Peak Performances Presents Rapha L Boitel's WHEN ANGELS FALL
Peak Performances' season of genre-and-convention-defying performances catapults into 2019 with multidisciplinary visionary Rapha l Boitel's return to the Alexander Kasser Theater, following her luminous directorial debut The Forgotten. The U.S. premiere performance, When Angels Fall (February 9-17), is a tragicomic vision of a mechanized world stripped of nature, an environmentally depleted future that holds a mirror to the precariousness of our present.
Pushing the boundaries of her circus training as a contortionist and aerialist, Boitel and her company of collaborators Cie L'Oubli (e) layer jaw-dropping acrobatics, an interactive set, chiaroscuro-style lighting, and original music into a breathtaking cinematographic universe.
When Angels Fall exemplifies Peak Performances' commitment to highlighting the works of performance auteurs from around the globe giving a home to singular visions by artists like Boitel, Nora Chipaumire, Romeo Castellucci, Emma Dante, Faye Driscoll, Astrid Haddad, Ang lica Liddell, Robert Wilson, and many others.
In When Angels Fall, all things organic have been replaced by machines, and humans' very existence depends on making themselves passive, conformist cogs in a massive engine controlled by hidden manipulators who watch from above. From among the survivors depicted as fallen angels a heroic figure rises to resist their power and bring fresh hope to humanity.
Boitel says, Each of my shows is a step, part of a global project to create a language that I hope to be, for the audience, a vector of reflection, of wonder, and emotion. Today, for the first time, human activity impacts its surroundings on a planetary scale. Through this story of anticipation, I imagine a place where humanity, realizing its own fragility, clings to life, and reflect on the dangers and repercussions engendered by the self-destructive predisposition of man. I invite the audience here to a philosophical, poetic, absurd, and jubilant wandering.
When Angels Fall highlights the capacity for circus performers' bodies to create an augmented reality through the beauty and complexity of their humanity. Boitel takes advantage of the vertical and aerial space, using it as an extension of the stage, which is set and lighting designed by Tristan Baudoin. It teems with a matrix of almost anthropomorphic mechanical objects, half-cranes, half-articulated arms, ropes and lamps that create a visual language of manipulation inspired by puppetry techniques, incarnate their own characters, and interact physically with the actors. Above the stage, a mobile monolith spins an apparatus, a character, and an inquisitive eye watching the world while seeming to control time.
Arthur Bison's tense, dramatic compositions nod to the virtuosity of classical music as a mirror to the work of the circus artist. Along with Baudoin's lighting (inspired by the visual universe of 2001: Space Odyssey, astronomical photography, and volcanic storms) and Lilou H rin's costumes denoting the codes of power and manipulation within this world, the design elements merge to create a heightened sensory experience.The cinematic quality of When Angels Fall is brought out as human and mechanical characters, in plain view of the audience, install and transform their surrounding spaces, in the manner of shooting a film.
The production features performers Alba Faivre, Lilou H rin, Lo c Leviel, Nicolas Lourdelle, Emily Zuckerman, Tristan Baudoin, and Clara Henry. The creative team includes Tristan Baudoin (Set and Lighting Design), Arthur Bison (Music and Sound), and Lilou H rin (Costumes).
On February 12 and 13, Boitel and other artists and aerial technicians will lead physical theater masterclasses that immerse participants into the dreamlike world the company has created. The classes will be based around improvisational exercises created by Boitel, within the When Angels Fall environment: they will happen onstage, and will include the set, performers, and technical elements (including lighting and music) of the show. The February 12 floor-based workshop will open to the public, with no experience or background in movement or theater necessary. The February 13 aerial workshop will be held exclusively for faculty-selected MSU Dance and Theater students.
Performances of When Angels Fall will take place Saturdays, February 9 and 16 at 8pm; Thursday, February 14 and Friday, February 15 at 7:30pm; and Sundays, February 10 and 17 at 3pm at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University (1 Normal Ave, Montclair, NJ). Immediately following the performance on February 9, the audience is invited to join the company of When Angels Fall to share reflections and responses.
Tickets are affordably priced at $30, and can be purchased at www.peakperfs.org or 973.655.5112. Tickets are always free for Montclair State students.