'GRIDgevity' a spell by Travis Santell Rowland / Qween

room 7 ECHOES

The audience is invited into the fold of the National AIDS Memorial Grove park site circumference with the ushering of a gentle build of complimentary sounds based off their current surrounding like footsteps, bending tree branches, clattering leaves, wind breathing by their ears, soft conversations in the distance and the buzz of nearby cars driving by in succession. As they are welcomed into the entrance of the trail they begin to feel a sense of stalking and swarming along the parameter’s edge of the memorial site. A slow build in sound volume and intensity increases as the audience makes their way walking along the trail as they peek down into the center of the park memorial site with a curious sense of wonder and intrigue through the chiaroscuro light beams dovetailing through the nature formed trees trunks, moss drippings and floral blooms to the heart of what they are about to embark into below. This flirtation of walking along the outskirts of the memorial site while listening to the sounds of nature and humankind, and peering into the seemingly forbidden center compliments a feeling of anticipation as the audience is guided around the entire 360 degree circumference before being permitted to enter into the heart of the memorial site. All the while, the sound score begins to incorporate such things as, but not bound or confined to, iconic LGBTQ voices both sung and spoken, protesters, activists, preachers, politicians, disco and dance music, words of writers and poets etc. spliced into the sonic fold in creatively distorted ways.

As the audience makes their way into the memorial site at the point of completing an entire exterior journey around the grounds, they begin to make connections between the provided sonic score and the visual moments around them like a babbling brook, empty or occupied benches, engraved memorial stones varying in size and familiarity of the dedicated, beautiful flowers, and a seemingly infinite choice of pathways to navigate their way forward on this journey. Eventually, a dell in unveiled which reveals a partially dressed middle aged overweight gay man of color and mixed ethnicity in the middle of a plot of grass sitting at a small table with a vanity mirror applying drag makeup while singing to himself as if no one else is around, although he is surrounded by a suitcase of women’s clothes scattered about while picnicking onlookers are equidistantly seated amidst the drag. This performer stays confined to his scene as he goes back and forth from applying makeup to trying on various drag performance clothing articles. Once he feels his makeup and clothing looks are complete, he then packs up and exits the dell.


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