Living Canvas: Eureka

Theatre. Art. Movement. The human body as storyteller.

The Living Canvas: Eureka

  • Performed at National Pastime Theater in Chicago, June 29 through August 11, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 pm
  • Performed at Downstairs Cabaret Theatre in Rochester, New York, August 24 and 25



  • Performer (alternating): Grace Gimpel (Chicago), Gaby Labotka (Chicago), Christie Willis (Chicago, Rochester)
  • Choreography: Gaby Labotka

Philosopher and the Moth

  • Philosopher: Trace Gamache; Moth: Carrie Campana; Philosopher u/s: Teagan Walsh-Davis
  • Text/Concept: Bill Daniel

Inertia. A resistance to change. The condition of being stuck. Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of physics. And a condition we as humans suffer often. And yet, to a Moth, it is easily overcome.

I was talking to a moth the other evening. He was trying to break into an electric light bulb and fry himself on the wire.

‘Why do fellows pull this stunt?’ I asked him. ‘Because it is a conventional thing for moths? Or why, if that had been an uncovered candle, instead of an electric light bulb, you would now be a small, unsightly cinder. Have you no sense?’

‘Plenty of it.’ She answered…

‘But at times we get tired of using it. We get bored with the routine and crave beauty and excitement. Fire is beautiful and we know that if we get too close it will kill us, But what does it matter? It is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while. So we wad all our life up into one little roll, and then we shoot the roll.

That’s what life is for.

It is better to be a part of beauty for one instant and then cease to exist, than to exist forever and never be a part of beauty. Our attitude toward life is come easy, go easy. We’re like human beings used to be before they became too civilized to enjoy themselves.’

And before I could argue him out of his philosophy, he went and immolated himself in my cigarette lighter.

I must say I cannot agree with him. Myself, I would rather have half the happiness and twice the longevity. But at the same time, I wished there was something I wanted as badly as he wanted to burn.


  • Clown: Amber Hargroder, Robots: Sarah Aubry, Christopher J. Bryant, Teagan Walsh-Davis, Chase Leynaud (Chicago), Tim Lee (Chicago), Jeffrey Rubin (Rochester)
  • Concept: Jeffrey Rubin


  • Performer: Grace Gimpel (Chicago), Artemis Steakley-Freeman (Rochester)
  • Text: Artemis Steakley-Freeman

Hair is my sign and my name.

The drive of my skin and my strength entangles itself into the Amazon Woman I have become.

My hair twists itself into my words spoken from the depths of my voice and will not allow any weakness through its barrier.

I am more than this body shows.

I am Frieda Khalo, painting this earth with my song.

I am Amanda Palmer, shaking the ground with each resounding step.

I cling to this body like ice on water never slipping into the skin so well fitted to the shaven women.

I will not rest.

I will hold to my hair like an infant to his mother’s finger.

This is no mistake.

My only mistake was once attempting to shape myself and smooth this hair into clothes fitted for insecurity.

But this hair is my cloak.

The cloth that keeps my spine from shattering

I will not fall to the bare of outside voices telling me to yeild.

This is my body.

I will not choose the parts I want.

I accept this body for the miracle that it is.

I will hold this body through thickened hair and brazen teeth and let this world know

That I will not be shaken.

This Amazon will stand stronger and taller through the simple knowledge that hair makes this body beautiful.

This hair brought this voice from silence, this body from shame and this connection from solitude.

I will keep this body like a brush from teenage years and my hair will remain my sanctuary.

Hair is my sign and my name.

Hair is my Grace.


  • Performers: Carrie Campana, Trace Gamache, Miona Harris, Teagan Walsh-Davis, Chase Leynaud (Chicago)
  • Choreography: Meagan Piccochi

My Voice

  • Performers: Arielle Basile (singer), Trace Gamache, Lauren Shufelt, Teagan Walsh-Davis, Grace Gimpel (Chicago), Christie Willis (Rochester)
  • “My Voice” composed by Jerry Hui for Living Canvas Eureka!, text by Artemis Steakley-Freeman

I know I’ve said my share.
I’ve had my dose of knowing when to be silent
But my shadow says more than words
and footsteps more than quiet reflection.

I need more than secrets in my eyes and questions in my head.
I need more than voices from the outside.
I need clarity. I need security. I need love.
But not from you, or mother, brother or lover.

