Surroundstage

Before the theater was about expensive tickets and Andrew Lloyd Webber productions that run 1,300 weeks, it was often an exuberant, even rowdy affair in which the audience was as central to the experience as the players. The younger generation of theater creators gets that, and an increasing number of new works are prioritizing audience interaction and original venues. Playwright/director Joel Heinrich and composer Hunter Noack’s new play The Sister takes this approach, using a cultural center’s mutable space to stage the action in four rooms, inviting audience members to follow the performance from one set to the next. Throughout the performance, Noack’s score is performed live from a central location that is visible from all ersatz stages. Using physical movement, audience interaction, and shades of magical realism, The Sister explores physical and emotional isolation, mortality, and intoler-ance, telling the tragic tale of orphan Alice, her spectral brother Pugna who resides beneath her bed, and her brother Hiro, with whom she shares forbidden desires. The Sisteris a kinetic work animated by its unusual staging, score, and a story that embroiders the audience into its intricate emotional tapestry.
Jan. 11-14, 2012

 
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