Photo courtesy of We Sail On In Darkness

Sometimes the only way to describe something mental is physically. That’s what We Sail On In Darkness, a physical theater play debuting February 9 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, does for four historical women who saw the unexplainable.

The play details the visions of “renowned mystics” Julian of Norwich, Angela of Foligno, Martyred Perpetua, and Hildegard of Bingen, emphasizing both the act of suffering that comes with such a gift and burden, as well as the feminine strength each employed to continue on.

The mostly female cast ranges from age 26 to 60, working in parallel with one male actor (Benjamin Watson) who plays every other character. Most of the choreography and stage production was also completed by female artisans.

“We are very excited to invite people, especially women, to follow us along this journey — using music, movement, and color — to rediscover the courage, joy, and suffering of these women whose stories are often overlooked,” said playwright Ruthie Buescher in a release. “The concept of physical theater may feel very new to some audiences, but it’s actually based on some of the oldest traditions of theater, and we are so excited to bring this refreshing, creative way of telling a story to the San Antonio theater audience.”

Physical theater isn’t the clearest way to tell a story — the acrobatic, interpretive style that sometimes includes speech is certainly not a TED Talk — but the surrealism these women became known for lends itself to the style. This takes the mantra of show-don’t-tell to new heights befitting, say, the drama of Hildegard’s spiraling mandala illustrations or the intrepidness of Julian’s embrace of an usual form for expression for women (writing), which we now take for granted.

“The words of the mystics are central to the play — their own writing is an integral part of the script,” said Buescher. “But interpreting their journeys through the lens of physical theater felt like the perfect way to blend visions and reality across time.”

Each of the four characters, though at different stages of life in the play, are ancient to us and are well-known only in special niches — usually religion and deep study of the humanities. All lived at least periods of their lives in notable seclusion.

After miraculously recovering from an illness that nearly sent her to her deathbed, Julian of Norwich (Cynthia Neri) wrote the first English work confirmed to come from a woman. Similarly, Hildegard of Bingen (Katrin Blucker Ludwig) is not just an early female composer, but thought to be the first named composer whose work still exists, known for unusual melodies that were freer than most Gregorian chant.

Angela of Foligno (Michelle Bumgarner) and Perpetua (Courtney Johnson) were Desert Mothers, Christians who lived in solitude in Egypt, Israel or Palestine, and Syria, part of the group that inspired Buescher while researching on her own Texan retreat in the Hill Country. The play emphasizes public reception to Angela, who was thought to be insane and wrote with “anguish,” and Perpetua’s treatment during her imprisonment and execution for converting to Christianity, chronicled in her diary. Both started their lives as high-born, common people who later converted as adults.

According to the play, Julian represents the suffering of the body, Angela represents the suffering of the mind, Perpetua represents suffering due to others’ actions, and Hildegard represents suffering through the awareness of others’ suffering.

“I don’t need to elaborate on how important the stories of these women are to our moment in time — we’re all intensely cognizant of how wrong things are,” says Buescher. “But there is something uniquely beautiful about watching these women slip in and out of time and interact with each other. As they speak to each other, they speak to us and remind us that we stand on their shoulders — and we don’t stand alone.”

There will be seven performances of We Sail On In Darkness:

  • February 9-10, 7 pm
  • February 11, 7 pm (ASL-interpretation)
  • February 15, 7 pm (performance for students)
  • February 16, 7 pm (pay what you can)
  • February 17, 7 pm
  • February 18, 2 pm

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is located at 315 E Pecan Street. More information about the play, including a link to buy tickets ($25), is available at wesailonindarkness.com.

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San Antonio had the 3rd largest population increase in the U.S., new Census report says


We already know things are changing in Texas at large, but how about San Antonio? Now, six out of the 15 most populous cities in the United States are in the Lone Star State, and the Alamo City had one of the largest numeric population increases in the nation. The U.S. Census Bureau's latest findings add more validity to reports that less people are interested in living in the city proper, and are seeking residence in the suburbs.

San Antonio added nearly 18,900 new residents between July 2021 to July 2022, bringing the city's total population to nearly 1,473,000. That put San Antonio at No. 3 on the list of numerical increases (as opposed to proportional growth). For scale, the report lists Austin at 1.0 million. Fort Worth took the top spot with its gain of 19,170 residents, and Phoenix, Arizona earned No. 2 after adding 19,053 to its population count.

The top 10 cities with the largest numeric population increases are:

  • No. 1 – Fort Worth, Texas
  • No. 2 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 3 – San Antonio, Texas
  • No. 4 – Seattle, Washington
  • No. 5 – Charlotte, North Carolina
  • No. 6 – Jacksonville, Florida
  • No. 7 – Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • No. 8 – Cape Coral, Florida
  • No. 9 – Houston, Texas
  • No. 10 – Georgetown, Texas

New Braunfels also earned a nod in the report for being the No. 13 fastest growing city in 2022, and crossing the 100,000 population threshold. The city grew by 5.7 percent, adding up to 104,707 residents.

In an overall analysis of the 15 largest American cities in 2022, San Antonio ranked No. 7. Houston was the only Texas city that ranked higher at No. 4 with its population of over 2.3 million people. Dallas came in at No. 9 with a population of just under 1.3 million, and Austin barely made it into the top 10 with a population of 974,447 residents. Fort Worth ranked outside the top 10 at No. 13, with a population of 956,709.

