People always want to tell you that magic doesn’t exist, yet that is the stock in trade of theatre. Gal pal Stephanie and I were treated to an extraordinary event last night out in the wilds of Western Massachusetts. You’ve got an opportunity to go to tonight’s performance if you’re in the region, and I strongly advise you to do so. Double Edge Theatre is something extraordinary.
From the moment you arrive, you are plunged into the world of Leonora Carrington. If you read this blog at all or follow me elsewhere you know how obsessed I have become with this artist and her work. It’s amazing to find others so moved by that inspiration. This performance draws on her art, her writings and the tarot [also SQUEAL her tarot], as well as Jodorowsky’s training with her. Manifested and directed by Stacy Klein, the production was co-created by Jennifer Johnson and Carlos Uriona (who play the central characters) with ample support from the expertise of Carrington scholar Susan Aberth.
Everything works like a surreal dream. The soundscape by Alexander Bakshi makes the ever changing-world onstage breathe. Leonora’s animal familiars come to vivid life via el Pajaro (Amanda Miller) and the Flying Hyena (Travis Coe) who although mostly there as physical presences also added voice in singing. The cook (Milena Dabova/Jasmine Rochelle Goodspeed) oversaw the table of mysteries and food. When the Giantess (Hannah Jarrell) appeared with her egg, I gasped. As Stephanie said, it was like her paintings, frozen for a moment, then coming to life as they scenes changed.
We enter the play with Jodorwsky, seeking the wisdom of Carrington; through the events we live through her stories, real and metaphorical and the amazing ever-changing scenes (scenography by Michael Kuriata, Michael Fitzgerald, Jeff Bird) made the stage seem an infinite space, especially with the ariel acrobatics (choreographed by Cariel Klein). Everyone went through so many changes; everything seemed in constant motion until suddenly it wasn’t, you gasped, and then it changed again. The audience was mesmerised. How could they not be?
And afterward we got to talk with the cast and creators, to see the masks and visit the archives were the amazing vision board of Leonora paintings and movement studies and previous masks make living history of the theatre.
If you can go tonight. If you can’t they are touring soon: Austin TX, Albuquerque NM, Orange Co CA, Detroit, Norway, Leeds. Go! See more at the Double Edge Theatre website or follow them on FB, Twitter, and Instagram.