Matriarch is the personal story of Rosaria Docimo's life, born in 1921 in rural Calabria, Italy, until her immigration to the United States with her family in 1956. Through a feminist lens, this account will be expressed through dance accompanied by spoken word and film. A quiet and gentle soul, Rosaria embodies immense courage and resiliency with the obstacles she endured and overcame. It is important to portray these latter attributes because though at the time, women held an extremely submissive role in the household as well in the community, women were often the ones that made the critical decisions possible to unfold. I will portray her life as a young girl with four siblings who grew up with a mostly absent father. The story will progress to her marriage, her mother's death when pregnant with her first child, and the birth of 4 children, one who died at age 1.5 years. Also included will be her experience of leaving her devastated homeland after World War II while my grandfather was away securing citizenship for the family. The work poses the following questions, "What were and currently are women's contributions to their homes and communities within immigration stories? What was adulthood and motherhood like for Rosaria and others Pre-World War II through 1956 before immigrating to the United States? What does her story tell the receiver regarding immigration? My hope is that this personal narrative from my lineage will provide a bridge to current events so that the receiver will gain more empathy and understanding toward other humans being forced to leave their homeland to create a life where they can survive.
The work will be performed at Magma (Movement Arts Gloucester MA) on March 18th and 19th, 2022. In addition, I plan to make this accessible to more audience members after the live work is performed by having the piece professionally filmed.
Funded by Gloucester, MA (November 2021)