“Lenora’s fascination with want, longing and loss...the power of the human voice, the personal lyric, compression in form and impression in substance - these are the stuff of Lenora’s creations.”

—  Todd London, Artistic Director of New Dramatists.


 


Current & Recent Work

I did a staged reading of my work-in-progress, I.C./I See, which is becoming Necessary Mountain, in October 2015 at Dixon Place.


from the work-in-progress staged reading/rehearsals of I.C./I See, October 2015
Cast:  Susan Hyon as Umiko Fujiwara, Rajika Puri as Kim Khan, with Hannah Mitchell and Rebecca Robertson.
Photos:  Marianne Wafer

Recently, I've had exciting opportunities to perform in other artistsí work.

Lenora Champagne in
Performed in "Everything By My Side," by Argentine writer/director Fernando Rubio on a Hudson River pier as part of F.I.A.F./PS 122's Crossing the Line festival, September 2014, at Bard Summerscape, July 2015, and at Singapore International Festival of Arts, August 2016.  (photo:  Maria Baranova, 2014)


Khadijah Queen's "Non Sequitur," directed by Fiona Templeton, at New York Theatre Lab, December 2015






Performed in 600 Highwaymen's "The Record," Invisible Dog Art Center, February 2013; The Public Theatre/ Under the Radar, January 2014  
(photo:  Maria Baranova, 2013)



Lenora Champagne
Performed in Khadijah Queen's "Non Sequitur," directed by Fiona Templeton, at New York Theatre Lab, December 2015
(photo:  Paula Court, 2015)


 

I performed my solo, Memory's Storehouse, in Tokyo in May 2014, after premiering it at Invisible Dog in Brooklyn. It was my part of Tiny Lights, a collaboration with Lizzie Olesker, which we subsequently reprised at the New Ohio in Manhattan. You can read about it in The Brooklyn Rail (see Links).

In Progress Mother's Little Helper

In Progress   In Progress

 



In July 2010 I directed my play, Staying Afloat, developed at Dixon Place and through workshops and residences with New Georges and Voice and Vision, at the Ice Factory Festival at the Ohio Theatre. In Staying Afloat, two women and a polar bear find themselves adrift on a melting ice floe sometime in the near future. They strive to survive and make a community in the face of birth, death, and climate change.




"...there is real wisdom in this play, and immense imagination and stagecraft."
--Martin Denton nyctheatre.com

"Lenora Champagne's Staying Afloat...has the makings of Waiting for Godot-like existential story...the set effectively evokes isolation and longing."
--Chris Kompanek, On the Culture Front, Huffington Post

TRACES/fades, my inter-generational play about Alzheimer's and our national inability to remember history, developed over three years at HERE and 3LD through a HARP residency, was presented by Soho Think Tank at the Ohio Theatre in 2008. TRACES/fades featured visual projections by Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty. During the performance, there are projections of writing that fades, is erased, and reconstituted. The writing is important not for its content, but for its grace, and as a sign of shifts in technology from convent girl cursive to impressions from an old Royal typewriter to contemporary computer fonts. The inscribed traces of writing and print disintegrate and re-form as the main character's mind focuses on powerful memories and images, moments both personal and political, which register and make an impression, then transform and fade.

"Smart, witty, fun...Three generations of women discuss their histories, their problems and desires set against the backdrop of loss and decay....a nursing home...doubles as a surreal memory-cabaret... Images fade in and out of focus...a bodiless hand writes and unwrites names, poetry. Handwriting degenerates and disappears as an outright example of the language that constitutes us...Consciousness disappears; writing (performance?) haunts."
--Obscene Jester

"Most of the story unfolds in the nursing home where Ann now lives; Champagne and her collaborators capture the sad and vaguely surreal ambience of that place with uncanny and affecting fidelity....The production is stunning, and blessed with a wondrous cast."
--Martin Denton, nytheatre.com

TRACES/fades is published in Plays and Playwrights 2009.

 

Traces/fades bears some relationship to my previous work, Eye of the Garden, in which the world of adolescent girls within convent walls was explored on a landfill bounded by the Hudson River. Working in collaboration with the performers and with sculptor Claudia Fitch and composer Glen Velez on this commissioned project for Creative Time’s final “Art on the Beach” was a rich experience that resonated with spectators, evoking a lost time, queer obsessions, and silent mysteries.

Much of my work retains elements of autobiography, reflecting my belief that the strongest work implicates people (the performer as well as the audience) in addition to moving them intellectually, emotionally, or aesthetically. I ground my work in the personal and particular in order to expansively critique or reflect upon the wider world.

For example, in my recent solo, Mother’s Little Helper, I used my mother’s fifties-era church-sponsored guide to “the facts of life” to ironically comment on the encroachment of the religious right into contemporary politics and social policy. In a performance punctuated by Cajun stories, young girls’ word and clapping games, and sweet potatoes, I explored the scary place girls and women currently find themselves in.

 

MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER solo

In the age of Bush, a former Cajun-American Princess draws on her Louisiana roots (and a 1950’s guide to the facts of life) to help raise her daughter in a world fraught with post- 9/11, pre-adolescent danger.

Mother's Little Helper

“…a lively meditation on motherhood and the state of the world… unfailingly smart and charismatic… persuasive and entertaining… genuinely funny.” —Martin Denton nytheatre.com

“treacherously insightful… sardonic and poignant… chilling and sadly ironic… slightly wacky.” —AmericanTheatreWeb.com

“achieves wisdom and humor” —Village Voice

The text and introductory remarks of Mother’s Little Helper are published in the “Generation” issue of Performance Research.