Requiem for a Stranger
& 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 was in residence at New Orleans' Contemporary Arts Center in Sept, 2020. The 30-minute workshop performance was live-streamed on October 3, 2020.
The Offerings, conceived and directed by Renee Benson, are a series of community rites, healing workshops, and meditative film projects that grew out of Requiem for a Stranger's exploration of the Grief Body. They are focused on community building and engagement.
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
Costume Consultation by: Janese Galathe
Anti-Colonial Dramaturg: Alaina Comeaux
Physical Dramaturg: Penelope McCourty
Devised collaboratively by Tricia Anderson, Jeff Becker, Renee Benson,
Grace Booth, Jalisa Roberts, and Jennifer Sargent
Conceived and Directed by Renee Benson
“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, meditative film projects, and an online platform for storytelling and healing resources. In partnership with the New Orleans African American Museum, Mindy Milan of the Center for Mind Body Medicine, and an ensemble of other visionaries, the Offerings seek to draw a broad community into a process of honoring and healing our community’s losses.
Our "Offerings" Partners
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