Resonances : Variations on Farewell

A Theatrical Collaboration

Conceived, Choreographed and Directed by
Elina Mooney

Music Arrangement and Interactive Design by
John D. Mitchell

Computer Systems and Interactive Design by
Robb Lovell


Patricia Clark
Video Director

George M. Pawl
Lighting Designer

Paula Davis-Larson
Costume Designer

Kelly K. Phillips
Scenic Artist

Jacqueline Benard
Costume Painter/Dyer

Marla J. Jarmer and Pamela Erwin
Costume Stichers

The Young Woman Candace Ammerman
Her Parent(s) Diane Hunt and Mark Vanek
Her Sister Ryoko Sawaishi
Her Lover Kelly Roth


We are watching a young woman about to leave behind a period of her life. As she prepares to exit, memories of past departures and losses flood her mind. These memories are evoked involuntarily by her own movements which initiate a reliving of separations from parents (experienced as a single figure in her mind), a sister, and the man around whom her emotional life has centered. She achieves at least a tenuous ordering of her experiences as she walks out the door.

The dramatic premise of Resonances : Variations on Farewell is that the responses an individual has to the experiences of leaving a situation and moving on, whether voluntarily or through loss, become codified into a repeated, though variable pattern. This is true on a concrete physical level as well as in a metaphorical inner journey.

The Structure: What and Why

The work is built on a pre-existing solo of departure for a female dancer. This solo was divided into four sections, each exploring particular reactions to separation. This material was reworked in relation to the other characters. In addition, the choreographic material was created in video as well as live-performances form.

This process gave us 24 choreographed events as a menu of performance possibilities with further variations possible by manipulation of space and media. The actual sequence of events for any given performance is determined by the chance results of a game played by the characters of the protagonist's memory. Some of the choices are made at the moment by the dancers, and some are made by the computer-programmed aspects of the production. Fewer than half of the possible options will materialize in any specific presentation.

The multiplicity of the media allows us to attempt a representation of the complex layering of thought and image. The immediate responsiveness of the sensing instruments, the computer generation and control of sound, and the linkage of lights, cameras, projectors, video disks and other production elements, creates the possibility of spontaneity in sequencing and offers experimentation in non-linear logic. The events are linked by content, but not by dramatic cause and effect. The involuntariness of the experiences of the protagonist are a mirror of the unbidden way that memory flows through our lives.


Elina Mooney would like to express appreciation to Charlene Brown, Lynn Haessler and Toni-Marie Montgomery, who performed the first version of Variations on Farewell. Marc Berezowski assisted with the early research into computer manipulations of the sound score. The choreographic advice of Cliff Keuter and his general support, as well as that of ASU's dance department, have been invaluable. The generosity of the ISA in supporting this project over an extended period of time is what has made the creation of this work possible.