MEMORY IS A BODY OF WATER is a dance-theater play for two women and a dancer. Created with video, the play chronicled a night in the life a Kim, a young ‘vigilante artist’ who has been spray painting R.I.P. on the sidewalk where her brother was killed. Through a journey in time and a constellation of characters, Kim learns that even through the protracted history of violence for African-Americans, the will to survive is always present, and a possibility for her future. Written by Lisa Biggs and Tanisha Christie

MEMORY IS A BODY OF WATER – Production History


“…[a] defiant lamentation…” New York Times 8/8/03

“ ...[an] eloquently passionate excavation of history…” 8/10/02

“…dynamic…” The Chronicle 8/7/03

Memory Is A Body Of Water has been developed through Equity staged readings and workshop productions at:

  • Baltimore Theatre Project – Baltimore, MD
  • The Living Stage Theatre Company – Washington, DC
  • The All Nation’s Studio – Washington, DC
  • Joe’s Movement Emporium – Mt. Rainer, MD
  • 2000 Source Theatre Festival – Washington, DC
  • Art-O-Matic! – Washington, DC

Excerpts performed at:

  • Cultural Odyssey – San Francisco, CA
  • Links Hall – Chicago, IL

Full Equity productions:

  • New York International Fringe Festival, a production of The Present Company in New York City, The CSV Milagro Theatre (August 2002).  
  • Amherst College (September 2002)
  • Goucher College (September 2002)
  • District of Columbia Arts Center (October 2002)
  • National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (August 2003)

The play had the following cast:   


Lisa Biggs*
Tanisha Christie*

Ancestor/Dancer   Rita Jean Kelly Burns
Directed by   Kristin Horton
Original Music and Sound Design   Grant Matthew Smith
Choreography   Rita Jean Kelly Burns
Videomaker   French Jouffriault
Lighting Design   Lakia Green
Set Design   William Wurtz
Voiceovers   Kelly Gardner, Vanessa Thomas, Jonathan Zuck
Men In Video   Sam Delmore, Greg A. Reid

Technical requirements:

  • Minimal set and utilitarian costumes are employed.  Possibly a few distinctive props, such as an aluminum tub and a small bench, in addition to a backdrop upon which the video plays, are on stage.

Length: 90 minutes.  No intermission.  Not suitable for children under 17.

Collaborator:  Dr. Lisa Biggs is a performing artist and performance scholar with over fifteen years worked as a performing artist, playwright, educator and arts administrator.  A former member of the Living Stage Theatre Company, she helped to co-found Medusa Speaks: An Artists’ Collective in 1999, and has helped produce the work of emerging women performing artists of color in venues New York to San Francisco.  Her own work has been performed at Cultural Odyssey, Baltimore Theater Project, Links Hall, the NY International Fringe and Hip Hop Theater festivals, the National Black Theater Festival, Brooklyn Arts Exchange and many more.  She holds a BA in Theater & Dance from Amherst College and an MA in Playwriting & Performance Studies from the Gallatin School at New York University. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and teaches theatre and performance studies at Michigan State University in the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities.