Project: Core of Me

Sirovich Family Resident: Jeremy Pickard
STEAMplant Faculty Members: Christopher X J. Jensen & Jennifer Telesca

Core of Me: A Hike-Play is a literal journey through trees, in which an audience experiences a performance while guided on a hike through the woods. Inspired by ecological, anthropological, and indigenous perspectives on climate change, Core of Me explores a moment in the short life of an anxious human and the long life of a forest, both attempting to come to terms with our new, turbulent reality.

The hike-play is made up of two scripts. The first script is a fictional narrative that follows a human confronting climate anxiety while traversing contemporary urban life. The second script, interwoven into the first, reveals the climatic events experienced by trees – and the cultural events they witnessed – over hundreds of years.

The hike-play is modular; it changes based on the history of the place where it is being performed. Rehearsals are conducted simultaneously with research: our creative team partners with local scientists, historians, and indigenous leaders to understand and honor the history of the local forest.

Audiences experience the performance moving with and around them: actors enter from a distance; narrative is passed from guide to guide; musicians accompany for a spell; there are stretches of silence where the drama of the woods is theater enough.

In March 2019, the Core of Me team hosted “Eco-Performance Lab” on Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus. This lab was a creative and interdisciplinary workshop for collaborative response to climate crisis through guided performance-making.

Core of Me: A Hike-Play debuted in October of 2019 as part of Pratt Sustainability Coalition’s Blue Week, a week-long series of events which celebrate the life-giving force of water, at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory.

Core of Me: A Hike-Play debut at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (October 2019). Photo credit Jess Lazar.