FUNERALS FOR MY FATHER

Created and Performed by Lida Winfield

In March of 2020, my father died of Covid. For months after his death, I fantasized about creating funerals for him. As the months passed I did a lot of thinking about funerals and the power of ritual. I also thought about making small funerals by myself. I had a lot of ideas of what they would look like, how I would do them. But I never did. They were just ideas. I longed for community, to gather with others, for people to come to my house, for hugs, to share the weight of the grief. A year later I wrote an article about my father's death. I gave voice to how mad I was at the hurtful things people said to me when I shared my father died of Covid. How angry I was that more people did not reach out to me when he died. How frustrated I was that the politics of covid seemed more powerful than the loss of him, more powerful than his death. Even though this was a global event, I felt alone in my experience. A loving friend helped me see that this writing was for me and not for public sharing. In many ways it was a small written private funeral. I’m a dance artist, storyteller, and a professor. In 2021 I was one of 12 other dance artists from across New England selected in a yearlong professional development training, the Regional Dance Development Initiative. The culmination of our time together was a shared performance at the ICA in Boston in March of 2022. Although I had done a good amount of teaching and performing on zoom this was going to be my first inside, with a live audience performance in two years. I hired a dramaturg, Michole Biancosino who helped me craft this short performance piece, Funerals for my Father.

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