Looking to spice up your solstices and add a ritual flair to your observance of the spring and fall equinox? Playwright and theatermaker Sibyl Kempson, currently in residence at the Whitney Museum of American Art with her theater company, Seven Daughters of Eve, has embarked on a three-year performance series, staging four quirky theatrical rituals per year to coincide with the planet’s seasonal shifts, each making creative use of the Whitney’s lobbies, galleries, and terraces. Celebrants of the 2016 vernal equinox gathered in the museum lobby at 11:30 p.m. on a March evening to take part in a sequence of idiosyncratic participatory events: contemplative viewings of the Hudson River, performances of rebirth and resurrection, and the distribution of odd, unique gifts. Kempson’s second piece, for the 2016 summer solstice, included more drama, plus quirky feminist commentary. Deconstructive stagings of the biblical Lilith story, and August Strindberg’s Miss Julie — in which a wild Midsummer’s Eve drives a young woman to desperate acts — joined playful paeans to the museum’s women artists. (Plus, there was wine.) Knowing Kempson, the seasonal changes ahead can’t be anything but interesting.
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