In Destruction, composer and countertenor M. Lamar floats into the intimate Underground Theatre at Abrons Arts Center to the sound of death bells, draped in a black leather coat. With an androgynous, otherworldly presence reminiscent of Prince or Bowie, his haunting voice shepherds us into a vortex of grief and suffering. Drawing inspiration from Negro spirituals, Lamar has paired his dark original compositions with stunning media design to create an evening that exposes and honors centuries of pain among black Americans. The piece seems to exist simultaneously in the past, present, and future; digital imagery and sound combine with Lamar’s grand piano and operatic voice to suggest the inescapable weight of centuries of loss, death, and shattered hopes. As the media images evolve from individual figures to larger and larger groups, Lamar creates a space for us to keen together for the vast collective grief of the oppressed.
photo by Serena Jara