This musical performance project will be presented in a theatrical setting. Reddy will compose and conduct the music. Poet, saxophonist, and visual artist Oliver Lake will write and perform the libretto. The title and premise of the piece is taken from a sermon that the Reverend William Barber II gave on July 12, 2015 on the eve of the North Carolina NAACP vs. McCrory trial in Winston-Salem. The suit was brought by Reverend Barber, the League of Women Voters, a group of college students, and the Department of Justice. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, several states made sweeping and draconian changes to their election laws. Such legislation resulted in hundreds of thousands of Americans being effectively denied access to the voting booth. Reverend Barber’s sermon called attention to these deliberate attacks on the lives and voting rights of Americans. Citing Isaiah 58: “Cry Out Loud, don’t hold back, interrupt the nation,” Barber exhorted the over 10,000 protestors gathered outside the state capitol, their allies, and the many who watched events unfold on the news to engage in what he called “necessary interruption.” “The reality,” Reverend Barber explained, “is…that the nation needs interruption, particularly when liturgy or parliamentary procedures become a cover up for injustice.” His call to action was not limited to voting rights. All injustices—including police brutality; capital punishment; and discrimination against the LGBTQ, Native, and immigrant communities—demand attention. Reverend Barber ended his sermon with this declaration: “My job, your job, is to interrupt! INTERRUPTION! is how Reddy and Lake will take up Barber’s challenge. Through their respective disciplines of jazz/contemporary composition and spoken word, they will use performance to interrupt social and political hierarchies that have long perpetuated a multitude of injustices in the United States.
INTERRUPTION! was awarded a 2016 MAP Fund grant, a program primarily supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with additional funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, MAP is an affiliate program of Creative Capital.
INTERRUPTION! was awarded a BRIClab residency & the project will be in residence there from April 3 – 14, 2017.
INTERRUPTION! was conceived & created by Rob Reddy
Composer & Conductor – Rob Reddy
Librettist & Performer – Oliver Lake
Dramaturg – Meg Araneo