The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Jan 31, 2013

Shira Abergel: Here & Now

Posted by laflor

Shira Abergel has wings and she plans to use them to fly over the Appalachians during Miami Light Project's Here & Now: 2013 — a Knight Emerging Artist Series — at The Lightbox at Goldman Warehouse. During the festival, Abergel will debut “Appalachian Squall,” which is a multi-disciplinary one-woman performance inspired by the myth, legend and music of the Appalachians.

Shira Abergel.

Neil de la Flor: What is “Appalachian Squall"?

Shira Abergel: "Appalachian Squall" is a prohibition-era cautionary tale about love, pain and alcoholism. This piece utilizes old archival and new film footage projections, original music, live performance and the heartbeat of Appalachian culture — live traditional mountain music — to create a black-and-white theater/silent film experience. Although I am not from the mountains, I feel connected and inspired by the grit of mountain life, the strength of mountain folk, and the stories and ballads of mountain music, whose sometimes festive, sometimes harrowing melodies and themes capture the romance and anguish of love and alcoholism.

ND: What brings your work to the edge or beyond the edge...and the edge of what?

SA: I don't know about my work being edgy, I don't strive for that. All I do is meet inspiration head on and fly with it. I'm already over the edge, hopefully my wings start working before I hit the bottom.

ND: Biggest challenge putting this project together?

SA: Having a low budget and playing all the roles a play needs to take off: Director of film and performance, casting director, dramaturg, writer, prop master, set designer, costume designer, actor, composer, etc.  It is hard to see what the whole show looks like and what needs to be done when my mind is focused on so many different aspects of the piece. Thank God I don't have a nine to five and a wonderful cast and crew to help achieve it all.

ND: What does it feel like when you perform?

SA: The lead-up is nerve racking, but when the show is ready to go and I feel confident about my readiness, I am excited, while focused. I have to stay focused and not let the excitement take over, otherwise the story is threatened. Performing live is exhilarating. It is my livelihood.

The Miami Light Project Presents Here & Now: 2013 from February 7-16 at 8 p.m. at The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, 404 NW 26 St., Miami. Tickets: $25, non-members; $20, members; $15, students and seniors. Tickets are available at or by calling 866-811-4111.

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