“Broken turtle, busy hare” performed at The Jewish Museum

Last night Hinda Weiss and I presented our piece, “Broken turtle, busy hare” at Scenes from the Collection at the Jewish Museum in New York.  The performance weaves together two artists’ journeys: Hinda’s video work from the Negev Desert and fragments of my own memories of my childhood in rural North Carolina.  In the video, a woman walks with absolute determination on an absurd path while in the text a boy attempts to construct an identity out of animal corpses, archaeological artifacts, and religious paraphernalia.

The show included other performances and installations by Kiki Williams, Rachel Labine, and others.



Fragment: Translation of Bahnwärter Thiel

I’ve recently begun working on a translation of one of my favorite stories, “Bahnwärter Thiel” by Gerhard Hauptmann.  

Every Sunday you could find Thiel the rail signalman sitting in church, except for the days when he either had to work or was sick in bed.  But over the course of ten years he’d only been sick twice:  the first time was when a large piece of coal fell out of the coal car of a passing train and tossed him down the embankment with a shattered leg; the second was when a bottle of wine came flying out of the window of a train as it sped past and hit him square in the chest.  Apart from these two mishaps, as long as he didn’t have to work, nothing had ever managed to keep him from going to church.

Feedback for the author

I could not make sense of this, despite how engaging and vivid it was. Why is the father doing this? What’s with the fuses? Is this real or imagined? Why was he rambling on about things that wouldn’t matter to a boy (or maybe girl?) who’s being held against his/her will? Why is the brother picking him/her up for swimming? Does he not live with them? Why doesn’t the father take him/her (although, even as I ask this, I can see why. But then it makes me wonder why this father is allowed anywhere near his child.) What is going on here? I was lost from the start and remained so until the end.