Vilariño’s Verses Of Silence

Courtesy of Sabrina Lastman

Sabrina Lastman's "Dialogues of Silence" channels Vilariño's poetry in vocals, dance, instrumentation, and visuals.

Sabrina Lastman’s fascination with the Uruguayan poet Idea Vilariño was born of an encounter with Vilariño several years ago in Montevideo, where, Lastman said, she found the poet to have a silent, solitary strength. “That [silence] was the first thing that came to mind. It had to do with her own world, a lot of silence for writing, teaching, and researching. She was a very lonely person, so silence was a big mark of her world,” Lastman said.

Lastman, a vocalist, performer, and composer, has been traveling the country for the past four years performing “Dialogues of Silence,” her interdisciplinary musical and theatrical piece meant to convey the passion and vision of Vilariño’s works to a greater public. She will deliver the performance, presented through the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, tomorrow in CGIS South’s Tsai Auditorium.

Taking six Vilariño poems on love and loss as her inspiration for dance and musical performance, Lastman hopes to create a dialogue with the past, she said. The dialogue element of the piece came to her out of the intimacy of Vilariño’s verses. “She is connecting with people because of her poetry—from that silence, that life so inside her world, that creativity, she connected so much with people,” Lastman said.

Lastman’s performance is another dialogue of sorts—an interdisciplinary one, weaving together dance movements, voice, visuals and instrumentals to project Vilariño’s poetry and vision. “I’m bringing another layer—that is, sound outside of poetry,” Lastman said. In addition to fusing her multicultural dance and voice experience, Lastman combines improvisation with scripted, composed material and uses video artist Shige Moriya’s videos and images as a visual accompaniment.

The performance’s emphasis on dialogue figures well into the DRCLAS’ initiative through which it will be presented. Called ARTS@DRCLAS, the initiative is intended to introduce more Latin American art to the Harvard community and inject a greater two-sided dialogue with the continent. “We want to incorporate visual arts, performance arts, spoken word,” ARTS@DRCLAS Program Manager Marcela V. Ramos said. “By bringing this performance to the students and the faculty, we’re fostering [a Latin American] presence.”