Leyla McCalla’s new multi disciplinary theatrical presentation, Breaking The Thermometer to Hide The Fever, makes its Philadelphia premiere at Fringe Arts on Friday, December 10th and Saturday, December 11th.
The performance, set to new music by the Haitian-American singer-songwriter is directed by Kiyoko McCrae, and commissioned by Duke Performances. The project explores the legacy of Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station, and the assassination of its owner, Jean Dominique, in 2000. The title is derived from a proverb used by Dominique to describe the spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of violence and political oppression.
Breaking the Thermometer weaves together storytelling, dance, video projection, and audio recordings from Duke’s Radio Haiti Archive with McCalla’s own compositions and arrangements of traditional Haitian songs. Through this juxtaposition of voices — the personal and political, the anecdotal and the journalistic — McCalla gives expression to the enduring spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of several centuries of political oppression. She pays homage along the way to the activists like Dominique who have fought, often at great personal cost, to amplify these unheard voices.
Leyla McCalla also hosts the documentary, Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms and the music of New Orleans. You can listen to it here.
The event is free, however reservations are required.
Major support for Kanaval: Haitian Rhythms & the Music of New Orleans has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Wyncote Foundation.