Four dancers board the Kansas City streetcar at Union Station.
The ride begins and the passengers, along with the dancers, hear the sounds that govern the streetcar. There is the clang of the bell, the announcement, the beep, the whistle. These sounds or “Cues” are what will keep the streetcar and its riders moving and informed.
There are also more random cues: voices, laughter, traffic. Each of these prompts a response from a dancer. Each dancer acts in turn until they are all moving. As the streetcar progresses through the route, a visual braid begins to emerge.
These prompts and responses reveal how our lives, and the different strands we represent, are woven together by “Cues!” Christian, Jew, Muslim or Atheist — we all step back when the oncoming car honks its horn. Republican, Democrat or Independent, we all quicken our step to get through the doors when we hear the “clang, clang, clang of the trolley.” We all push the same button, when we call for a stop.
Our individuality is precious — but perhaps our commonality, revealed by our responses to cues we receive all day, everyday, is even more so.
Jon Michael Johnson is the Artistic Director of Cooper Square Productions and heads the nonprofit, SITU INC., a performance art cooperative. He has participated in numerous site-specific performances including 2016’s Art in the Loop project — Connections. He has written and directed productions for both stage and screen and has worked in KC, NYC and in Europe where he was Artistic Director of the Frankfurt English Theatre.
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