Triple Shadow's new multimedia theater production BREATH ON THE MIRROR is set in the last year of Albert Einstein's life as he looks back at himself as a young man during the period of his greatest creativity when he first conceived the theory of relativity.
Hovering between consciousness and dreams, Einstein watches himself and his first wife Mileva Maric struggle to connect. Past, present and future co-exist amidst a menagerie of surreal characters, reflecting Einstein's and Mileva's revolutionary conception of reality. This blend of theater, live music, real-time video, masks
and puppets creates a shifting reality in which Einstein questions his--and our--perceptions, existence, and possibility for survival.
The production coincides with the 100th anniversary of Einstein's paper on critical opalescence which answered the perennial child's question "Why is the sky blue?"
BREATH ON THE MIRROR is directed by Beth Skinner with live music by Edward Herbst, video and lighting design by Paul Clay (Drama Desk Award winner for RENT and Bessie Award winner), additional video and film by Nico Herbst, masks and puppets designed by WindRose Morris, and scenic design by Obie Award-winner Jun Maeda. The cast includes Mari Andrejco, Gabrielle Autumn, Andrew Belcher, Lucy Kaminsky, Richard Saudek, Edward Herbst and Chang-Jin Lee.
Branching out into live theater from an innovative Club VJ style where Paul Clay performs with DJ Rekha for Basement Bhangra events at Sons of Brazil and numerous other venues, BREATH ON THE MIRROR animates the scenic environment with live video mixing, combining projections from cameras shooting actors and dancers with striking pre-shot film and video imagery. A totally interactive theatrical event ensues as video projections are intertwined with live music and dramatic action.
Previous productions by Skinner and Herbst presented at La MaMa E.T.C. include "Alice: End of Daze", "Sea Change," "Arctic Circle," and "Encircling Tides." After performing “Encircling Tides at LaMaMa E.T.C., they toured to Festival Pantelleria, Italy. The Village Voice described the production as, "Theater handcrafted from pure timeless raw material...leaves me floating, rested, purged and high!"
They performed “Sea Change” and “Arctic Circle” at the 2005 Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre in Egypt. WAMC Northeast Public Radio described the two productions as, “Imagine the Marx Brothers performing a play written by Samuel Becket, directed by David Lynch, and accompanied by the Throat Singers of Tuva.” “Alice: End of Daze” was developed in Chiapas, Mexico and Budapest, Hungary before being presented at La MaMa. The New York Times commented, "Theater pieces billed as multimedia often turn out to be regular plays with a couple of video projections tossed in. The Triple Shadow company's "Alice: End of Daze," which takes its inspiration from Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass," is a true and often graceful blend of forms…The piece (at La MaMa E.T.C.)...using music, dialogue that comes from actors and puppets, and video that resembles art gallery installations...is no children's story, but a reminder of how often kiddie tales are nightmares about fleeting time and death.” Show Business Weekly commented, “While dark and nightmare-inspiring, composer Edward Herbst's score is strikingly original...A visual and audio feast for the mind, Alice: End of Daze takes us to the brink of our imaginations.”
And in The Village Voice, Mark Gevisser described "Flight of the Endangered" as "...a nonverbal ecological opera of sound, shadow and spirit that ranges from the chilling to the cartoonish to the quietly transcendent."
Director Beth Skinner has received numerous grants from the NEA Theater, Opera-Musical Theater and Multidisciplinary Programs, New York State Council on the Arts, and Massachusetts Cultural Council, collaborating with artists from Japan, China, Korea, Indonesia Romania, Hungary and Russia. She is a certified teacher of
Skinner Releasing Technique, originated by her aunt, Joan Skinner. She has studied and performed mask-dance theater in Indonesia with I Nyoman Kakul and other masters, and researched traditional and experimental performance practice, sponsored by the Indonesian Dance Academy in Bali.
Composer-musician Edward Herbst has performed his solo vocal improvisations in Montreal (Traditions Musicales du Monde), Switzerland (Theatre Grutli, Geneva), and Mexico (Festival Cervantino). He was commissioned by Sardono Kusumo's experimental Indonesian dance-theater company to collaborate on Maha Buta as
well as Sardono's film, "The Sorceress of Dirah." His book, "Voices in Bali: Energies and Perceptions in Vocal Music and Dance Theater," was published by Wesleyan University Press. His ongoing projects in Bali are funded by Ford Foundation, Asian Cultural Council and CIES Fulbright. His most recent appearance at La MaMa was as a solo performer at the November 2009 Gala celebrating La MaMa founder Ellen Stewart on the occasion of the renaming of the Annex as the Ellen Stewart Theatre.
Paul Clay designed the set for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical RENT, and has done design work for such noted artists and companies as Mabou Mines, Tom Noonan, Hal Hartley, Louis Andriessen and David Dorfman. For more on Paul Clay's video-in-performance process: http://www.fictive.net/info/vj_statement/index.html
Jun Maeda received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Set Design in 1981. He has worked with Andrei Serban, Joseph Chaiken, John Jesurun, Ellen Stewart, and among others, The Talking Band.
BREATH ON THE MIRROR developed out of Triple Shadow's collaborative residencies with Hungarian and Romanian artists in San Cristobal de las Casas and Palenque, Mexico and at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico. This three-year "Time and Shadow Project" was an exploratory partnership with Artus/Company Gabor Goda and Toaca, directed by Nona Ciobanu, which led to collaborative research and workshops. The project was funded by NEA Multidisciplinary Program and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. Each company has been developing its own individual production based on the collective intercultural explorations, and BREATH ON THE MIRROR is the result of Triple Shadow's distinct creative work.