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Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag

Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag

Sibyl Kempson; music by Ashley Turba

53rd State Press

"One of the most distinctive and delirious writers working downtown." -- The New York Times

Set in Alabama at the scene of James Agee and Walker Evans’s famous reporting, Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag brings Kempson’s attention to the ethical snares of poetic journalism and what it means to work on the land. She interrogates the strange energy of images, both their potential to anesthetize response, and their invitation to be approached as hermeneutic thresholds between visible and invisible orders. Interwoven with sources from Agee and Walker to Sontag, to inscriptions on Assyrian mythological seals, and nested in a set of images from other performances, the play holds forth in its own genre, a bad-ventriloquism visitation seed-eating prayer ceremony with songs. The entire score, composed by Kempson’s longtime collaborator Ashley Turba, completes the book.

Sibyl Kempson’s plays have been presented in the United States, Germany, and Norway. As a performer Kempson toured internationally with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service from 2000–2011. Her own work has received support from the Jerome Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Dixon Place, a MAP Fund grant for her recent collaboration with Elevator Repair Service, a USA Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, a Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Commission, a McKnight National Residency and Commission, a New Dramatists/Full Stage USA commission, and a National Presenters Network Creation Fund Award. Her second collaboration with David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, I UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER, received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production in 2015.

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