The stage is dark except for one lit candle poking out of a blood orange, balancing on a card table. The second movement of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” is blasting and it’s the frenetic strings part that sounds like rats running across a roof. A woman sprints down the center aisle of the theater and leaps onto the stage. She is wearing a hot pink cape and matching leotard. Barefoot, she begins to twirl. When the music stops the woman calls out, “Shepherd? Where is my shepherd?” She leaps through the air, back and forth across the stage, exactly six times, before putting out the candle with her thumb and index finger. At this point, a chandelier is lowered from the rafters. The fixture is made of dinosaur bones, bicycle chains, and battery-operated tea candles. It represents how far we have come, and how much further we have to go. The woman sways her arms overhead and starts singing “The Promise” by When in Rome. When she gets to the line, “I’m sorry but I’m just thinking of the right words to say,” she begins to cry. She pulls the candle out from the orange and throws both of them to the ground. Standing directly under the chandelier, she looks out to the audience and stage-whispers, “It didn’t have to be like this.”
The crowd goes wild.