Requiem for a Stranger
& The Gorgeous Offerings
Requiem for a Stranger is an expansive work of music, movement-theater, and sacred spaces created by physical theater company Vagabond Inventions and Singer-Composer Renee Benson. This episodic, ensemble-devised project explores the heartspace of grief and loss.
Requiem will premiere at New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center in October, 2022 preceded by a year of community events, called the Gorgeous Offerings, created to support healing from the loss and grief of the
A workshop performance of Requiem, developed in-residence at the CAC, was live-streamed on October 3, 2020.
FALL 2021 - FALL 2022
The Offerings, conceived and directed by Renee Benson, are a series of community rites, healing workshops, and a meditative film project that will precede the premiere of Requiem for a Stranger. These events, open to all, are created to respond to the particular burden of grief held in the BIPOC community.
Artwork by Alaina Comeaux
Photos by Sarrah Danziger
“The work is powerful; Benson’s vocals are haunting and the use of enormous piles of newspaper distorts the stage space and one’s expectations of square planes.”
Laurie Uprichard, Director and Curator of Performing Arts, Contemporary Arts Center
“I was holding my breath throughout. The performance really speaks to the process we all go through when we grieve.”
Carly Rogers, Social Worker serving young people in Jefferson Parish
“Really profound”... and provokes reflections
around our “cultural survival mechanisms.”
Jon Greene, Director of theater company, The Radical Buffoons
Co-Conception: Renee Benson and Jennifer Sargent
Performers: Renee Benson, Grace Booth, Jalisa Roberts, and Jennifer Sargent
Directed by: Jennifer Sargent
Music/ Sound Composed by: Renee Benson
Design by: Jeff Becker
Light Co-Designed by: Jo Nazro
Choreography Consultant: Madison Krekel
Costume Design by: Janese Galathe
Anti-Colonial Dramaturg: Alaina Comeaux
Physical Dramaturg: Penelope McCourty
Social Justice & Producing Consultant: Renellta Arluk
Devised collaboratively by Tricia Anderson, Jeff Becker, Renee Benson,
Grace Booth, Jalisa Roberts, and Jennifer Sargent
Conceived and Directed by Renee Benson
Co-produced by Jennifer Sargent
Supported by the Contemporary Arts Center's Inter[SECTOR] Residency
The “Gorgeous Offerings” address the manifestation of the Grief Body within the Black and Indigenous community in New Orleans and beyond. The Offerings are a series of community rituals and healing spaces that, together, will form a transmedia storytelling project offering an array of resources across a year-long Inter[SECTOR] residency at New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center. These events include: the episodic experimental film The Black Ophelia, accompanied by community dialogue around Black women’s birthright to fragility in mourning; integrative health sessions led by staff from the Center for Mind Body Medicine; and workshops on “Grief Mapping” and anti-colonial relationships to the land led by Raconteur Alaina Comeaux. The Offerings seek to draw a broad community into a process of honoring and healing our community’s losses.
Our "Offerings" Collaborators
Renee Benson is the co-visionary of Requiem for a Stranger as well as a pirate, EmC, singer, poet, producer, and education advocate.
Mindy Milam is a Social Worker who is on staff with The Center for Mind Body Medicine.
Alaina Comeaux is the Raconteur who created the Decolonized Walks of Bulbancha.
Jamaican born Jason Foster is an award winning film and video artist in New Orleans.
Gia Hamilton, the Executive Director of the New Orleans African American Museum, identifies as a “shape shifter for liberation”.
Artwork above by Alaina Comeaux
Artwork by Alaina Comeaux