The top 10 most populous American cities are:

  • No. 1 – New York City, New York
  • No. 2 – Los Angeles, California
  • No. 3 – Chicago, Illinois
  • No. 4 – Houston, Texas
  • No. 5 – Phoenix, Arizona
  • No. 6 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • No. 7 – San Antonio, Texas
  • No. 8 – San Diego, California
  • No. 9 – Dallas, Texas
  • No. 10 – Austin, Texas

The report additionally discovered that housing inventory skyrocketed by 1.6 million units between 2021 and 2022. Texas had the third fastest housing growth with a rate of 2.3 percent, versus Utah, which had the fastest growth at 3.3 percent.

San Antonio didn't make the cut in the list of the 10 most populous U.S. metro areas (as opposed to the cities, themselves), but Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington ranked No. 4, and Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land ranked No. 5.

The full report can be found on census.gov.

The Disney Immersive Experience is now offering sensory-friendly viewings

A whole new world

The Disney Immersive Experience at Lighthouse ArtSpace San Antonio has found a way to be extra inclusive for Disney fans.

Starting on Saturday, June 17, there will be three sensory friendly viewings of the Disney Immersive Experience (you can purchase tickets for the specific sensory friendly performances here).

So what does a sensory friendly viewing entail exactly? For starters, the volume of the show is reduced for a more comfortable viewing experience for guests with special needs.

Other accommodations for the sensory friendly viewing include comfortable gallery lighting (and there will be no blackouts like there are in the regular showings), reduced guest capacity, sensitivity warnings at certain potentially agitating moments in the show, and quiet areas outside of the gallery (where the show takes place) so guests can take a break if the noise is too overwhelming.

After the first sensory friendly viewing on Saturday, June 17, the remaining two sensory friendly performances will take place on Sunday, July 16, and Sunday, August 13.

Every sensory friendly viewing will take place at 10 am. Make sure to select the correct time slot when booking tickets (the sensory friendly performances are also marked 'sensory show' on the online booking calendar.) The sensory friendly viewings are also priced exactly the same as the regular viewings.

The Disney Immersive Experience will be housed at Lighthouse ArtSpace until August 13, 2023, and tickets are still available for regular showings as well as the sensory friendly viewings.

:Inclusion is important to us with all of our offerings, but all the more so with Immersive Disney Animation, which is truly an exhibit where everyone should feel welcome," says Lighthouse Immersive producer Corey Ross via release. "These viewings reduce the sensory output of the show to offer a relaxed environment and judgment-free zone where the wonderful worlds and characters of Disney Animation Studios can be enjoyed by all.”

Here are the top 7 things to do in San Antonio this weekend

Weekend Event Guide

Musical moments are certain to fill the air in the Alamo City for the next several days. Catch songstress Erykah Badu in concert or catch a Ryan Adams & The Cardinals show. Fiesta Noche del Rio promises ample dance and musical performances for the entire family to enjoy. Check out the top seven things to do in San Antonio this weekend. For a full list of events, go to our calendar.

Thursday, June 8

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals in concert
Americana music stars Ryan Adams & The Cardinals return to Austin for a live show at The Espee. Fans of the “Now That You’re Gone” band can expect the same hits with a new line-up of Adams, Brad Pemberton, Chris Stills, Daniel Clarke, and Don Was. Get seating information on Ticketmaster.

Friday, June 9

Broadway in San Antonio presents Riverdance
Irish dancing takes center stage at Majestic Theatre. Audiences will enjoy a production complete with traditional music and Riverdance’s famous style of energy and rhythmic expression. Shows are scheduled through June 11. Explore ticket availability at broadway.com.

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts presents Dreamgirls
Free movie nights continue at The Plaza at the Tobin Center with this week’s screening of the 2006 film Dreamgirls, starring Jennifer Hudson. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged for a more comfortable viewing experience. A full bar and concessions will be available onsite. Admission to this screening is free and open to the public.

Alamo Kiwanis Club presents "Fiesta Noche del Rio"
The Alamo Kiwanis Club hosts the Fiesta Noche del Rio series for another summer season at Arneson River Theatre. Highlights include mariachis, flamenco guitar, dancing, costumes, food, and more. Get tickets and a full series schedule at fiestanochesa.com.

Saturday, June 10

Briscoe Western Art Museum presents Masoud Yasami's cloud painting workshop
Painter Masoud Yasami engages in conversation and guided instruction at this special evening of art. Registration includes supplies for the session and the chance to glean expert guidance on painting clouds. This event is open to participants of all skill levels. Sign up for the session at briscoemuseum.org.

Sunday, June 11

National Geographic Live: Cosmic Adventures with Tracy Drain
Get lost in scientifically-backed stories of the cosmos as told by aerospace engineer Tracy Drain. Guests will learn about Drain’s engineering challenges and scientific discoveries from the Kepler mission, as well as exclusive accounts of the Psyche mission. For ticket information visit tobincenter.org.

Erykah Badu in concert
Erykah Badu, widely known as the “Queen of Neo Soul,” performs live in concert at the AT&T Center. The voice of chart-topping songs such as “Bag Lady” and “Didn’t Cha Know” makes a stop in San Antonio in support of her Unfollow Me tour. She will be joined by Yasiin Bey. Get more information on Ticketmaster.

Erykah Badu
Photo courtesy of Erykah Badu
Erykah Badu will play in San Antonio on June 11.