Please Mind

Please Mind


A performance created in response to my son's diagnosis of schizophrenia.

On June 19, 2002, my son, Tarik, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was seventeen
years old. This performance was created as a response to events leading up to that diagnosis, the diagnosis itself, and the subsequent events relating to the diagnosis.

This story of my son, schizophrenia and the mental health system is told without words ­in images and body language. The main imagery is that of the swallow, the Roman symbol for a
mother who lives with sorrow. The movements of my body come from a video I did of myself telling the story. I took movements my body made during the telling and turned them into a movement sequence. I created swallow drawings and filmed them and their corresponding shadows. The film runs during the performance. There are moments of visual silence in which the only movement is that of my body, and moments in which the swallows and their shadows intermittently interplay with my body, the surrounding walls, ceiling and floor, and replicas of cliff swallow nests I created from clay.

The title of the piece is Please Mind, both a lament for my son's mind and a sincere request that he comply with treatment.

Watching the swallows
That flew about restlessly,
And flung their shadows
Upon the sunbright walls of the old building;
The shadows glanced and twinkled,
Interchanged and crossed each other,
Expanded and shrunk up,
Appeared and disappeared, every instant;
As I observed to William and Coleridge,
Seeming more like living things
Than the birds themselves. 
- Dorothy Wordsworth

A response to the inaugural performance of Please Mind:
"I couldn’t even applaud after it was over. It would have been like applauding to a prayer." 
- Jan Eskridge

Movement consultation on Please Mind was provided by Alicia Chesser.

The swallows were filmed by Rose McCracken with assistance by Marianne Evans-Lombe, Kelly McCracken, Maggie McCracken, Blake Biery, and Amy Shapley.

The swallow nests were built by Marianne Evans-Lombe, Rosa Evans-Lombe, Karyn E, Lindsey Vandeventer, Leah Whisnant, and Lydia Robbins.

Please Mind was photographed by Karyn E.

Rehearsals for Please Mind were photographed by Rose McCracken, Rosa Evans-Lombe, Amy Shapley, and Marianne Evans-Lombe. Button