One of the most compelling pieces of Call of Courage is the original score that is being produced for it. Local Musician Ryan Edwards has been working to seamlessly meld worlds; integrating voice, found environment, and contemporary music into a truly unique score.
The process started with 8 stories. Eight essays of youth courage and perseverance in the face of bullying were chosen from the Max Warburg Courage Curriculum:
I was reading the essays before the first meeting. The big question for me is how much of the essays, how specific and how personal, and what is the line between it being a story about this person who wrote this essay and a story that could be about anyone and maybe even me. That’s the line that we are still trying to find.
Ryan worked to interview the children one on one and record their own voice sharing their stories. Students walked in the door shy and curious, unsure of how it would go.
I’m in touch with their sense of courage, and then sometimes they are really nervous to talk, so that’s a beautiful thing.
The voices are then combined with electronic music, live music, hired musicians, and found sounds. Ryan describes it as making a giant audio collage;
I went to schools and actually recorded lunchroom chatter and arguments… literally blending music sounds with environmental sounds: bell ringing, locker door slamming… making that my snare drum sound… all these things that are textural and reminiscent of their environment.
– Ryan Edwards
Some of the most compelling moments come in when the sound cuts out. The Dancers visual breathing become part of our auditory experience and when a dancer hits a drum the sound leaves a vibration in your hand as well.
Meshing all of these factors together creates a unique viewing experience that toys with the line of narrative and abstraction. Snippets of voice connect you to a direct human, but the level to which you identify is varies throughout the show. The score and dance play with the line of personal narrative and creating an environment you see yourself in.
So much of this performance is a balancing act. How do you strike a balance between text and music, between personal narrative and universal connections, auditory story and visual story, and always- where is the line between play and harm.
Learn more about the performance and the process of making it here.