Junauda Petrus’ Transformative Year with Naked Stages, BLM

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This article by Sheila Regan appeared in Minneapolis’ City Pages.

Waters, Sweet Red, and the Wild Glitter Transformation, part of the Naked Stages series, features Junauda Petrus’ mom and aunt, who were born in Trinidad before moving to Minnesota 30 something years ago. At first, Petrus wanted her family involved with the process because she planned to have food as part of the show.

“My mom is an incredible chef,” she says. She wanted to somehow capture the textures and senses from her upbringing, which was filled with “these wild witchy women from the Caribbean that found their way to Minnesota.”

Throughout the rehearsal process, her aunt and mother have offered the comic relief. That’s been an important ingredient, as Petrus has gone through a transformative year, both in putting together the show as well as being heavily involved with Black Lives Matter. “It’s been a deep and heavy year,” she says.

Another big part of the show has to do with tarot. Petrus knew that she wanted tarot to be a part of the performance soon after she bought a deck through a friend of a friend. In her research, she found that older versions of tarot followed the journey of the fool. In the show, she imagines herself as the fool, traveling through different stages.

“The fool symbolizes newness and openness,” Petrus says. In thinking about her piece, she wanted to explore her essential self, her child self that she has navigated through insecurities. For so long, she had suffered from a “lack of understanding of the tremendous resource and depth of myself as a black woman.”

Rather than a linear narrative, Waters, Sweet Red, and The Wild Glitter Transformation is a kind of choose your own adventure. At times, the audience will intuitively be drawn to different stations, while at others, everyone will be together.

This is Petrus’ first time doing an installation performance work, though she’s helped other artists on similar projects. She collaborated with Eric Avery last year for his installation performance for Naked Stages. “It was so up my alley,” she says. This year, she also worked on the MayDay Parade, which provided her with opportunities to learn about building and puppetry.

The show incorporates visual art, puppetry, aerial, dance, and poetry.

IF YOU GO:

Waters, Sweet Red, and The Wild Glitter Transformation
9:30 p.m. Saturday, December 19
Pillsbury House Theater

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