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Showing posts from December, 2014

Winter Light

Winter Light: Songs, Music and rituals from the Carpathians
a Baroque Folk Nativity Play
and Serhiy Zhada looks at Ukraine Today
created by Yara Arts Group
directd by Virlana Tkacz
Winter Light: Songs, Music and Rituals the Carpathians is a delightful hour-and-a-half from Yara Arts Group (at La MaMa) consisting primarily of Ukrainian folk music. The cast of 21 sing in a range of flavors, sometimes clapping, sometimes stamping their feet. The styles range from the ethereal to the staccato, from the placid to the hearty.
The singing is almost exclusively in Ukrainian, with only a few moments of translation indicating the lyrics. “Nothing lasts forever,” we hear, and “How long I waited for you.”
The night I attended, the audience broke into spontaneous clapping as the singers ran through a song. Such is the contagious energy of this troupe.
Many songs are sung a capella, but there’s an instrumental accompaniment to others, and the instruments are choice. There’s a fiddle with a special tuni…

A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa

A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa
presented by Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater
adapted from the Dickens by Vit Horejs

Vit Horejs began to study puppetry as a child in Prague. He toured the world as a puppeteer before he found 69 Czech marionettes, some of them two centuries old, in the Jan Hus Church in Manhattan. They formed part of his inspiration to establish the Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theater in 1990. He's written or adapted more than 20 plays for his company, and the productions use some of those old puppets.

The marionette theater's latest offering is A Christmas Carol, Oy! Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, recently presented by LaMaMa. More suited for adults than children, it uses the frame of Dickens' story as a vehicle for Horejs' unique art, and Horejs is the sole, very busy puppeteer. It begins with a lovely moment when Horejs awakes on stage. There are songs between scenes sung very nicely by two actresses next to the tiny stage (one …