On Flaubert, St Antoine, & Nice

Gustave Flaubert‘s The Temptation of St Antony is an interrogation of humanity’s religious impulse. The author was compelled and repulsed by the subject in equal measure. He loathed the irrationality and dangerous indoctrination he perceived in the church, but adored the ritual, tradition, curiosity and joyful communion that springs from the same well. We’ve spent the last few years wrestling with Flaubert’s gorgeous and stubbornly impenetrable prose; flexing his questions against our own age of paradoxically magnified connectivity and isolation, of overwhelming apathy and extremism.

We chose 14 Julliet as an auspicious day to announce our return to this project; to honor the author and the joie de vivre at its core. Just after our announcement, we learned of the devastating massacre during celebrations in Nice. On days like this it is hard to justify our creative work. What use are singing and dancing in our own tiny bubble? Making experimental performance in a warehouse seems so trite measured against the powerful forces of fear and rage in the world. It’s hard to be sure we have anything to offer- and certainly this play serves up more questions than answers. But we hope that for a couple hours each night, our dusty little downtown flower shop can become a temple in which to congregate, to contest, to praise, to interrogate, to sing out to Jesus and Muhammad and Apollo and Cybelle, and to sit together and dream up a better world.


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