, and wellness. The resulting performance has the potential to provide healing for the performers and the audience. A unique combination of life and art, The Sincerity Project #4 invites people to gather safely and be present with the experiences of the last two years while reaching for something new.​

What, When, Where

The Sincerity Project #4: Cyclones, Schools, and Packs. Directed by Shavon Norris. Sliding scale, $20-$50. December 8-12, at Arch Street Meeting House, 320 Arch Street, Philadelphia.

Proof of vaccination is required to attend, and masks must be worn during the performance.

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