Scroll back to the top

The Clothesline Muse

Before we were online, there was the clothesline…” Originally created as a dance by Dr. Kariami Welsh, The Clothesline Muse has been extended into a theatrical, evening length piece with the help of contributors, Nnenna Freelon and Maya Freelon Asante. Centered around Grandma Blu, an elderly washerwoman, storyteller and owner of Blu's Hand Laundry, and her young, feminist, afro-futurist, granddaughter, Mary Mack, this intergenerational piece brings to light the importance of appreciating one’s culture. Mary sees little value in her grandmother's culture and "old-fashioned stories." When Grandma Blu passes on her house full of stories and laundry memorabilia to Mary, she is forced to take care of it. Choosing to dispose of everything in the house, Grandma Blu is prompted to tell Mary her stories one last time, hoping Mary will change her mind and "hold up her end of the line." But, how will Mary carry on her grandmother's legacy without jeopardizing her future? By transforming washer movements into dance, the choreography by Kariami Welsh embraces the passion and beauty of Grandma Blu’s work. Making this work a family production with vibrant art by daughter-in-law Maya Freelon Asante, and original music composed by her mother Nnenna Freelon. Photos by Chris Charles