Grandfathered In: A Concert of Scenes and Songs

Two composite images of people with "Grandfathered In" across them

Work-in-progress by Johann R. Montozzi-Wood

Spring, 2024

Showtimes

Thursday, February 29 | 8 p.m.  
Friday, March 1 | 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 2 | 8 p.m.

Sheafer Lab Theater

$10 general admission

TICKETS.DUKE.EDU
 

 

Conceived and directed by Johann Montozzi-Wood 

Co-devised & performed with Robb Beharry, Jessica Flemming, Anthony Hudson; musical collaborations with Michelle Jamail, Louis Landry, Phil Davidson, and David Landes

Grandfathered In is an interdisciplinary research and performance project in which Johann Montozzi-Wood investigates two great-grandfathers from different sides of his biracial family: Dunker, a German immigrant who came to the New World in 1723 to escape religious persecution, and Fuel, a formerly enslaved Civil War veteran born on a North Carolina plantation who co-founded an all-Black colony in Kansas. Johann’s genealogical research includes the National Archive’s Civil War Pension Records, Plantation and Enslavement Documents of Stokes County, North Carolina, and Dunker’s preserved Letter of Manumission and travel journal. 

Grandfathered In is a meditation on ancestral grief and healing, queer joy, migration, and hope against the backdrop of a fallen city. The company of interdisciplinary collaborators presents a concert of devised musical fragments and scenes set in the near future. They follow Daija (they/them), the fictional great-grandchild of Dunker and Fuel, who struggles to move on with their life after the paralyzing loss of a beloved caregiver. Through the magic of a queer incognito goddess in the form of a mysterious heron, Daija is transported to a world of dreams and confronted with ancestor beings on a psychic journey at the crossroads of the soul. 

This work-in-progress presentation showcases the DNA of the longer piece being developed – a poetic dramaturgy through song, costume, character, aerial, and multimedia performance.