FringeArts Preview – Pantea Productions’ Beyond the LightSep 4th, 2013 | By DJ Guest Author | Category: In The Spotlight
By Courtney Thomas for The Dance Journal
It takes a unique mind to combine dance, aerial acrobatics, light effects, puppetry and poetry, but in Pantea Productions’ Fringe Arts Festival piece Beyond the Light, Leila Ghaznavi and her artists do just that.
Ghaznavi, a 2012 recipient of the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant and the 2012 Puffin Grant, developed this piece in sections through a series of residencies including the Indy Convergence, The Eugene O’Neill Puppetry Conference, and Puppetry at the Carriage House (PATCH) sponsored by Jane Henson.
Beyond the Light combines dance, shadow work, aerial acrobatics and puppetry in a series of “reincarnation cycles,” all set to the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emma Lazarus and each with their own musical score. The piece traces the journey of two halves of a soul torn apart as they seek to reunite. The pieces ultimately unify in an aerial acrobatic dance.
When asked about her inspirations for the piece, Ghaznavi replied, “I wanted to create a piece of raw beauty where love and light are magical. Because this piece moves in cycles, I wanted every aspect of the piece to be transformative. As a result the performer and their body constantly shift between being a character in the piece, a puppet, or a platform for performance. This piece has no set. Instead light is used to bring the characters together or to tear them apart again. It is a mimic for the unknown forces in our own lives, that coincidental meeting that reveals the love of your life, or that pain of somehow ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time and having something precious destroyed. Like life, in this work, what happens in the darkness, and what happens Beyond the Light, is just as important as what is seen.”
Excerpts of this work have been selected for the National Best Short Works by the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, GA. Most recently Beyond the Light was a recipient of the Emerging Artist Commissioning Program from Streb Action Mechanics Laboratory led by Elizabeth Streb. The Fringe will be the first full-length performance of this work.
Beyond the Light is performed by Tyler Garamella, Robin Stift, Heather Cole, Amanda Atkinson, Christine Dempsey and Leila Ghaznavi. Candace Cihocki directs. Dempsey is also the lighting designer.
Pantea Productions’ Beyond the Light
Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130
Sunday, September 8th at 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 12th at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 15th at 12 p.m.
Saturday, September 21st at 10 p.m.
Tickets and information: www.livearts-fringe.com