invisible cities group performances

things I never told u
impossible library
notes for the next life
watching the detectives
dream house
ghost factory
invisible cities

things I never told u 2003

Shelley Winters Project (the BAND)

"Things I Never Told U," an outdoor, sing-along musical featuring live songs by Rick Berlin and the Shelley Winters Project invites the audience to take part in an outdoor, sing-along musical.

Set on Aberdeen Road in Somerville near Davis Square, the musical follows the story of George, a 19-year-old kid who's going nowhere fast, and how his neighborhood bands together to save him.

Adapted from Bernard Malamud's short story "A Summer's Reading," the script evokes nostalgia for a time when everybody on their street knew each other. In the Invisible Cities Group version, we watch George simultaneously at the ages of 12, 19 and 48 try to figure out his life. Rick Berlin, as the older George, acts as the narrator.

A cast of 30, playing neighbors, will make Aberdeen Road come alive with all-singing, all-dancing production numbers. From their vantage point on a corner, spectators will get a street's-eye-view of the action.


impossible library 2001

Set at Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, a lush garden cemetery founded in 1848, the project led the audience along a winding path past installations of video, dance, visual art and performance--exploring how each life is like a book, and how memory accumulates like a vast library.

Notes for the Next Life, 1999







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Part nature walk and part whimsical journey, the event invited spectators to navigate a little-known terrain: the Mystic River Reservation in Medford. It fused the work of over 40 Boston performance, music and visual artists in an exploration of the river's past, present and possible futures.

"Welcome to the Lower Mystic. I'm Rick Williams, and I'll be your guide for tonight's tour. The lands bordering the Mystic River were originally home to the Pawtucket and Menotomet tribes, who relied on the river for food and transportation. Missi-tuck, in the Algonquin language, means a great river whose waters are driven by waves.People once surfed the Mystic on boards made of dwarf maple.

In the fall of 1882, workmen digging a cellar hole discovered the bones of 18 Indians in a sitting position with weapons of war.

Ten thousands years ago these waters held alewives by the thousands."

Watching the Detectives, 1997

Tower by Jeff Smith

Coat by Deb Olin

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Armed with a map, headphones, and a taped set of clues, audience members fanned out over a whole neighborhood. They visited a host of characters and listened to their stories on front porches, street corners, and in a pizza restaurant. Half scavenger hunt, half unguided tour, the audience played detective in order to create their own story.

"The way I see it, a writer and a detective are in the same business. The detective looks, listens, and moves through a tangle of objects and events in search of the thought, the idea that will pull everything together and make sense of it all.

Like walking between these houses, here, so close together. You scan these narrow dead-ends for a footprint that means someone's passed by; the puddle that says there's been a storm; a sort of flower that means the end of spring.

Have you noticed these streets are built like a trap, a maze, that brings people to the same points, down the same streets, along the same sidewalks? By the nature of things, everyone's followed; everyone runs into each other.

I force myself to walk slower, slow enough to look at each doorway, the numbers on the telephone poles&emdash;to notice the way you can see through backyards.

I wonder about what's changed, what's stayed the same. A house gone missing, a generation disappeared, a neighborhood waiting for the end of its story."

Dream House, 1996

An interactive performance/installation that took place in an entire house and yard on the Somerville/Medford line, Dream House was an evocative look at childhood. The audience was free to wander the rooms of the house, to open closets and go through drawers where artworks were installed, and to follow members of a fictitious family.

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Ghost Factory, 1995

Along a Davis Square bike path that follows an abandoned railway line, spectators took a journey into the past. Led by a team of dancers, and accompanied by a symphony echoing from trees, the audience entered a place of memory where they faced the questions: What would you save? What would you sacrifice?

I dreamt there was a man at the end of a long hallway
blabbing relentlessly about what's lost. In his hand
he was holding a headless rose-stem
drenched in rain. Then I began to hear whispering
in the next house. Something about
a baby. And on the street I could hear people
thinking: their thoughts were loud,
their bones creaked. My eyes began to see
details, not things. A pole that leans
two inches to the right. The peeling paint on a wall.

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Invisible Cities, 1994

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Spread out over eight square blocks near Union Square in Somerville, Invisible Cities combined theatrical vignettes with installations of visual art. The audience was led on a guided tour of the neighborhood, tracing the route of the long-buried Miller's River. Along the way, local history was revealed, as well as hidden subcultures.

There are invisible cities.
They exist between and under this one. Sometimes they are entered through sleep. Sometimes they present themselves in a census' blackened circles. In one live veterans of various wars, some still clinging to their posts. Another exists only through phone lines threaded above labyrinthian streets.