A haunting, humorous, yet sincere meditation on spiritual belief, Room Tone draws on touchstone texts by the eminent turn-of-the-century Harvard psychologist William James, and his brother, the novelist Henry James.
While William’s approach to the ineffable was scientific, Henry explored the same topic through fiction. Each in his own way, these fathers of modern American philosophy and literature, grappled with how and why religious and spiritual beliefs form — a question that still very much haunts the world today.
With Room Tone, ERS reconceives William’s landmark Varieties of Religious Experience as theatrical monologues and Henry’s great novella The Turn of the Screw as a disorienting vision. With strangely intimate performances, intricate choreography set to powerfully resonant Balinese gamelan music, sound and lighting design that are both simple and sophisticated, a penchant for slapstick, and innovative staging that takes nothing for granted, we’ve created a piece that hovers between hallucination and sight, public performance and private reverie.
The result is a tragicomic ghost story — our darkest work yet, literally and otherwise.