As part of The Glassblock’s sponsored partnership with the New Hazlett Theater, they are presenting a series of editorially-independent previews and reviews of the 2016-2017 Community Supported Art (CSA) Performance Series. Below is part of their review of A Love Supreme by Anqwenique Wingfield and Julie Mallis, a collaborative response from editor Adam Shuck, arts and culture editor David Bernabo, and guest panelist Anna Elder. Read Elder’s bio below, and read the preview of the performance here.
Meeting at her home in Garfield some weeks ago, Pittsburgh vocalist, musician, and composer Anqwenique Wingfield told us how her classical operatic training often entailed a rigidity that disregarded her love for funk, R&B, and jazz. “The truth is,” Wingfield explained, “it’s all in me.”
Divided into three acts and interspersed with visual projections from her collaborator Julie Mallis, A Love Supreme, which premiered at the New Hazlett Theater on February 16, 2017, is multi-layered, genre-blending personal proof and a woven composite of Wingfield as artist and budding composer.
Stage right, a pair of wooden doors with glass panes are stacked perpendicularly, adorned by a pair of boxing gloves, candle sticks, flashes of red and gold. Stage left, three small tables are cloaked in soft white fabric with glass bowls and water. And center stage, a patch of earth is ringed by potted plants, a light wooden trellis, dried flowers and herbs. As A Love Supreme begins, bathed in white light, Julie Mallis enters from stage right, gingerly and joyfully dropping little bits of folded paper like flowers around the set and then retreating. Enter Anqwenique Wingfield, approaching a music stand atop a carpet of sheet music.
From the outset, A Love Supreme’s subject matter is naturalistic in theme. “To fling my arms wide / In some place of the sun, / To whirl and to dance / ‘Til the white day is done. / Then rest at cool evening / Beneath a tall tree / While night comes on gently, / Dark like me,” she sings, a selection from Dorothy Rudd Moore’s 1976 song cycle Sonnets on Love, Rosebuds & Death that has adapted Langston Hughes’s poem “Dream Variations.”