extreme lyric I

Co-produced by ODC Theater

inspired by and featuring
Ann Carson's translations of the Greek poet Sappho

“Neither sentimental nor nostalgic, the work constructed new worlds from a history of écriture feminine. This seems to be the work of queer futurity, a labor familiar to marginalized creators and cultures who are developing ways of becoming outside the framework of essentialism, patriarchy, and empire.  “
—-James Fleming, “Sappho’s body is leaking: Sacred Enclosures of Queer Desire,” Art Practical

“The choreography demands attention as dancers create stances of ecstasy, desire, gratitude and exaltation…As always in Mohr’s pieces, there is at times a sense of improvisation, fluidity, and ephemerality….The entire performance peaks in a sublime surreality.”
—- Dasha Bulatova, "Sappho’s body is breaking in “extreme lyric I”," Piedmont Post, October 10th, 2018

Photos in above gallery by Margo Moritz and Robbie Sweeny.

Sappho is the first known woman writer. She wrote lyric poems of desire to be sung accompanied by the lyre. She lived in 7th century BCE (before democracy, before prose, before any other poet had wielded the first person “I”). Most of her work was destroyed or lost. What is left exists only in fragments. In 2002, Anne Carson published a celebrated translation of these fragments which, unlike previous attempts, do not attempt to fill in the blanks where the papyrus has crumbled. Instead, they let Sappho's fragments, raw and partial, remain unresolved and wild. In this work, we move around and through what we take to be her feminist and queer forms of erotic independence and radical embodiment.

--Maxe Crandall and Hope Mohr

This intimate work, a conversation between contemporary gender identities and an ancient approach to ecstasy, was performed for small audiences in the round.  Featuring projection design by Ian Winters, sound design by Theodore Hulsker and lighting and set design by Tony Shayne. Original performance text in collaboration with Maxe Crandall. Performers: Maxe Crandall, Tara McArthur, Hope Mohr, Suzette Sagisi, Jane Selna and Karla Quintero.


"This sophisticated installation and contemporary aesthetic was museum quality, all elements smartly placed; a seductive mystery that instantly beckoned viewers into the unknown…"
-- David E. Moreno, "extreme lyric I," Culture Vulture, October 7th, 2018

"ONSTAGE News: Nasty Women, works inspired by radical, revered writings from female authors"
--  Dance Magazine, October, 2018

"The performance text, co-written by Mohr and writer Maxe Crandall, intersperses Sapphic fragments with contemporary, casual speech to ask questions while swinging between ancient and modern modes. The performers experiment with postures of individual and collective power and appear to lurch in and out of control of their bodies. At times, the mood is hallucinatory and incantatory, building mystery and momentum."
-- Dasha Bulatova, "Sappho’s body is breaking in “extreme lyric I”," Piedmont Post, October 10th, 2018

Open Air Interview with Hope Mohr on extreme lyric I.
-- David Latulippe, “Open Air,” October 3rd, 2018

Interview with Hope Mohr and ODC Writer in Residence, Marie Tollon.
-- Marie Tollon, “Investigating the Lyric I: An Interview with Hope Mohr” ODC.dance.stories, September 28th, 2018

"Choreographer Hope Mohr, who brings a cerebral slant to dance’s visceral vocabulary, is interweaving Sappho’s words into “extreme lyric I,” an up-close modern dance performed in the round at ODC."   --S.F. Chronicle's Fall Arts Preview


extreme lyric I (2018) highlights

extreme lyric I trailer

extreme lyric I was made possible through support from individual donors, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Lighting Artists in Dance, a program of Dancers' Group. HMD will develop the work in part during a creative residency at Petronio Residency Center, a program of the Stephen Petronio Company. HMD's 2018 programming is supported by the California Arts Council, Center for Cultural Innovation, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, San Francisco Arts Commission, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Joe Goode Annex and ODC Theater.