The Script - PLAY ME HOME [2010 – 2021]
D is a young doctor is completing her medical Ph.D. focusing on gerontology by doing extensive research on Kübler-Ross’s model of the Five Stages of Grief and its relationship to the African-American elderly community at a hospice care center located in Philadelphia, PA. In the last weeks of D’s residency she is assigned her final patient - an elderly woman named Genie, who is in the final stages of terminal cancer. While overseeing the setup of Genie’s treatment, D learns that Genie was a jazz musician in an all-women’s brass band in New Orleans many years ago. Genie eventually asks D to accompany her on a trip to New Orleans as she wants to die and be “played home” or "second lined" by her fellow band members who are all in their elders years. The Brass band’s name is The Four-O'Clocks after the flower to signify their engagement with paying deep into the night. They embark on a trip throughout the Delta to reconnect Genie with each of the members of the band and long lost lover before her death.
After doing research for my Be Alarmed film series that premiered in 2014, I found that I had a cousin that died during the evacuation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Her name was Lula Mae McClodden-Fisher. She was 67 when she died on Sunday, August 28, 2005 from a heart attack while trying to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina. I always knew I had family in Louisiana + the smaller towns surrounding New Orleans but I’d never met them. Between 2011 -2012, I wrote the treatment + first ten (10) pages of the script. I started to submit the treatment + pages of the in-progress script to film labs + funders up until 2013 when I shelved the project unfinished deeming it too hard to complete.
The choice to deal with the reality of life during this time of not only family but many character references came as a result of the pandemic. My installation was initially to have a selection of scenes featuring New Orleans natives performing scenes from the script I could not in good faith force my fictional narrative onto the reality of the people I made connections with during this time, so instead, I shifted the work to be a study of my family’s migration through the Delta, New Orleans all women’s brass band The Pinettes, + pushed all references from this into the narrative script to create new way of telling the story.
I plan to read the 2nd draft of the script in full the closing weekend of Prospect New Orleans.
Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Play Me Home, 2021. 4-channel HD color video, with sound, dimensions variable. Prospect.5 Yesterday we said tomorrow, 2021–22. Xavier University of Louisiana Art Gallery. Courtesy Prospect New Orleans. Photo: Jonathan Traviesa