Basil Twist's Mega-Hit SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE Returns to HERE for 12 Weeks Only
SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE - the singularly inspired creation by the designer, director and performer, master puppeteer Basil Twist, set to the revolutionary 1830 score by composer Hector Berlioz - will return to New York City on the occasion of the ground-breaking work's 20th anniversary starting March 29, 2018 prior to opening night on April 3 at HERE (145 Sixth Ave.), it is announced by HERE's Artistic and Producing Directors Kristin Marting and Kim Whitener, and Barbara Busackino, HERE's Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tandem Otter Productions, Mr. Twist's Production Company. HERE's Dream Music Puppetry Program proudly presents SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE's return to HERE, its original home, on the occasion of HERE's 25th Anniversary Season.
This engagement of SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE marks the first time in NYC that SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE will be performed to live piano accompaniment: at the piano will be Christopher O'Riley, who has been a soloist with such major American orchestras as New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, along with recitals throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. Mr. O'Riley is widely known as the host of NPR's "From the Top," now in its 15th year.
Hailed as a creative masterpiece when it debuted at HERE in 1998, ("True magic...as if you had been listening with your eyes," Ben Brantley, NY Times) SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE -- performed to the intense, ravishing score by Berlioz - takes place in the most unlikely of places -- a 1,000 gallon water tank in which five unseen puppeteers swirl countless pieces of fabrics, feathers, fishing lures, flashlights, glitter, dyes, plastic, vinyl and bubbles in all shapes sizes, creating a dream-like world of imagination and surrealistic storytelling.
Previously performed to a recording of the Berlioz symphonic masterpiece, this revival of SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE will have the added immediacy of being performed to live piano accompaniment by Christopher O'Riley, using the Franz Liszt piano transcription. Berlioz famously wrote SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE, as historians have suggested, likely in part while under the influence of opium - reportedly due to an unrequited love -- creating bold, bright and moody flourishes of music through five short movements.
An overnight sensation 20 years ago, theatergoers and critics alike swooned at the hallucinatory power of Twist's SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE: The New Yorker wrote, "No other theater artist in New York shows more poetic force or technical skill than the puppeteer, Basil Twist." "In a seen-it-all world, you've never seen anything quite like this," wrote Time Out New York. The Village Voice anointed the work as "a new art form."
A native of San Francisco, Basil Twist is a third generation puppeteer now living in NYC. Following early success in the "Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry" and his award-winning "The Araneidae Show," Mr. Twist was recognized as a singular artist of unlimited imagination with the debut of SYMPHONE FANTASTIQUE. Highlight of his subsequent work include PETRUSHKA (Lincoln Center), DOGUGAESHI (Japan Society), BEHIND THE LID (with the late Lee Nagrin), ARIAS WITH A TWIST (co-created by Joey Arias at HERE), and Pee-Wee Herman SHOW on Broadway. Also on Broadway, Mr. Twist has been praised for his work on the current CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and previously, OH, HELLO and THE ADDAMS FAMILY.
He has collaborated in the past with the Tony-nominated, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel, on THE LONG CHRISTMAS RIDE HOME at Trinity Rep, Vineyard Theatre and Magic Theatre.. His ballet without dancers, RITE OF SPRING, was performed at Lincoln Center's White Light Festival; and his work has also been featured with the LA Philharmonic, Houston and Atlanta Operas, The Joffrey Ballet's NUTCRACKER with Christopher Wheeldon, CINDERELLA with Dutch National and San Francisco Ballets.
Twist has received a host of awards including an Obie, two Drama Desks two Bessie Awards a Doris Duke Award and this past fall, Twist received a coveted MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant."
The OBIE-winning HERE (Kristin Marting, Artistic Director and Kim Whitener, Producing Director), which celebrates its 25th Anniversary this season, was named a Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theatre by Time Out New York, and is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performance viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines-theater, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art. Standout productions include Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique and Arias with a Twist, Hazelle Goodman's On Edge, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, Corey Dargel's Removable Parts, Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge, Kamala Sankaram's Miranda and Robin Frohardt's The Pigeoning, among many others. Its acclaimed PROTOTYPE festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre, co-produced with Beth Morrison Projects, has its sixth season this coming January. In 2008, following an extensive renovation, HERE re-opened the doors to its long-time downtown home for the arts, where it continues as a vibrant, welcoming haven for artists and audiences alike.
HERE's Dream Music Puppetry Program, under the artistic direction of Basil Twist, with producing direction from HERE co-founder Barbara Busackino, is one of few programs in the country to grow and commission contemporary adult puppet works, particularly works that feature live music as a collaborative element. Dream Music seeks to secure the future of puppetry by providing increased development and performance opportunities to puppet artists, and by collaborating with artists from other disciplines to develop new puppetry techniques. This program was inaugurated with the premiere of Twist's OBIE-award winning Symphonie Fantastique in 1998 and the opening of the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre, an intimate space created specifically for puppetry. HERE's Dream Music is also proud to house the Griff Williams Puppetry Collection. The 6 antique marionettes of Harry James, Griff Williams, Cab Calloway, Arturo Toscannini, Ted Lewis and Paul Whiteman were all performed with The Griff Williams Orchestra in the 1930s & 40s throughout America's big band era. They have a permanent home outside the Dorothy B. Williams Theatre at HERE.
Scheduled for 12-weeks, SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE will play through July 15. Performances as follows: Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:30 pm with matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 4 pm.
Tickets are $30 and $60 and can be purchased online at www.here.org or by phone at (212) 352- 3101. HERE is located at 145 Avenue of the Americas, entrance on Dominick Street, one block south of Spring Street.