"Wicked Bodies" is a performance that encourages audience participation. In the first act, the witches speak and dance with the audience in their small sections that Lerman refers to as “pods.” Local students will also join the performance as witches' apprentices in the show. The witches themselves will engage audience members in conversation and push them to interact and connect with the people around them as well.

This collaborative performance also means that the show changes for every venue. No two performances are exactly the same. The fluid nature and connectivity of the show creates a special and deeply personal experience for both the witches and audience members.

“The idea behind the show is to address the assumptions we have about witches. Who gets to decide what a witch is, what they look like or even who can exist that is completely good or bad?” Thompson said. “The conversation allows you to address the people around you and actually learn about them. It’s learning about humanity and your fellow human beings and finding yourself to be more open than when you started.”

The show starts out with a focus on closeness and human intimacy in the theater, with the dancers performing amongst the seats and aisles with the audience in their pods. As the show progresses into the second act the performers take those same ideas and apply them to the larger picture while tying in lessons within the show as the performers move on stage.

Audience members are asked to think about what burdens they carry with them, both physical and emotional, and the witches encourage them to share those experiences, good and bad, whether they have to do with love, trauma or loss – especially the loss of others, animals or even themselves.

“I like to ask them if there is anything I can help them carry, because I want to take that from them and carry it through into the rest of my performance. It becomes a catharsis for them that they can see and relate our work to how they are feeling and experiencing their own lives,” Thompson said.

He and Lerman hope that the witches can offer themselves as a way for the audience to open up emotionally and intellectually, and also show how witches are still relevant in today’s world and how their stories and hardships are often more universal than people are led to believe.

“We could all be witches, and we would see a better world if we were more honest about that part of ourselves in the sense that it's kind of a magical creature, and that we can hold onto our belief in science and we can hold onto our belief in magic,” Lerman said. “It's a little sly, it’s a little impish, but it's also powerful, and that power can be so freeing.”

"Wicked Bodies" puts forth the idea that people should get to control their own stories and how those stories are told and represented in the future. Future generations of witches can see that generational trauma is not the sole message that they receive. The witches also pass down love, healing, body autonomy and other traits to carry on.

“It starts to become about healing and the journey towards forgiveness, especially when you consider the history of women and the small insignificant things that they are criticized for; you start to realize that the way forward can’t be with conflict, but instead human kindness, understanding and the willingness to communicate and empathize with each other,” Thompson said.

Emily Mai

Marketing and Communications Assistant, ASU Gammage