“The Monkey and the Devil”

Pub date June 25, 2008
SectionArts & CultureSectionStage

PREVIEW Sometimes history has a peculiar way of bringing us full circle. Charles Trapolin’s family owned slaves on their plantation in South Carolina. Joanna Haigood’s family were slaves in the vicinity. The commonality and difference between those two families led to The Monkey and the Devil, a collaboration between Trapolin, the former ODC dancer turned visual artist, and dancer/choreographer Haigood. Taking its title from racial slurs, the world premiere examines a festering wound in the social fabric that has not healed nearly as well as many of us would like to pretend. Haigood started the piece long before Barack Obama’s candidacy but, she points out, it certainly has acquired an unexpected urgency. "Racism," she says, "hurts everybody. It’s a social ill that we need to address and realize that it is connected to economy and class." Formally, the piece is an installation, continuing Haigood’s long-time interest in working with picture frames. It’s a visual motif that works well with Trapolin’s idea to create a house split in two. On the set, two couples — one white, one black — take turns assuming roles. Audiences are invited to stay as long as they like during this four-hour performance. Though she’ll have a collection box, the show is free because Haigood really wants all of us to come see it.

THE MONKEY AND THE DEVIL Fri/28 and Sat/29, 1–5 p.m. Free. Zaccho Dance Studio, 777 Yosemite, studio 330, SF. (415) 822-7644, www.zaccho.org