American Document, by visionary choreographer Martha Graham, premiered during the summer of 1938. Her most theatrical ballet at the time of its creation, Graham’s piece incorporated vaudevillian structures, folk rhythms, and spoken text to examine Americana and the continual conflict between the rights of the individual and society. Although there is no complete record of Graham’s first popular work, the Martha Graham Center has enlisted director Anne Bogart, playwright Charles L. Mee Jr. and SITI Company to reinvent American Document using filmed excerpts, written descriptions and Graham’s handwritten notes. In several work-in-progress showings, catch a firsthand glimpse at this stirring new theatrical work featuring a ground-breaking collaboration between SITI Company actors and Martha Graham Company dancers. American Document reflects our current cultural concerns by answering the same questions Martha Graham asked over seventy years ago: What is an American? And, what is America?
Photo Credit: Barbara Morgan