Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

Vanderning [for a walk]

By Logan Schulman and Benjamin Behrend

This experimental immersive theater piece uses music, stage directions and pointed narration to craft a soundscape that engages the listener's heart and mind. 

Note from the creators: vandern is Yiddish for 'to wander.' I added the anglo suffix -ing to make it present progressive; present for both the tense of the verb and also present for the Yiddish language. 

Transcript:

LOGAN: Hi! I’m Logan.

BEN: And I’m Ben, and we’re the folks responsible for this little meditation you’re about to do. Thanks for tuning in.

LOGAN: We begin outside.

BEN: Are you outside? If yes, great! If not, and you plan to participate with a walk around the block, pause the track here and then play it once you’re outside. If there aren’t typical ‘blocks’ where you are, adapt this so you’ll walk about a 10 minute circuit. If you don’t plan on listening to this while walking, don’t sweat it, but take a seat somewhere peaceful, close your eyes, and imagine yourself outside.

LOGAN: We begin outside. Don’t worry, we’ll tell you when it’s time to start walking. We find ourselves now outside of our home, or the home of a friend, out in the open. There’s an infinity to stress, worry, and grieve over in the world right now, but a walk around the block with some music on gives us just a small bit of time, a chance to reacquaint ourselves with the vibrancy of the living world directly surrounding us.

BEN: Of course our grieving is far from over, however this is a way of marking time, of finding ourselves for a moment as a small and significant element of a much larger whole. Walking around the block is also traditionally the way Jews end the seven-day period of intense mourning known as Shiva following the death of a loved one, and in doing so, re-immerse themselves with the outside world.

LOGAN: In walking, and in being open, we are not leaving our grief behind, but rather living alongside it, allowing its presence, and more importantly, allowing our own presence too.

BEN: What you’re about to hear is a song titled La Rosa Enflorece performed by Noam Vazana and remixed by Seawrecker. It is performed in Ladino, a language spoken by some Sephardic Jews, especially those in and formerly of Mediterranean countries. Ladino has its roots in medieval Spanish influenced by the Hebrew, Greek, and Turkish languages.

LOGAN: So let’s start moving, you’re just going to walk around your block at an easy pace. You’ll listen to the music we’ve got for you, and end up eventually where you began. We encourage an open mind. Let it go where it wants to go, and stay within whatever parameters feel safe for you.

Music begins.

LOGAN: I believe that honesty, imagination, and the belief in ourselves are basic towards a better universe. I believe that rigidity is death. I believe that there is no death but life. I believe that pain is as valuable as pleasure. I believe that we must communicate, that we have to signal towards each other, to tell each other where we are at, in order to make a destination clear in the chaos of this world. I believe that chaos and conflict can be the beginning of creation. I believe that experience is the ultimate answer towards a richer and fuller life of understanding. I believe in the big universal family and that we shall solve our problems, God help us.
(Beck, Julian & Malina, Judith. The Living Book of the Living Theatre. New York Graphic Society [Greenwich, CT].)

Holiday nights when the weather was warm, we used to walk about In silence, or talking softly close to one another, Houses and trees in the moonlight I have seen them pass and turn the corner, Colors shining in their wings and their heads rubies. I will begin building myself webs, Delicate thought leading to delicate thought. To catch an earth tumbling on through space (Reznikoff, Charles. Chatterton, The Black death (pp. 3-4). [New York, NY]. Kindle edition.)
 


Logan Gabriel Schulman (they/them) is a queer visual and performance artist, director, cultural educator, and activist. Their work unfolds as ritual collage, complicating common visions of faith in America. Through performance, installation, and video, their practice weaves empathy, criticality, and wonder into reflexive multimedia narratives. Logan has created work for the Toronto-based Italian experimentalist theater DopoLavoro Teatrale, University of Pennsylvania, Enya Kalia Creations, Renegade Theater, the Chautauqua Institution, ReVamp Collective, and the Estate of Historic Spanish Point, among others. They earned their Bachelors with Honors in Theater and Religion from New College of Florida. Their work has been supported in residencies and grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Florida Humanities Council, Bread & Puppet Theater, the School of Visual Art at Chautauqua Institution, Stella Adler Studio, New College of Florida, Headlong Dance Theater, Philadelphia Directors Gathering, Directors Lab North (Toronto) and Directors Lab West (LA). 

Benjamin Behrend (he/him) is a Philadelphia-based writer, actor, and comedian raised four blocks from the Liberty Bell and America’s largest Wawa convenience store. He has worked with many Philadelphia theater companies: Arden Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Theatre Exile, and Act II Playhouse. He co-wrote and co-starred in an original production, Two-Man, One-Man, which was performed at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, ComedySportz Philadelphia, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. He has also contributed jokes to This is The Week That Is, 1812 Productions’ longtime political comedy show. Benjamin is a company member of ComedySportz Philadelphia where he regularly performs improv and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he regularly improvised the answers to exams. 

Thank you to Rise Up, the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah for their generous support of Reset.

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