None of these scripts are a final version as the final piece looks very different from any of these versions according to Saya Woolfalk.

1Scriptv3-1 (draft 3)

scriptv4 (draft 4)

scriptv3-1 (draft 2)

scriptv3 (draft 2.1)

script (draft 2.2)


This is draft 4 of the script for A Ritual of the Empathics.


  1. Five women, ranging in age from19 to 21, process into the gallery.  They each wear jeans and a t-shirt with an insignia, a circle, a flower with four hearts and a neoclassical column. They carry a skeleton, beautifully adorned in a polychromatic cloth.
  1. They enter the space, sit down in a circle and place their package in the center of the circle.
  1. They begin to do a variation of yoga around her body. The dancers take turns lying in the center of the circle as they do their yogic ritual.   After each woman has spent time in the center of  the circle, the Empathics stand place the skeleton on an alter and lay down.

2) VIDEO: (house lights go down)

  1. Artist describes their activity.

I am artist founder of our group the Empathics.

It was during one of my walks in the woods that I came across a pile of bones at the base of a tree.  I passed the location many times before but never encountered her body.  At the time, I did not know who the bones belonged to.  We set up a greenhouse to excavate and study the site.

Gradually we discovered the bones were sent to us by what we believe is a future utopian world.

We have taken to calling this place No Place.

  1. setting up the stage
    1. as the women rest and the projection is running, Artist prepares the stage for the next section of the performance. She brings out a series of objects the Empathics will use to create images in the performance space.  The dance is based on abstract painting.

3) ABSTRACT PAINTING: (house lights come back up)

The young women take off their jeans and T-shirt.  Under their street clothes, each wears a brightly colored form fitting body suit covered with symbols, each in a different color, blue, red, orange, yellow, and purple.

The Empathics roll up their street clothes into their yoga mats, hide the mats beneath the alter, and stand facing the back of the stage.  Each woman is next to the other and their bodies look like symbolic language.

They move into the dance portion of the performance.

1)    Etherial

2)    geometric

3)    squiggles

I bless each of them

They line up in front of the alter and, each woman is reborn (The Empathics reenact the first part of the Birth Trilogy from Womanhouse), I dress each girl, they line up again in their new formation.

The Empathics wear costumes that approximate the No Placean Self.


  1. Artist speaks:

The Empathics are reborn as the No Placean Self. We will perform a ritual that will enable you to peer momentarily into No Place.

We invite you to put on the garment you made during our craft workshops, this will integrate you into our community.  You are welcome to stay if you participate or not.

  1. Some Audience members put on Empathic shirts.
  1. Artist remains an intermediary between the real and fictional world.
  1. The Empathics move into the pictographic script.
  1. When they complete the ritual, the five women leave the stage and the lights go out.
Artist: Saya Woolfalk Current Repository: AAAPA Location: Unknown(Buffalo?)
Source: Saya Woolfalk Title: Script draft 4 Rights: Saya Woolfalk ?
Medium: PDF Comments: Dimensions:

One response

14 12 2009
Saya Woolfalk – Script drafts for A Ritual of the Empathics. « African American Performance Art Archive

[…] Saya Woolfalk – Script drafts for A Ritual of the Empathics. 5 12 2009 1Scriptv3-1 (draft 3) […]

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