"Touch" -- Artist Statement

Photo: ©Karl Rabe/Vassar College

Photo: ©Karl Rabe/Vassar College

Exploring the transformative “touch” of creativity.

SKIN is a lyrical solo play with music about a woman’s use of creative practice, scholarship, and relationship to shift her experience of literal and existential “touch.” For SKIN is a queer love story about transcending sexual violence.

As the play’s protagonist, Marais, races to complete a dissertation on Virginia Woolf, she falls in love as never before — an elating experience that turns jarring when she confronts echoes of sexual violence in both work and life. She dives into original creative work even as her dissertation and classroom lectures on Woolf take new, imaginative turns. In time, sensual experience itself becomes her medium for experimentation and discovery.

At heart, SKIN explores the “touch” of creativity on the body — whether through movement and music or writing, enacting, singing, hearing, and visualizing poetic language. The play dramatizes the reparative impulse that often sparks expression, and sets up questions about the transformative processes occurring in the brain and body while creating.

 The play’s narrative arises from sexual experience and recovery, yet its revelations extend much farther. Every human has known the myriad ecstasies and crises of “touch.” From infancy on, a reciprocity of contact grounds us in the world. And throughout life we depend on the “touch” of creative activity to repair, adapt, and affirm this vital relationship.

SKIN directly engages the audience in its creative practice to draw them into a vivid and moving encounter with the vulnerability implicit in every contact. Our aim: that people may experience first-hand the transformative “touch” of creative acts to enliven and uplift artists and audiences alike.


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