The Conversationalists is a movie James and Jerome have written together, but which the audience never sees. Rather, the film is passionately described for the audience, shot by shot, by the performers, while a chamber ensemble on stage plays the acoustic and electronic score live. In this way, the spectacle of the movie occurs in the minds of the audience members. That "movie" itself is an international melodrama about the triangular friendship (and sometimes enemyship) between a Colombian-born Mexican-raised pop-ranchera star, her teenage son, and a Palestinian-born Jordanian-raised owner of a chess shop in Greenwich Village. The Conversationalists is experienced at once as a theater piece, a concert, a sort of radio play, a night of storytelling, and a movie dreamed together.
The Conversationalists was developed through residencies with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the New York Theatre Workshop, and the 2019 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA. James and Jerome were residents of the Kimmel Center’s 2017-2018 Theater Residency program.