Enough! An Interview with India Harville

posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

Enough – One Night Only – Wednesday, June 13 at 7PM

African American Art and Culture Complex  

Scent-Free, Wheelchair Accessible, ASL-Interpreted

Click here to purchase tickets.

How many ways can we be told we are not enough? Why do we internalize these messages?

One day India Harville decided that she had finally had enough of people telling her who she was. She just got sick and tired of people writing narratives on her body. But once India decided she had to tell her own story, she was shocked to discover how many ways she had internalized the idea that she wasn’t enough.

In this solo show India flips that script and claims her “enoughness.” But that reclamation process isn’t always easy! This show is a voyage through India’s unexpected journey to discovering her worth, using a little bit of dance, music, poetry, ritual, and a whole lot of magic.

A Trigger Guide is Available for the Show.  For Other Access Needs Please Email: enoughaccess@gmail.com

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What can the audience expect when they come to see Enough?

I think of Enough as a un-performance, and by that I mean it is actually more a ritual and a witnessing.

It’s an invitation for the audience to travel on a journey with me through me becoming tired of being told by mainstream society that I wasn’t enough (because I am black, disabled, queer, etc) and by my radical community that I am not enough (ironically because I am not black enough, disabled enough, queer enough, etc) that I didn’t have a lot of space to be myself, to feel worthy, or to feel lovable.

But when I create artistic work, there is this alchemical magic to the process. I go in thinking the piece is about one thing, but then the piece begins to speak back to me about what it is about. I think the audience will experience that shift as we move into the next phase of the show.  I realize that the root of why I think I am not enough takes me into my childhood trauma, and trauma in my family, and ancestral trauma. In this section of the show the audience gets to experience some of the actual ways I healed these pieces of my story. There is some heavy content in this section but it is always moving me towards my liberation.  The final part of the show is about my reclamation of self, of freedom, of the fullness of my being. Of course, that is a continuing evolution!

What I hope the audience receives from my show is a sense of me as a complex multilayered human like most people, deep mirroring of themselves, permission to embody the seemingly contradictory parts of themselves, more spaciousness for the fullness of their being, tenacity to go through the sticky painful places in themselves, a little fun, a little healing, and a little magic.

How long have you been working on this show? What has your process been like?

I feel like I have been working on this show my whole life! Several pieces in the show I have been toying with in my mind for years.  Although I have performed a lot as a character in other people’s productions, I never have really told my story. And although I have a lot of extroverted qualities I am actually quite shy. However, the idea of a one woman show kept haunting me. I felt so unexpressed and unseen in my life that I felt like I was dying. So in some way, this show has been a lifeline for me, a way to give myself permission to breathe, to affirm my right to live in a world that tells me I am expendable.

The process has been very circuitous. I feel like it has been compiling various fragments of myself and slowly piecing together a cohesive wholeness. It has been incredibly painful at times to look back at all the ways I was told I wasn’t enough and then all the ways I started telling myself I wasn’t enough. But it has also been really empowering and amazing to reclaim so much space for myself. I feel like this show is much saucier and much more robustly me than other pieces I have created.

Creating art for me is sort of like a tornado…it’s a very tumultuous intense whirlwind quite often. But then there are the moments when you are in the eye of storm where clarity strikes. That has been the process of finding the themes and the through line of the piece, they emerged in quiet in the center of the storm. And then it becomes a whirlwind again.

This is the first time I have made such a large work and been in charge of everything from choreography, costuming, plot development, lighting and sound. That has been incredibly daunting and humbling! I have been fortunate to have some really great mentors/supporters. But I felt like it was really important for me to have autonomy in this piece, to show my aesthetic, to test my growing identity as an artist.

Can you talk about what it’s like to create art on a deadline, as a person with disabilities?

My disabilities make my schedule very unpredictable and I sometimes am down for weeks at a time. This has presented some unique challenges in making this piece. My deadlines had to be soft and had to move a lot. I had to easily quadruple the time able bodied artist might use to create the same thing. I had to cancel the first two attempts to preview this piece due to my disabilities. Even as I move into the last week before the show, I realize I can’t control what happens with my body on the show night. I have my full-out choreography and my I-am-not-feeling-so-good version. I have learned a lot about surrender, to yielding to what my body needs as my first teacher (despite huge resistance and disappointment inside of that process as well).

I also have had to learn to be rigorous about my self care. It’s sort of a fringe benefit! For example, I sometimes have a hard time resting…but I can get myself on board more easily when I frame it as I am resting in service to the show. And hopefully some of those habits will stick!

I am lucky to have worked with so many disabled artists and companies over the years, including Sins Invalid, DanceAbility, and The Inclusive Interdisciplinary Ensemble at Cal State East Bay because I have learned so many ways to make this process more accessible for myself. I have the embodied memory in performing with these groups of making space for what our bodies needed, for having times where our bodies couldn’t keep going, and to still being able to create something beautiful. This has been deeply comforting to me during this process.

I have had to let go of being able to do more, to rehearse more, to “making it even better”. I have had to be with the deep grief of loss of function from my disabilities, my inability to maintain a regular schedule of technique classes for dance, and the shifting capacity I have for movement and dance. Ironically, it has been a deep process of knowing however much I can develop the show, whatever I can share by June 13th, that will be enough.  

Anything else you want us to know?

This isn’t really a one woman show!  The universe and the ancestors have been guiding me in this process so deeply for which I am so grateful. Also, I have some amazing collaborators, guest artists, and people who provided music and poetry for the show!! I have an incredible support team, stage manager, crew, and access support (I won’t list you all here, but you know who you are and you are in the program!!) Lastly, the magic really comes from the relationship and the engagement of the audience so you will also be a part of the show.  It’s really a one village show.

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