P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
March 5, 2003
Basil Twist Combines Underwater Puppetry, Music, and Abstract Expressionism at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) It was Hector Berlioz who helped usher in the Romantic era with his brilliant, semi-autobiographical Symphonie Fantastique. Painter Wassily Kandinsky first pushed visual art away from literal representation and into abstraction with his vibrant geometric shapes and blobs. Today puppeteer Basil Twist does the same for puppetry with Symphonie Fantastique, set to Berlioz's music, which will be performed at MASS MoCA on Saturday, April 5, at 2 and 7 P.M.
Without plot, dialogue, or even human or animal form, these puppets are truly abstract and a technical marvel. Pioneering puppeteers manipulate fabric, mirrors, light, and even dye in a 500-gallon tank. The Village Voice hails it as "a new art form," while The New York Times calls it "true magic - it is like listening to music with your eyes."
Winner of an OBIE Award, UNIMA Citation of Excellence and nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experiencec Symphonie Fantastique has been performed at The Tollwood Festival (Munich), The London International Mime Festival, The Juste Pourire Festival (Montreal), The International Marionette Festival (Charleville), Bard College (New York), The Guston Arts Center (Washington DC), and the Zeum Theatre(San Francisco). It premiered at HERE Arts Center in April 1998 and ran until September '99.
Basil Twist is the mastermind behind the acclaimed water puppets in Symphonie Fantastique and it inspired him to create the wind puppets seen in Red Beads. A work-in-progress showing of Red Beads was performed at MASS MoCA in August 2002. He 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.
Symphonie Fantastique is sponsored by The Porches Inn.
Tickets for Symphonie Fantastique are $20 for adults and $15 for students. 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 on Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release