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Michelle's Musings

Lovely Performance!

My monologue titled "Ode to Jesse" was performed earlier this month along with several other acts in collaboration with Mounarath Powell Dance's artistic director, Spencer Powell, to celebrate the studio's 15th anniversary (see my events page). Accompanied by jazz instrumentals, my piece, loosely based on my half-brother Carlos whom I did not know well, was the only one set to words. Largely auto-fiction, the story centers around a Vietnam veteran who returns from combat only to find anti-Black racism is alive and well. Despondent, he joins the burgeoning Black Panther Party where he meets his soulmate, Cheryl. They have a son (Jesse); however, Carlos struggles with posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and resorts to self-medication with street drugs. The couple ultimately separate, but like any other father, Carlos wants a better life for his son. When he can, he attempts to instill in Jesse a sense of confidence and self-pride, though he senses Jesse's lack of regard for him as a role model. At the story's conclusion, we learn how Jesse really feels about his relationship with his father.


The performance for my monologue commenced with a trio of dancers, and then concluded with a riveting solo. Well-received by the audience, the dancers' enactment was quite moving. To my surprise, the soloist even thanked me for providing him inspiration through my words. In turn, I offered praise for his heartfelt interpretation.


After three days of performances in front of a full house, Spencer presented me with a beautiful floral bouquet (see photo on my event page). This collaborative effort was generated from an experimental project I participated in less than a year ago, and we're already talking about our next project to be showcased prior to the upcoming presidential election. So stay tuned!

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