Steel Hammer—coming to the BAM Harvey Theater this Wednesday, December 2—creatively explores the cost of hard labor on the human body and soul. We spoke with four individuals involved in this collaboration—two singers, a stage manager, and two playwrights—to better understand the process involved in creating this multi-hyphenate work of new music theater.
|Steel Hammer. Photo: Krannert Center|
How did you get involved with Steel Hammer? What is your contribution to the piece?
KATIE GEISSINGER (singer): I'd seen the concert Steel Hammer at Zankel Hall with Trio Mediaeval in 2009, and was longing to sing it. When Julia Wolfe called because she was casting a local trio, I jumped!
CARL HANCOCK RUX (playwright): Anne Bogart (and SITI Company) contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in writing text for a new piece she was working on based on the John Henry myth. I'd long been a fan of Anne Bogart and Julia Wolfe and was thrilled to accept the invitation. I wrote the "Migrant Mamie Remembers" monologue performed by Patrice Johnson Chevannes.
ELLEN MEZZERA (stage manager): I joined Steel Hammer a few weeks before we went to Actors Theatre of Louisville in 2014 as the production stage manager.
KIA CORTHRON (playwright): Anne Bogart contacted me by email. I think we may have met in passing before that, but never formally. She asked me to be one of the contributing writers.
EMILY EAGEN (singer): I remember first discussing the piece with Julia Wolfe on the phone, and, when she described the connections the work makes between folk music and contemporary music, I got so excited! I can still remember that exact moment.