January 13, 2005
Basil Twist Retells Sleeping Beauty
in Puppets at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.)-- Basil Twist is the mastermind behind the acclaimed water puppets in Symphonie Fantastique and the wind puppets in Red Beads seen at MASS MoCA in February 2003 and August 2002 respectively. On Sunday, February 13, at 3 P.M. he returns to the Hunter Center stage with a work-in-progress showing of his latest creation, Sleeping Beauty, a recreation of Respighi's 1922 La Bella dormente nel bosco.
The Village Voice hailed Symphonie Fantastique as "a new art form," while The New York Times calls it "true magic… it is like listening to music with your eyes."
Twist's new Sleeping Beauty will include hundreds of puppets - from miniature spiders to life-size marionettes. The piece is slated to premiere at the 2005 Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, but once again Twist will allow MASS MoCA audiences a sneak peak, as he refines the piece as part of the museum's MASS Manufacturing residency series.
In keeping with the composer's original intention and in homage to Podrecca's techniques, Twist will use marionettes or string puppets for the work, but in innovative and unexpected ways. For example, puppets will be manipulated by strings from both above and below the stage.
A favorite of MASS MoCA audiences, Basil Twist has been to the museum to perform Symphonie Fantastique, winner of an OBIE Award and UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experiencec. Twice, he came to the museum to perform Red Beads, once with a very early work-in-progress showing of the fledgling and highly experimental wind puppets and again with a more refined, almost complete version just before its world premiere.
Twist is a graduate of the prestigious École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in France and the only American to have been accepted to its rigorous three-year training program. In the U.S. he has worked and performed with innovative puppet-theater artists such as Roman Paska, Julie Taymor, Theodora Skipitares, and Janie Geiser at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts. He has worked as a builder and director of puppetry for Lee Nagrin, Tectonic Theater Project Inc., Karen Malpede, Theater Couture, NBC's Another World, and the New York Public Library's Black and White Ball.
Respighi's Sleeping Beauty of the Woods premiered in Rome in 1922 and was based on the Charles Perrault fairy tale to a libretto by Gian Bistolfi. This initial version was performed around the world by Vittorio Podrecca's puppet theater. Respighi then revised and reorchestrated the work for child mimes in 1934, and a second revised version with a new ending by Gian Luca Tocchi was completed in 1967. The absence of a generally available printed score has been the major obstacle to this work, receiving the wider audience that it deserves.
Tickets for the work-in-progress showing of Sleeping Beauty are $8. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113