Photo by Tim Summers

Finding the beauty in loneliness

Back in 2014, Jessica Jobaris was having an existential crisis. Feeling depressed and isolated, she put out a call to past collaborators. “I told them, let’s all meet in my living room and talk about what it is to be lonely,” she says, “and what it is to navigate how messy things are right now.” 

An initial group of nine created a piece for 2015’s NW New Works Festival, which became the basis for the evening-length work premiering this month. The cast has since swelled to 22 performers—billed as General Magic—from an array of backgrounds and training. They used their bodies as research in a highly collaborative process rooted in somatic meditation and improvisation. “Your stories are stored in your muscles and tissue,” Jobaris says.

Harnessing the beauty and vulnerability of failure and imperfection, the piece has a ritualistic quality, mixing choreography with more pedestrian movement captured from the cast’s improvisations. It’s less about virtuosic technical skill than “being in a state,” as Jobaris puts it, about recreating the honest essence of a feeling or memory.

A Great Hunger runs March 16 – 19 at On the Boards