My voice is rising from my veins.
I know that I’m worth more than you are saying.
I swear to you, I will be more than words.
In coming days, I will fly

and steal the word beautiful from library books
and steal back the life that’s been written.
I will conquer the words to express to you
That I know my words will all be true.
The voices that shape this life I’ve been given
will no longer be telling me lies. My voice will be heard to the edge of the skies

My body will write its own story
And cradle the story I write.
I know that my voice is coming
To conquer my fears of this night

I will not be left in silence
I will not measured by your voice.
No measure enough can contain my perfection
This body is my choice

I know I’ve said my share
But this story is not done being written.
I am more than words unsaid.
And the reflections in my head
This is my voice.

This Heart

  • Performers: Jeffrey Rubin / Teagan Walsh-Davis (speakers), Sarah Aubry, Arielle Basile, Christopher J. Bryant, Chase Leynaud (Chicago) Christie Willis (Rochester)
  • Text: Artemis Steakley-Freeman and Eli Van Sickel; Choreography and Concept: Christie Willis and Lauren Shufelt

Performer 1: This, my heart, may beat better,
stronger rhythms.
But I program my mind to change patterns in midsentence,
because it does not really matter what–
I have two eyes, yes,
this is my eye, yes, but every cranny and crevice of mine is always a window into the soul,
be it mine
or thine.
Finite and infinite,
clouded and clear,
largess and miniscule,
the soul is an act of duality,
Reality and fantasy both
are truth
and truth is the tactic with which to discover the trick,
what trick this is within,
what trick is this betwixt the souls.
I am in control.
I am all that makes my soul and body whole.

Performer 2: This heart beats for more than rhythm.
Muscle and tone drum
inseparable rhyme
Daring to beat faster than the one outstanding drummer.
Beats for this miracle
born into the wild midwest
sparing no backwards glance of sideways thought.
Heart pumps soul into power,
power into words,
words into voice and
voice into action.
Plasma fighting for the widened screen of this never-ending canvas.

This heart beats for choice and change
The choice to

Hearts beat for body’s connection
For fingers and lips and twisted limbs
For reaching hands
and caring hearts.

Performer 1: This heart beats for my hand on the small of your back
and breath.
Beats for satin skin on silk sheets
And the empty bottle of chardonnay.
Beats for secluded nights wearing nothing but pride.

This heart grows for sudden passion
Desire to be drawn upon with
And those eyes.
Locked in desire and skin
And sealed in this silence is a pact
Only released when we both reach the end.

Performer 2: My heart beats for tender touch and closed doors.
Beats for curves and cradles of caressing blankets and skin
This heart beats for more than rhythm.
Beats for these hands and the fire in my blood
And this heart lights with sparks of every color.
I can light him too,
with tangled legs
and urgent fingers
together we beat faster.
Waste no time.
Breath makes the case for
born for this rush
this race
and to see
that we are not alone
but in the touch and sweat,
we are still our own.

Performer 1: Touch of all the senses courses through my veins
Like current through water and grips at my neck
until the pinnacle moment becomes present and past.

The trick is this:
There is no collar around my neck
I have no lashes on my back
No chains around my wrists
For this moment and forever more

Both: I am in control
Performer 2: I am all that makes my soul and body whole.


  • Performer: Sarah Aubry
  • Text: Artemis Steakley-Freeman

When this body was nothing but a stolen name, I reached for the sky to infuse it with something more than water. Stardust still floats through my veins. By the time that comets were done tapping stretch marks into my thighs, angels had already collided with my skin, leaving birthmarks in their wake. So this stardust woman had become more than a renamed girl.

I wonder if those stardust angels think about their bodies. If they look into heavenly mirrors and think “If my wings were just a bit smaller If my halo was gold, and If I was just a little bit darker, then maybe I’d be beautiful.”

I’ll bet that angels know that the past writes on our bodies for a reason. That every scar, bruise and stretch mark tells the story of our creation. Those angels have but to extend their reach past the stars to those still shackled to the mirage of perfection, And this thinspiration world will fall.

I’ll bet the angels would tell us that we’re not alone. They would say that if we want to, we can see ourselves as beautiful. They would want us to know that beauty isn’t about appearance. Its about the sun in your eyes, the moon in your heart and the night sky on your skin. They would say that the stardust in your veins was beautiful.

