Okwui Okpokwasili Bronx Gothic


In Bronx Gothic, the visual artist, choreographer and writer, Okwui Okpokwasili’s piece centres upon the fictional account of a young girl’s memories. Using a mixture of dance and readings, this solo invites audiences to experience the construction of an intimate testimony.

Onstage, we are presented with a woman, alone, in a box-like décor consisting of closed curtains, accompanied by lighting and scenography which generates a sense of proximity. By reading the notes that they might have passed between them, and taking on their different voices, the woman recounts the story of a young girl, aged eleven years-old, in addition to that of one of her friends. This process of reading aloud is the mechanism by which Okwui Okpokwasili brings to the stage the memories of this period in their lives: their sexual awakening, in the 1980’s, in the Bronx, New York. Drawing upon a mixture of theatre, choreography and installation, Bronx Gothic is a monologue which puts the intimacy – that of a woman, and a body - on centre-stage. Created in 2014 and performed by Okwui Okpokwasili until 2019, the piece is presented at the Festival d’Automne in its new version. The dancer, Wanjiru Kamuyu now performs the work, in a staging which goes one step further in the questions it raises about the construction of a shared life history experience.