BEYOND THE LIGHT Comes To Philadelphia Fringe September 18-22

BEYOND THE LIGHT Comes To Philadelphia Fringe September 18-22

Leila Ghaznavi and Pantea Productions are proud to present Beyond the Light at the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival This theatrical exploration of dance, light effects, and puppetry, was conceived by Leila Ghaznavi, a 2012 recipient of the Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant and the 2012 Puffin Grant. The piece runs at the Theatre Exile, 1340 South 13th Street., from September 18-22. Tickets cost $10-$12. Tickets are available online at or at the Philly Fringe box office.

Beyond the Light is an elegant hybridization of dance, puppetry, shadow work, and 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 a dance of longing that guides these two halves together again. Called "pure enchantment" by Jane Henson, co-founder of The Muppets and "truly remarkable shadow and light puppetry" and "shockingly expressive" by Phindie during its 2015 workshop performance.

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.

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."

Beyond the Light is performed by Weston Chandler, Broderick Jones, Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs, and Leila Ghaznavi. Candace Cihocki directs.

Leila Ghaznavi is playwright/actor/puppeteer, work has been seen both domestically and abroad in Los Angeles, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Bali, Indonesia and Kristiansand, Norway.

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