PAULA JEANINE BENNETT
A VILLAGE OF ONE
a folk opera for all folk
"The aim of this artistic collaboration shifted, being not only about the composition or even the composer, but about giving a contribution to a community and a process to learn about humanity and life."
Gita Hastarika, journalist
"A Village Of One" is a grassroots song cycle with lyrics, melody and stage realization by Paula. It has been created to be easily adapted for a variety of locations and cultures and can be staged in a concert setting as well as a fully realized theatrical performance. So far it has been translated into three languages.
"A Village Of One" explores themes of loneliness, lineage, community and connections to the natural world.
"A woman stands apart from the crowd and revels in her isolation. Feeling more at ease in the world of nature than that of humans, she feels akin to water, earth and clay. In her home and in her heart she has created a village of one. Deep in the night her house is discovered by a demon from the forest and a fight ensues. In the tumult of battle, the demon runs off, knocking a woman and infant to the ground. The moment of truth arrives. Does the main character help or turn away? She goes to assist, holds the infant, however tentatively, realizing change starts with one small step. A crowd gathers around her and she is welcomed into the community. They dance."
A VILLAGE OF ONE - INDONESIA "SENDIRI DI DESA"
"A Village Of One" was created and first performed as part of the Ceramic Music Festival at the Jatiwangi Art Factory.
The infectious and elemental songs were inspired by the slendro scale of the Javanese gamelan. Participants were folk from the local community and included moms, kids and a fanged forest demon (Cakil).
For the full story of the inception of this work click here
A VILLAGE OF ONE - MOROCCO "VILLAGE DIAL WAHEDA"
In February 2015, Paula traveled to the small market town of Sefrou, Morocco in the Middle Atlas mountains and participated in an residency coordinated by arts hosting organization Culture Vultures. An ensemble of twelve performed in Sefrou (Town Hall/Baladiya), Fez (Arabic Language Institute Riad) and Meknes (Theater El-Mnouni). The work underwent a profound transformation with new songs and sections. A choir of seven women,
a traditional Moroccan storyteller (Hakawati), a musical ensemble of oud, Andalous guitar and bendir drum and a regional sheep monster (Boujloud) brought "Village" to life in a breathtaking way.
For more information on this production click here
A VILLAGE OF ONE - U.S.A.
For the American version of AVOO, Paula assembled a strong chorus of New York City-based women bringing their own flavor to the themes and songs. Recent performances have included the Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition and the Stoops Bed-Stuy Festival, where the work was performed on the steps and in the front yard of a historic brownstone in the heart of Brooklyn.
A VILLAGE OF ONE - INDIA "EK AKELA GAANV"
In January 2019 “A Village Of One” was translated into Hindi and Odiya for an arts residency at Kalanirvana in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Over the course of three weeks Paula set the work on a group of traditional Odishan dancers who sang, danced and lived the ethos that is “A Village Of One”. Performances were held at Kalanirvana, the BK College of Art and Craft and in spontaneous outdoor actions in the Bharatpur neighborhood of Bhubaneswar. Motifs from Odishan art and movement became a core component of the Indian production.