Open Call: Asia Stewart

JUL 25 – 27
A ritual response to Morrison’s Song of Solomon and tribute to Black matrilineal wisdom

Tickets

Admission to Open Call events is free with a ticket reservation.

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Reservations will be available to the general public on Thursday, June 27.

For sold out performances, an in-person wait list will be available 15 minutes before the show begins.

Learn more about accessibility for this production.

About this commission

Asia Stewart’s Fabric Softener is a theatrical response to Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, offering an imagined ritual with the power to revive young Black women and insist on their survival. Stewart draws on three characters from the many who populate Morrison’s 1977 novel: Pilate, her daughter Reba, and granddaughter Hagar. In the original text, Hagar dies of a broken heart after deeming herself unworthy of love, beauty, and acceptance.

In her performance, punctuated by musical outbursts of spirituals and passages from the novel, Stewart presents three new characters who are not recreations of these women but are instead archetypes: The Laundress, The Celebrant, and The Witness. The performance begins as The Celebrant and The Witness prepare The Laundress for an intervention: a baptism, a becoming, and a funeral for what used to be and can no longer exist.

Creative Team

A portrait of artist Asia Stewart, a Black woman with light brown skin who poses with her elbow on her knee and her chin supported by a loose fist. She looks directly at us from a three quarter profile with one eyebrow slightly raised. Asia has short hair and wears a black leather vest. Photo by Dana Golan
Photo: Dana Golan.
Asia Stewart
A portrait of Dominican Greene, a biracial, Black, queer woman. She looks directly at us, posing against a neutral background. She has light brown skin and her hair pulled up behind her head. She wears a tan garment that wraps behind her neck, leaving shoulders bare.
Photo: Avery Johnson.
Dominica Greene
The artist Candice Hoyes, a Black woman with light brown skin and curly brown hair, reclines against a white backdrop. She wears a long black, velvety dress with a band of black fur across the chest. She looks directly at us with a focused, neutral expression.
Photo: Carolyne Lorée Teston.
Candice Hoyes
Yaz Lancaster, a nonbinary Black artist, sits on large boulders along a seashore. They have long locs that hang beneath their shoulders. Yaz looks back at us over one shoulder. They wear a long dress with bands of color: black, white, red, and green.
Courtesy Yaz Lancaster.
Yaz Lancaster
A portrait of Shala Miller, a Black nonbinary singer who is seen close up as if taking a selfie. Shala has a quizzical or skeptical expression. Their short hair is a bright orange and they wear a bright red scarf over their head, tied under their chin.
Courtesy Shala Miller.
Shala Miller
Asia Stewart
Creator, Director, and Performer
Asia Stewart (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based performance artist whose conceptual work centers the body as a living archive. She develops ways of transforming the language specific to studies of race, gender, and sexuality into materials that can be felt by and worn on the body. As a National YoungArts Winner in Musical Theatre and a former National Arts Policy Roundtable Fellow with Americans for the Arts, Stewart uses her past experiences on stage to inject her work with a heightened sense of theatricality. Stewart has received various honors and support for her works in performance from organizations that include Franklin Furnace, A.I.R. Gallery, Marc Straus Gallery, Marble House Project, GALLIM, the Watermill Center, and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Stewart routinely questions how performance, movement, and live art can be documented and represented across multiple mediums. Her works in video and installation have been exhibited at venues across the United States, including the Mercury Store, Untitled Space, NARS Foundation, Goodyear Arts, A.I.R. Gallery, Kellen Gallery, and Anthology Film Archives. Her first series of prints is also held in the permanent collection of the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Dominica Greene
Performer (The Celebrant)
Dominica Greene (she/her) is a movement-based conceptual artist, dancer, and facilitator based in Brooklyn. She values dance as one of the purest forms of expression, utilizing it as an energetic entity capable of affecting real and palpable change. Her company and freelance experience is extensive, having collaborated with, performed, and toured the work of many notable choreographers domestically and internationally. She creates body and time-based conceptual art which aims to reflect movement as one of the most fundamental conduits of existential and ancestral knowledge. As a biracial, Black, queer woman, she is committed to dreaming up and worldbuilding alternative realities and more expansive futures with her BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community.
Candice Hoyes
Performer (The Witness)

Candice Hoyes is an artist of “chill-inducing range” (Vogue) across genre, medium, and style. In 2024, Hoyes made her Lincoln Center composer debut in Sadah Espii Proctor’s adrift, which is the first augmented reality installation in the Social Sculptures Project, a series of public art exhibitions. Upcoming debuts in 2024 – 25 season include The Kennedy Center, Morgan Library and Museum, Blacktronika Festival, unerhört! Festival, Harlem Chamber Players, The Shed, and the Center for Performance Research.

Hoyes is featured on Carnegie Hall’s 2022 Timeline of African American Music. “Her scholarship on such luminaries of African American cultural history represents a noticeable departure from the usual practice of isolating creativity and critical analysis, and the textures of her sound exemplify Afrofuturism as well.” She is a 2024 Manhattan Arts Grant winner, 2022 MAP Fund recipient, 2021 Woodshed Network Women in Jazz Fellow and 2020 NYC Women’s Fund recipient. Hoyes is a 2023 – 24 Visiting Scholar at University of California at Berkeley, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Rhode Island School of Design.

Born to Jamaican parents, Hoyes is a soprano, producer, songwriter, filmmaker, and archivist mutually steeped in exploring the untold stories of her heritage. She began composing for her voice after her start as an award-winning singer (including First Place, International Paul Robeson Opera Competition). Hoyes’s recent works include Carnegie Hall, Detroit Symphony, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Caramoor, NYC JazzFest, and Blue Note. She has collaborated or recorded with Chaka Khan, Courtney Bryan, Theaster Gates, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Phillip Glass, Makaya McCraven, Lalah Hathaway, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. She is honored to be a portrait model for Amy Sherald’s 2022 painting as soft as she is….