You Should be Dancing

  • Performer: Xavier C.D. FitzSimons
  • Choreography: Meagan Piccochi


  • Performers: Christopher J. Bryant, Trace Gamache, Chase Leynaud (Chicago), Teagan Walsh-Davis (Rochester)
  • Text: Artemis Steakley-Freeman

A: Who was that in the mirror?
I thought I saw myself.
But there was too much light, and not enough truth behind the refection.
Who is the shadow
Leaning against the wall as if it has nothing more to say?

B: I wish I could see myself.
But all I have is a reflection of painted words from glazed eyes and subtle mouths.
A perfect picture of a painted view.
Who was that in the mirror?

A: Why can’t I see myself?
You said I was handsome.
Why can’t I see it?
Make me a mirror that can highlight my skin and hide the rest.

B: Make me a mirror that will not shatter no matter how much insecurity I throw at it.
Make me a mirror from the rhythm and life in my eyes.
A mirror framed with kept promises and unwavering truth.
Make me a mirror worth looking in.

C: I will be your mirror
I will be the reflection leading the way.
I will push past these lies held in place by puzzle pieces of this canvas.
I will be the Marie Curie of beauty.
I will be your mirror, and tell you not to change.

B: I will be your mirror, and remind you everyday that there is no such thing as perfect,
and if perfect is nothing, you have nothing to worry about, because nothing is nothing worth fighting for.
I will point out every flaw, every line every wrinkle, and ignore you when you tell me to point out the rest.

A: I will be your mirror, and I will cling to this frame of skin and connection
to bind all mirages together and outline the one thing insecurity can not take from us.
I will weave my hands between the connections like wind on water
and wash away this ‘perfection’ long ingrained in our memory.

C: I will be your mirror, and despite these outside words forcing themselves through my glass,
I will not stumble.
I will not waver.
I will stand beside you, an image of your body undisturbed.
I will be your mirror, and I will not be broken.


  • Performers: Christopher J. Bryant, Miona Harris, Tim Lee (u/s)
  • Choreography: Christie Willis


  • Performers: Sarah Aubry, Arielle Basile, Christopher J. Bryant, Carrie Campana, Xavier C.D. FitzSimons, Trace Gamache, Amber Hargroder, Miona Harris, Jeffrey Rubin, Lauren Shufelt, Artemis Steakley-Freeman, Teagan Walsh-Davis, Mike Brown (Chicago), Tim Lee (Chicago), Chase Leynaud (Chicago), Gaby Labotka (u/s), Christie Willis (Rochester)
  • Choreography: Meagan Piccochi, Pete Guither and Company
  • Text by Artemis Steakley-Freeman

JR: I am all that makes my soul and body whole.
Teagan: I am all that makes my soul and body whole
Sarah: I am stardust
Lauren: I am thunder
Grace: I am Grace
Amber: I have my qualms
Ariel: But I have a voice.
Mike: I will not be silent
Miona: I will be lightning
Tim: I will not be shaken
Christie/Gaby: I am rhythm
Chris: I am more than reflection
Carrie: I am value
Trace: I am my own mirror
Teagan: I am footsteps
Chase: I am security.
JR: I will be
Grace: I am
Lauren: I always have been
Amber: A perfect image of imperfection.
Ariel: This is my image
Mike: This is my skin
Miona: This is my voice
Tim: My call
Sarah: My plea
Christie/Gaby: My reflection
Chris: This is me
Carrie: I’m all that I have
Trace: Now and forever
Teagan: This is my body.
Chase: This is my body
JR: This is my body
All: This is my body. I own it.

Epilogue/Audience Participation

  • Performers: Amber Hargroder, Jeffrey Rubin, Mike Brown (Chicago), Lauren Shufelt (Rochester)…

Eureka! Projection Design and direction: Pete Guither; Sound Design: Adam Fox; Hand-held projector operators: Sarah Aubry, Christopher J. Bryant, Trace Gamache, Miona Harris, Jeffrey Rubin, Lauren Shufelt; Stage Management: Lisa Adams.

Eureka! was a collaborative effort of the entire company.

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Celebrating the beauty and expressive power of the human form