August 9, 2022

Hawthorne and Melville Relationship Explored in Immersive Performance

by joeyphoenix

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Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts opens it fall season with ReWritten, Friday, September 16 at 7:30 pm in the Sophia Gordon Center, 356 Lafayette Street. ReWritten is an immersive multi-disciplinary performance that explores the often-silenced intimate relationship between authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. Moving between their lives, work, and remaining letters, ReWritten reimagines an intergenerational queer love story that helped shape American literature. Through dance, live music, visual art, projection, and text this performance questions what happens when we say no to dreams when we want to say yes. Co-created and performed by Tom Truss and Matthew Cumbie. After Hawthorne and Melville met in August 1850, they continued to produce highly successful literature, fueled by the inspiration of their newfound counterpart. ReWritten implements a less heteronormative lens of the relationship between these two important American authors. With three Acts, the work first introduces each author to the audience before diving into the possibilities of their relationship. The development of  ReWritten has included residencies at the Bethany Arts Center (NY), Texas State University, Colby College (ME), the Berkshire Pulse (MA), and Dance Place (DC); a site-specific exploration of Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, developed in partnership with the Berkshire County Historical Society; a Humanities lab course on embodied research and literature analysis at Colby College; and workshops with local libraries and community centers.  Tickets are available at $15 for General Admission, $10 for seniors, and free for students (with Student ID) and under 18. This performance is a Salem Night with free admission for Salem residents with ID.
About the Artists Matthew Cumbie (he/him/his) is a collaborative dancemaker and artist educator living in Washington, DC. His work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the Arcus Foundation, and the Somerville Arts Council. Originally from Houston, Texas, Matthew holds an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Colby Colby College. Tom Truss (he/him/his) is a community-based artist, educator and performer. Truss has performed and/or shown his work at The Kennedy and Lincoln Centers, The Joyce, On the Boards, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Roundhouse Theatre, and The New Zealand Fringe, to name a few, as well as in rivers, used furniture stores, and fire escapes. He currently co-hosts Ask Your Gay Uncle, an advice podcast, with his gay nephew, and is devising a dance/theatre/puppet solo show called Behind The Tapestry. Visual design for this project is by Diane Samuels, projection design by Roma Flowers, and set and lighting design is by Jeremy Winchester, with film direction by Larry Burke. About the Center for Creative and Performing Arts Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts (CCPA) provides the arts explorer a singular destination to experience world-class guest artists and award-winning student and faculty performances in dance, music and theatre as well as art exhibitions and spoken word events. The CCPA is committed to providing diverse, inclusive and affordable arts experiences to the communities on Boston’s north shore. Visit for calendar information. About Salem State University   Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls about 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Salem State proudly participates in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement and has shown a student voting rate above the national average, earning it a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. In 2020, Salem State received Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. The university is designated a Best for Vets College by Military Times.

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