Choreographer Joanna Haigood and Visual Artist Charles Trapolin explore present-day species of racism with this continuously running performance installation uniting dance and theater. During the work, audience members are free to observe from any part of the Forum.
Taking its title from ethnic slurs, The Monkey and the Devil investigates the rise of a contemporary racism rooted in the lasting effects of America's slave trade. Echoing an earlier time, today's cultural figures unwittingly rehash old race-based arguments, updated for today's eyes and ears. Two massive, rotating set pieces (twin halves of a room, designed by visual artist Charles Trapolin) represent this duality. Their opposition recalls Abraham Lincoln's New Testament-quoting declaration foreshadowing the abolition of slavery, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." A century and a half later, still grappling with the artifacts of slavery, Americans struggle to re-unite a split house.