Pieces of Amber

November 2013 Performance Series

Pieces of Amber is an audience-immersive, interactive experience challenging the limits of experimental theater, provocative performance art, conceptual installation, and other artistic forms. Palermo’s Pieces of Amber confronts the complexities of human identity and psyche by exploring discarded diaries and abandoned ephemera of a real-life woman named Amber.

One day in the summer of 2010, Amber deserted her shared Columbia Heights apartment without warning, never to return.  Months later, her diaries were discovered by her roommate, Josef Palermo, as he tried to make sense of this person who had quite literally left her life behind. The act of reading the journals of his former roommate and friend felt like the ultimate betrayal; yet she’d left them in plain sight. The knowingly theatrical tone she invoked ultimately confirmed to him that she had intended them for an imagined audience. Coincidentally, on the very first day Josef started work on the project, Amber walked into the coffee shop where he was drafting production notes and they spoke for the first time since her abrupt departure.  She knows he is creating a work inspired by her.

This immersive art experience is intended to enable an audience to uncover, identify, and question the many complex identities of Amber through artistic multidisciplinary presentation of the fugue in her diaries. The audience will enter and interact within an exploratory set of artifacts and other personal effects installed as an abandoned domestic space, and the abstract representation of Amber will be presented via experiential engagement of her diaries to build a character while framing inquiries of storytelling versus performance, narration versus enactment, and conceptual art installation versus theatrical set design – while questioning to what extent one is capable of assembling a cohesive story and/or character from the abandoned pieces of ephemera that once constituted a life.*

As the lead generative artist behind Pieces of Amber, actor/director/producer Josef Palermo has spent nearly three years developing this work.  Joining his creative team for the show are co-director Jennifer Restak, producer James Alefantis, and production designer Andrew Herndon — in addition to conceptual artist Bahar Jalehmahmoudi, performance artist Jason Barnes, and first-time performer Blaire Boston.

Pieces of Amber opens at doris-mae on November 8, 2013, and will have a limited run through November 17, 2013.

* Amber is based on a character created by Amber Walson.