“Dead Sometimes” is the product of a collaboration between Kathryn Crim, Howard Fisher, Jocelyn Saidenberg, Anne Walsh, and the work of Camille Roy. Thanks to SPACE 124, Project Artaud’s short-term artist residency program, the four players were able to meet regularly for the month of June to build upon a performance of Roy’s play Sometimes Dead is Better that they presented in October 2017 at BAMPFA as part of the conference, “Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today.” During their meetings, the collaborators proposed lines from the play, gestures, costumes, and props within the confines of miniature scripts that set limits, generative constraints with regard to space, duration, rhythm, and force. Roy contributed new material based on the collaboration.
“Dead Sometimes,” the result of this labor, is a string of tacky pearls that binds theatrical elements into a few distinct units with a thin logical paste. Each of these pearls represents the genesis of relation. Together they expose the mechanism of character that runs Roy’s play. Sometimes the embryonic relations approach allegory, the moment when uttered language overlaps with a social interaction to produce the fiction of personhood. Sometimes they don’t make it there. But all orient themselves with respect to death, a paradoxical event horizon: The cleanest murder possible is born of imitation. A longing to end it animates impossible love. Parts disperse and recollect themselves as parts.