By Ed Kliszus
Seven women materialized into an intermediate assignation, a liminal space between two earthly lives, in a state where one’s consciousness is disconnected from a physical body. We viewed a dreamscape setting of emerging, horrifying hallucinations associated with one’s refined reality experiences.
The production opened with a stark stage, a dim penumbra enveloped with inscrutable, discordant, and eerie soundscapes. The opening verse was literary, poetic, and sophisticated, setting the tone for the evening’s badinage.
The troupe comprised a seemingly incongruent ensemble. Six of the seven voiced regrets and grief while trapped in this hazy, existential chimera. Are truth and reality constructed fiction? Belem lacked family, while Mags could not process the “darker sides of the world.” Liv’s challenge was to accept herself, while Blanka sought self-worth. Ruth lacked compassion, and Miriam grieved at the loss of a child. The seventh, an “Entertainer In the Corner,” was a “catalyst of interaction.”
The production emerged as an entertaining admixture of incorporeal, intellectual, and mystical radiance. The dialectics of the characters’ discourse elicited passion and empathy. The sartorial elegance of the smiling, dancing Entertainer contrasted with the shadowy monochromatic costuming of her comrades. The Entertainer provided smiles and timely relief to the vicissitudes of disconsolate repartee.
The dramatic aplomb, soundscapes, blocking, choreography, lighting, and sound were elegantly articulated. Each actor ably maintained her character regardless of stage position to ensure a consistent dramatic, artistic rectitude.
Some favorite quotes:
Belem: “Eternity is a long time, even with people you love.” “I’m on a threshold that wasn’t here a little while ago.”
Miriam: “I saved those happy little drawings: white cloud, blue raindrops, yellow sun. Bright green grass that’s kissed again and again with everything it needs in precise measure.”
Blanka: “Our choices at every point make the angle that comes next, determine the geometry of our next iteration.”
Mags: “I remember like it was this morning, that feeling of promise when I met my son. So many decades now. His little body wriggling with life, his vibrating wails. An utterly compact universe, ready to expand.”
Entertainer: “A yin goddess must carry the flame. Light it in her sisters. This means taking time to fill her own cup, nourish her own well-being, prioritize her bodily integrity.”
Ruth: “Blame yourself that you can’t live in a world without high-speed Internet and climate control, without two pieces of certainty to rub together.”
Liv: “To be a plant, animal, mineral in the world, inhabiting creation. To be one among them, that loud number, a droplet subsumed by the sea.”
The Singing Sphere was entertaining, intellectually engaging, imaginative, provocative, and introspective. It seemed, after all, that one might evolve to a better state. We enjoyed a sojourn of hope and infinite beauty through this collective stream of eloquent consciousness and literary effusion.
The Singing Sphere
Directed by Ildiko Nemeth
Lighting Design by Federico Restrepo and Ildiko Nemeth
Graphic Design by Chris Sharp
Original Music by
Composer Performer: Muriel Louveau
Composer: Steven Wallace
Sound Creator-Designer: Shyamal Maitra
Sound Operated by Attila Patkos
Runtime: 75 minutes without intermission.
The New Stage Performance Space
36 West 106th Street (basement)
New York NY 10025
For tickets, go to: https://newstagetheatre.org/production/thesingingsphere/
Runs through May 12.
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Daughter of the Wicked, Musica Sacra at St. John the Divine, MasterVoices at Central Synagogue, Turn the Beat Around at 54Below, and Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at MPAC