Exploding Moment//
Hot Dust

Jan 25 - feb 3//
new performance series

(click for tickets and schedule)

Part séance, part sermon, HOT DUST is a sympathetic and visceral examination of two strains of American religious fervor, both distinguished by charismatic female leaders: 19th Century Spiritualism and the Pentecostalism of the 1920s.  HOT DUST compares these two movements through a single character-- Sister, a conflicted leader who uses her gifts of perception and charm to both survive and self-destruct.

Can you feel my hand?”  --the whisper is barely discernible, as is the almost-invisible flower at center stage, whose amorphous shape cannot be defined in the blackness.  In this opening and elsewhere, Exploding Moment's HOT DUST asks audiences to suss out the whispered nuances at the stage edge.  The play explores two worlds—one based on 19th century Spiritualist mediums, the other inspired by an anti-Suffragist, anti-Darwinist Pentacostal firebrand of the 1920s.  Both are manifested in the central character Sister, a showperson who uses her gifts of perception and charm to both survive and self-descruct.  

Her story unfolds from a central set piece, a “spirit cabinet” modeled after the 19th century contraption in which mediums hid their props and assistants to thrill sitters with encounters with the underworld.  Designed by object theater artist Joe Silovsky and Tony Award- winning costumer Paloma Young, the spectacle of HOT DUST expands with Sister's ambitions and influence.  As we move from the world of the progressive, abolitionist Spritiualists to that of 20th century revivalists, we sense the patterns that inform both preacher and follower: these seekers of truth and comfort find their needs at odds with one another, with compromise and hypocrisy the inevitable result; both versions of Sister gain influence and independence by defending an oppressive domestic structure they had artfully escaped.  Their stories are told through gestures and whispers, and a clever staging that compels the audience to pay close attention.