This past weekend, Jook Songs, Yale’s Asian American writing and performance group, put on an exquisite spring show called Tide. The pieces performed at Tide went beyond the conventions of poetry and actualized narratives and conversations on stage. The works were reminiscences about the lives of the writers and how they had been shaped by events therein. And while not everything said onstage may have been, strictly speaking, true, it was all incredibly sincere.
The writers featured in Tide delivered stories both personal and fictional. Regardless of the narrative form, each writer constructed worlds in which the audience would have stories recreated for them. The performances in Tide were exactly that: a gentle ebb and flow of pieces. The ways that members of Jook Songs performed their pieces were subtle and precise. There was none of the typical vocal acrobatics and familiar gesticulating of Yale’s main slam scene; instead there was a polished serenity to each piece no matter how strange or serious the topic.
Tide ended with a brief skit by the group’s senior members. They shared what being in Jook Songs had meant to them and what they hoped it could be for others. They were heartfelt in sharing what the safe space and community had been for them during the years they had been in the group, and how the group helped them feel validated in their identities. These complex feelings were shared with the audience at Tide in a way I’m sure I won’t forget.
by Taylor Jackson