Whisper, the Waves, the Wind (1983-1984)
Suzanne Lacy and Sharon Allen
Lacy worked with a group of Southern California women over the age of 65 to produce a series of policy and media actions that culminated in an oceanfront performance for an audience of 1000. On a beach in La Jolla, California, 154 older women in white processed to their seats down steep stairs onto two contiguous beaches in La Jolla. Participants sat at white-cloth covered tables discussing their lives, their relationships, their hopes and their fears. Audiences watched first from the cliffs, a sound score created by Susan Stone reiterating for them the conversations held on the beach below. Later, the audience was invited to walk down onto the beach for a closer listen and to experience a space of active contemplation that Lacy and the women created. The structure of this tableau vivant was based on the populist theatre movement, the first time Lacy deployed this formal device that inspired several subsequent pub- lic performances and provided a way to interrupt and question stereotypes through personal and individual representation.
Soundtrack by Susan Stone. Performance co-sponsored by the La Jolla Museum and the University of California at San Diego.