As an organizer, Hoyes collaborates with the Feminist Press, Well-Read Black Girl, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights in Law, Harlem Arts Alliance, Women in Music, and numerous grassroots organizations. She has produced her feminist performance lecture series for Jazz at Lincoln Center and CUNY for three seasons. Hoyes has written for Shondaland, Blavity, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and has spoken and performed at TED HQ.

Hoyes is a graduate of Harvard University, Columbia Law School, and a lecturer at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2023, she released her experimental jazz album, Nite Bjuti (pronounced night beauty), deemed by the BBC “a new group that is one of the most exciting and original I’ve heard this year.”

Yaz Lancaster
Composer, Music Director, and Violinist

Yaz Lancaster (they/them) is a transdisciplinary artist residing in Lenapehoking (NYC). Their work as a performer, composer, poet/writer, and collaborator is grounded in queer, DIY, and liberatory frameworks. It utilizes fragmentation and collage, relational aesthetics, improvisatory forms, and experimental electroacoustic composition. Through independent study, Lancaster spends time thinking about the cultivation of care and intimacy, Marxist/collectivist praxis, and digital (sub)cultures.

Their debut record, AmethYst, comprising music for violin, voice, and electronics, was released in April 2023 and has been featured on I CARE IF YOU LISTEN, Bandcamp (New & Notable), and Foxy Digitalis, among other publications. Recent and upcoming collaborators include Black Mountain College/Hub New Music, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Eliza Bagg, Massa Nera, Mingjia, Minnesota Philharmonic, Miss Grit, and Sean Pecknold.

Lancaster additionally works as the comanager of people places records, a co-organizer of abolitionist music collective Sound Off, and a freelance (music) writer. They love powerlifting, summers down South, and going silly mode with their little dog Nori. More at yaz-lancaster.com.

Shala Miller
Performer (The Narrator)
Shala Miller (they/them), also known as Freddie June when they sing, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, by two southerners named Al and Ruby. At around the age of 10 or 11, Miller discovered quietude, the kind you’re sort of pushed into, and then was fooled into thinking that this is where they should stay put. Since then, Miller has been trying to find their way out, and find their way into an understanding of themself and their history, using photography, video, writing, and singing as an aid in this process.
In The Works
Get to know the artist

Acknowledgments

Fabric Softener was commissioned by The Shed as part of Open Call‘s third edition (2023 – 24).

This work was made possible, in part, by the Franklin Furnace FUND 2022 – 23, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and the friends and members of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

Fabric Softener is also supported by YoungArts and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Additional thanks to Robert Rising & NYCitySlab, Nicholas K, and Gotham Production Studios for supplying set pieces, costumes, and audio recording equipment.

Development was made possible by The Watermill Center, NARS Foundation, GALLIM, ART/ New York Theatre, and Amanda + James.

In memory of Barbara Jean Lockhart.

All text and dialogue in this performance is reprinted and performed by permission of Estate of Chloe A. Morrison

Copyright © Estate of Chloe A. Morrison, 1977.

Credits

Open Call Team

Alex Poots, Artistic Director
Darren Biggart, Director of Civic Programs
Dejá Belardo, Assistant Curator, Civic Programs and Visual Arts
Daisy Peele, Open Call Producer (Associate Producer at The Shed)
Christal Ferreira, Program Manager, Civic Programs and Visual Arts
Ben Young, Production Manager

Special thanks to Public Assembly (Tamara McCaw, Maggie MacTiernan, and Annabel Thompson) and to former program team colleagues who facilitated the call for proposals and selection process for the third edition: Solana Chehtman, Sarah Khalid Dhobhany, Alessandra Gómez, and Andria Hickey.

Open Call Production Credits
Stephen Arnold, Open Call Production Manager
Michael Ruiz-del-Vizo, Scenic Coordinator
DJ Potts, Sound Coordinator
Vittoria Orlando, Lighting Coordinator
Hao Bai, Video/Projection Coordinator
Cynthia Caridad, Stage Coordinator
Caren Celine Morris, Stage Coordinator
Ariana Michel, Stage Coordinator
A. Sef, Accessibility Consultant

Location and dates

This event takes place in The Griffin Theater.

July 25 – 27
7:30 pm

The Shed’s Griffin Theater is located at 545 West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. View The Shed on a map.

For information about accessibility and arriving at The Shed, visit our Accessibility page.

Details

  • Running time: 75 minutes
  • This production includes moments of onstage nudity.

Accessibility

Seating

The Shed’s Griffin Theater has accessible seating. Please contact us in advance to discuss your needs and available options by emailing accessibility@theshed.org or calling (646) 455-3949.

Assistive Listening

Visitors may check out assistive listening devices at the entrance to the theater. A driver’s license will be held to check out the device.

ASL Interpretation

ASL interpretation will be available at the Friday, July 26 performance. There will be a reserved section of seats if you would like to sit in proximity to an interpreter. To find the seats, look for the Reserved signs in the theater or ask an usher for help.

Audio Description

Audio description will be available at the Friday, July 26 performance. Audio description is delivered via the free Listen Everywhere app on your personal device with your personal earphones or headphones. To use the app, you must download the app and connect to The Shed’s free Wi-FI network, TheShedFreeWiFi. To find instructions on how to download and use the app, visit the Accessibility page.

Purchasing Tickets

The Shed’s online ticketing system includes the option to submit accommodation requests beyond the access points detailed here.

Contact Us

For questions or other requests, visit the Accessibility page, email accessibility@theshed.org, or call (646) 455-3494.

Thank you to our partners

The Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by The Wescustogo Foundation and Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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