On Lost Time
Inspired by a year of cancelled plans and altered expectations, the past, the present, and the possible converge in the exploration of lost time.
A new Harper Henly film set against the iconic and historic backdrop of the Chicago Cultural Center.
Produced in collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet and Katherine Henly, featuring an original score by Katya Richardson, and The Joffrey Ballet company members Brooke Linford and Graham Maverick.
This project was fueled by my desire to continue creating, collaborating and connecting with artists I admire throughout— and despite —the shutdowns, cancellations and heartbreaks of the Covid-19 era.
This story grew out of our discussions about 2020 and what felt like both an endless, and yet somehow lost year of time. What a year of lost time felt like, what those cancelled plans that would never come to fruition seem like in hazy reflection, and how it felt to adjust to the new, unknown terrain in which we all found ourselves.
The idea that we are all living on altered timelines now led us into an exploration of what the experience of the passage of time actually is, and how it changes with perspective. What if we could interact with those other timelines? How would that change your experience of the present, the past, and what’s possible?
I am most proud of the team of incredible creators behind this project, who came together over the internet, through multiple layers of Covid safety precautions, and creative collaboration— to bring this project to life. This was a truly collaborative effort, and it was an honor to get to weave so many artistic voices into the fabric of On Lost Time.
When drawing inspiration for the film from the 2020 lockdown year, there were many angles that could be considered – isolation, fear, confusion. But the one that stands most presently in my life is loss – not of physical life – but of living itself. What are we if not carriers of the dreams, plans, rules, and expectations that make up our careers, our relationships, our world? Today, we stand in the wreckage of all those things trying to pick up the pieces and fit them back together. And all the while we are haunted by the beautiful “could haves” that hang around everywhere, reminding us who we could have been, what we could have done, all we could have had.
It felt very fitting to me to ground most of the dancing in the film in the interactions between the broken dreamers and their ever-so-perfect dreams. It’s always rich to explore how creatures from different worlds move together and the juxtaposition and conflict that arises. But this also felt like the emotional heart of the film for me. Dreams give us hope but they also tie us down. They give us vision but can keep us from seeing things as they are. Sometimes, moving forward means leaving them behind – but that loss is nothing short of heartbreaking.
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