What isn’t entertaining about a night of lights, dancing, and music? You can’t go wrong; you are guaranteed see something refreshing. It was featured on America’s Got Talent after all.
It is dark and silent. Music fills the void. With every blink of your eye, a piece of furniture appears in the form of line drawing illuminated by colorful lights. There’s personality in every squiggle, who wouldn’t want to enter this world for the next hour?
Our protagonist, Jacob, dances in his room as he gets ready to paint. A magical brush appears and he makes big strides and brush strokes with it. He paints the walls behind him and a huge magical root-like structure appears as though you are in an enchanted forest. Moments like these make the whole experience magical. A few of his other creations, a pair of feminine characters and a pair of endearing robots, enter the stage and dances with him.
A pair of wings flying above them attaches to one of his feminine characters and gives her flight. She glides and graces above Jacob with the lovely melody. The pacing is beautiful.
A girl enters, a friend of Jacob and convinces him to go out to a club. The tone of the music changes to a more hip and active dance beat. Characters dance off in fast-paced, smooth, and trendy beats. The audience participates with clapping and bobbing of their heads. It’s a fun time; we all feel like dancing. Jacob, however, is very awkward and doesn’t know how to dance in this way. We see the first struggle of Jacob with other characters over his friend that other guys want to dance with.
Somewhere between the club and the streets, our character loses his magic brush to a villian that wants to create havoc, and take the girl. Oh, there’s always a girl involved in these types of struggles. Meanwhile, Jacob mopes in his room about how he wished he had been cooler at the club. He discovers that he has lost his magic brush when he tries to make art.
He struggles with the antagonist. They engage in a dance sequence of struggle and fight choreography. The struggle becomes repetitive with their back and forth attempts. The long interpretive dance sequences stretch a bit too long, and we are all of a sudden very aware of the lack of dialogue and emotional depth.
This show is meant to be a fun art piece, rather a deep emotional journey. The characters and story is generic with a few surprises here and there, like the separation of arms or extension of them. The manipulation of lights is its novelty. This could be fun for kids, but be forewarned that since there is no dialogue, or facial expressions, the dance sequences alone feel longer than they should be.
The surprising and delightful moments, however, like a giant creature appearing and consuming the characters will bring us back into the piece. It’s fun to see colorful outlines of fantastical creatures painting the darkness.
iLUMINATE—Produced and Directed by Miral Kotb, Play by Miral Kotb and Athena Sunga
Music by Justin “Kanobby” Keitt and Christopher Tignor
WITH: David “Flaco” Andrini, Lisa “Lboogie” Bauford, Kenny Bermudez, Marcus Allan Cobb, Trevor “Cleva Trev” Harrison, Adrienne Hicks, Giselle Mejia, John “Jrock” Nelson, Michelle “Miki” Scott, Dorren “Moglii” Smith, and Robert Vail
Lighting Design by Miral Kotb and Jordon Monson; Choreography by Miral Kotb, John “JRock” Nelson, Dario Mejia, Marcus Allan Cobb, and Robert Vail; Wardrobe Supervisor by Tara Weber, Company Manager, Ilana Becker; Costume Designers, John “JRock” Neson, Grace Eddy, Marcus Allan Cobb; Press Representative, Jim Randolph; Technical Director, Dean Hopkins; Executive Producer/General Manager, Franzblau Media, Inc.; Production Stage Manager, Kris Valentine; Advertising, Hofstetter & Partners/Agency 212, Fight Directors, Rick Sordelet, Christian Kelly-Sordelet; Marketing, Leanne Schanzer Promotions, Inc. Presented by New World Stages. At 340 West 50th St. Manhattan: Monday & Wednesday at7pm, Thursday & Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2:30 & 8pm, and Sunday at 3 & 7pm. Tickets are $49.99 – $69.99 and are available through Telecharge.com 212-239-6200. A limited number of $26 Student Rush tickets (cash only, with valid student ID) are available at the box office day of performance. Running time: 50 minutes.