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Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ

The show opens Jan. 27 at the Wilbury Theatre Group Performance Space at WaterFire Arts Center.

The Floating World, a new one-man-show from Wilbury Theatre Group resident artist Andy Russ, opens Jan. 27 at the Wilbury Theatre Group Performance Space at WaterFire Arts Center.

Described as "a smidgeon of Twain, a splash of haiku, and a hint of lunar conspiracy, served up on a bed of mixed metaphor and frogs," that is "equal parts pantomime and performance art," "The Floating World" "presents a series of multimedia meditations on the elusivity of the human experience and the languages with which we try to explain it," according to a release from the theater.

"The initial idea for the work was sparked in 2012, after reading a Mark Twain essay bemoaning a mistranslation of his first successful short story, 'The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,'" Russ said in the statement. "Ten years and one pandemic later, the piece has evolved to include singing and dancing, projected slides, and historical film footage, plus an eclectic cast of characters including an astronaut, a geisha, and a game show host. Oh, and a bucket of frogs."

Russ, a frequent Wilbury Theatre Group collaborator whose credits include "Lifted" (sound design), "Krapp's Last Tape" (sound design), "Constellation" (projection and sound design) and "Fun Home" (lighting and sound design), has also performed in multiple FringePVD festivals with original works including "Alchemy," "To Remember" and "Familiar Sense of Slip."

Under the name Passive Aggressive Novelty Company (PANoCo), Russ makes performances that "move freely between the genres of dance, drama, music and film," according to the statement. "His work is driven by a desire for experimentation and artistic cross-pollination, creating self-aware theatrical fantasies that challenge the conventions of artistic practice and audience expectation."

Originally from North Carolina, with degrees in music and dance from Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio, Russ spent 10 years in New York City, working as music supervisor for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and surfing the downtown performance scene. In 2005, he relocated to Rhode Island to take on the role of artistic coordinator for cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project.

With Ma, he produced the Grammy-nominated album "Off the Map," has created more than 80 original music compositions and sound designs for various media, and has recently taken up making short dance films.

Russ lives in Providence, where, in addition to directing PANoCo, he is a resident artist at the Wilbury Theatre, a professor of dance at Roger Williams University, an integrated art and music teacher at the Wolf School, and a co-director of Motion State Arts.

Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ
Andy Russ

Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ
Andy Russ

Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ
Andy Russ

Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ
Andy Russ

Photos: First Look At THE FLOATING WORLD By Andy Russ
Andy Russ



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