Cara Mia Theatre's 'Remember. Breathe. Dream' offers respite and hope
Updated: Dec 10, 2020
By Cristee Cook
On Sunday, December 6th I had the pleasure of attending the multi-media installation at Dallas’ Cara Mia Theatre: Remember. Breathe. Dream. Cara Mia is pushing the boundaries of performance as this project is less about storytelling and more about presence and mindfulness. With 5 stops along the exhibition, Remember. Breathe. Dream. was created by a large artistic cohort including: Cara Mía’s Playwright In Residence Virginia Grise, Director Kendra Ware, Designer Tanya Orellana, Sculptor Andrew Scott, Zen Master Ruben Habito (from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology), and Storyteller and Healer Stefanie Tovar.
Each of the five pieces in the installation is unique. They are at times sculptural, with opportunities to take action, and curated moments that provide a space for mindfulness or meditation. The works are visually stunning and provoke curiosity. The pieces offer an aspect of the divine, whether it’s through a connection to the Earth, the global strand of technology, or an internal experience.
Even though I walked through Remember. Breathe. Dream. with a small group (led by gentle docent/guide Ryan Matthieu Smith), I found it introspective and solitary. I was reminded of a Native American vision quest or the mythic Hero’s Journey, in which an innocent embarks on an unknown path toward self-discovery. Inherently, each experience is as unique and nuanced as the individual undertaking it.
As a whole, Remember. Breathe. Dream. succeeds in providing a space for participants to go inward while also focusing on the collective. New phrases that have become mainstream this year are present, and their attendant universal themes are addressed, yet the works also acknowledge that we’re each experiencing this historic time differently.
Another way that Remember. Breathe. Dream. succeeds is in its response to the big questions every artist is asking in 2020: how can we safely produce live events? What stories do we want to tell and why? What does the future look like, and how do we move forward? Cara Mia’s current project is not an interactive art installation about the pandemic, and to reduce it to that description would be dismissive of its power. But I’ll admit to sitting through virtual productions and out-of-the-box initiatives wondering why, exactly, its being produced. Who is it for? And why is it essential to tell the story right now?
Maybe it’s just me, but passive entertainment isn’t offering the same satisfaction as it did pre-coronavirus. Now, I crave active engagement. I want the art I’m experiencing to (in some way) acknowledge where we find ourselves. I know it’s a tall order to ask art to help me process emotions I can’t find the vocabulary for, but Remember. Breathe. Dream. has accomplished it. The project’s mindful approach addresses the unavoidable, and the global, by offering the space for possibilities to arise within each individual. Even without a traditional performance structure, for the first time in many months, I felt the energy of a feedback loop that’s so essential to the artistic experience. With this project, Cara Mia has created a vessel for hope, and an active desire to keep pushing forward towards a future we know is possible.
Remember. Breathe. Dream., a contemplative visual arts journey, is showing at the Latino Cultural Center through December 13, 2020. Advance registration is required, and tickets are timed. Reserve your spot at www.caramiatheatre.org/remember-breathe-dream.
The COVID precautions are high quality and include: temperature checks upon entrance, social distancing within the exhibit, and mandatory mask wearing -- they even offer sterile masks and hand sanitizer at the door. You can find all of the safety measures on the ticket page above.