REwind: a Cantata for Voice, Tape, and Testimony

April 4-17 at the Thompson Memorial Chapel

REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape & Testimony draws from testimonies collected by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) after the end of apartheid. Set to music and illuminated by projected text and images, the work captures the communal and individual experiences of both transgressors and victims of the atrocities of apartheid.

The work premiered live at the ’62 Center at Williams in 2007.  In April, the Gaudino program returns the work to Williams with an installation of seven videos, dispersed across the campus, that disrupt the everyday experience of our spaces.  By bearing witness to the TRC process, the sounds and images challenge us to reflect: what are the costs of keeping such memories of collective trauma alive? What are the costs of letting them go?

This distributed installation includes video monitors in Sawyer Library, Hollander Hall, WCMA, ’62 Center, Schow, Davis Center, and Milne Public Library, each showing one of these clips, with audio available on headphones. The entire production will be screened continuously in Thompson Chapel for the duration of the installation, April 4-17.  The artistic creators, Gerhard and Maja Marx will return to campus for the installation.

REwind Revisited:  An Interview with Theater Professor David Eppel and producer Rachel Chanoff

REwind Revisited on WAMC

Conceived and composed by Philip Miller with additional vocal arrangements by Mduduzi Mofokeng

Designed and directed by Gerhard Marx

Conducted and with music direction by Brad Wells

Inspired by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings,REwind: A Cantata for Voice,Tape & Testimonycelebrates the human spirit that rose above the atrocities of apartheid. This extraordinary international collaboration features some of South Africa’s leading opera soloists and a chorus composed of Williams Concert Choir, Brooklyn’s Total Praise Choir of Emmanuel Baptist Church, and South African singers. Composer Philip Miller has built songs around audio samples of testimony from the actual TRC hearings. Designer Gerhard Marx illuminates the full power of the cantata with projected text and images through which the testimonies literally take form, enveloping the performers and erasing the space between victim and transgressor, between those who deliver testimony and those who listen.The result is a theatrical experience of unmatched beauty and power.

The original production was commissioned by the’62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College, Spier Arts Trust (South Africa), MASS MoCA, and the Celebrate Brooklyn Performing Arts Festival.

Co-sponsored by the Gaudino Fund, the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, the Williams College Museum of Art, Williams College Libraries, the Davis Center, the Chaplain’s Office, and the Milne Public Library.