Beyond the Light is an elegant hybridization of dance, puppetry, shadow work, aerial acrobatics, lighting effects, all set to the poetry of Walt Whitman and Emma Lazarus. Creator Leila Ghaznavi blends these media to create an epic journey of a soul that is torn in two, seeking to reunite itself. Through multiple ‘reincarnation cycles’, each set to a unique musical score, these two halves evolve through varying scales/styles of puppetry and dance, culminating with an aerial acrobatic dance of longing that guides these two halves together again.
This piece was developed 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. 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.
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.”
More Information: http://www.philadelphiadance.org/calendar/index.php?eID=5878