“A nurse … checks her wristwatch.”
So begins The Space Between, Shannon Curtis’s stunning new one-woman show. Equal parts concert and theatrical performance, The Space Between expands the boundaries of what a solo singer-songwriter musical performance can look like.
The Space Between was written between December 2016 and March 2017, and is an unflinchingly frank exploration of the experiences birthed in that turbulent time:
… of finding a foothold in an unrecognizable world
… of grieving the loss of an illusory reality
… of internalizing the experiences of others
… and of embracing our common humanity, with the conviction that we are each other’s hope.
People who lived through the 60s who have seen The Space Between have commented that this show relates to our current time in the same way that the music of the 60s served as the soundtrack for the civil rights movement. A woman in the audience on this summer’s tour characterized the show as “The message of Joan Baez, combined with the punk spirit of Joan Armatrading and the melodies of Sarah Mclachlan.”
ABOUT THE SHOW
Shannon performs The Space Between solo, seated at a keyboard. The show runs about 80 minutes, and features 12 songs, interconnected in a linear narrative by spoken-word storytelling, and underpinned by environmental recordings, movie-like sound design, and score. Shannon performs the show from center stage; her husband, music producer Jamie Hill, contributes involving, emotional sound design in real time from his position embedded within the audience, shaping the performance to the unique energy of the evening’s crowd. We call this presentation “immersive storytelling,” and we call the resulting performance an “audio play.”
The Space Between tells two stories in parallel. In the present tense, the play is the story of a woman waking up in a world she doesn’t recognize, coming to terms with her place in it, and figuring out her path forward through it. Through flashback, we also learn about the woman’s life as a younger girl, tracing her evolution through pivotal events that shape the person she ultimately grows into through her awakening and transformation.
The message of the show is one of finding strength and community in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, by getting back in touch with the shared humanity that connects us all.
“You and I are made from the same light.”
Here’s a concert film of Shannon’s 2016 “Heart on Fire” show. This is generally what the The Space Between show looks and feels like in terms of the simple stage set, performance, storytelling, and emotional connection, with the (very large) omission of the “immersive storytelling” components, which are new for the The Space Between show. Nonetheless, this will give you a good feel for Shannon’s innate performing and storytelling sensibilities:
Here’s a stream of the studio album of the audio play. The live show differs from the studio album in that it’s all performed live on a solo keyboard, in a raw, more intense, stripped-back way, like the concert film. Regardless, this will give you a sense of this year’s material and storytelling perspective:
Here’s a Facebook Live broadcast from our Charlottesville show on this year’s house concert tour. (By pure coincidence, this show was scheduled for August 21, 2017, which ended up being only 9 days after the horrific white supremacist attacks on Charlottesville. If you sense some extra emotion in the performance, that’s why.) The sound and picture on this are iPhone-y, and the cicadas in the background are loud, but you’ll get a good idea of what the show feels like. The performance starts at about 10 minutes in:
And, for context, here’s Shannon’s 2015 TEDx Talk:
Thanks for reading. We can’t wait to share this show and its message with your community. ❤️