“PROMETHEUS Within,” Theodora Skipitares’ New Musical Puppet Theater Work, Premieres at La Mama, April 13-29
Original Score by Sxip Shirey; Contortionist/Acrobat Jonathan Nosan Plays Prometheus; Cast of 25 Puppets Play Themselves
The theatrical, philosophical, and moral relationship between the exiled Greek god Prometheus and the future implications of stem cell research could only be conceived by the uncanny imagination of playwright/director Theodora Skipitares, who uses 25 larger than life puppets to reveal, celebrate, and explore such connections in her upcoming musical puppet theater work, “PROMETHEUS Within.” With an original score by Sxip Shirey, sung by members of Trevor Wilson and Vocal Ensemble, “PROMETHEUS Within” premieres as part of La Mama’s 50th anniversary celebration, April 13-29.
Crisscrossing history with the greatest of ease, “PROMETHEUS Within” was inspired by Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound,” in which Prometheus, who stole fire from Zeus to give to mankind, was eternally punished by the king of the gods, who had him chained to a mountainside, where an eagle destroyed his liver by day only to have it regenerated by night.
Skipitares’ ongoing fascination with modern medicine — several of her previous works, “The Age of Invention,” “Defenders of the Code” and “Under the Knife,” united science and theater–led her to connect the work of organ regeneration through stem cell research and genetic engineering to Prometheusian themes of rebirth, and questions about ownership of one’s physical being.
Contortionist, acrobat, aerialist, and film stuntman Jonathan Nosan plays Prometheus. The cast of puppets includes Dolly the Sheep, Transparent Frog, Earmouse, Enviro-pig, Goat-spider, Super-salmon, three singing swans, six regenerated Thighs of Captain Hernandez, 3 surgeons, an anesthetist, a patient, and a giant talking liver, among others.
Performance times: April 13-29: Fri. 13 at 7:30, Sat. 14 at 7:30, Sun. 15 at 2:30 Thu. 19 at 7:30, Fri. 20 at 7:30, Sat. 21 at 7:30, Sun. 22 at 2:30 Thu. 26 at 7:30, Fri. 27 at 7:30, Sat. 28 at 7:30, Sun. 29 at 2:30.
Where To Go
Tickets are $18 for Adults and $13 for Students/Seniors and are available at www.lamama.org or by calling 212-475-7710.
The Ellen Stewart Theater at La MaMa is located at 66 East 4th Street, New York, NY.
Theodora Skipitares has been creating large-scale theatre works with puppets for more than 25 years, making her La MaMa debut with “Underground” in 1992. Ms. Skipitares recently presented “Trilogy” about which The New York Times wrote: “With abundant ingenuity, Theodora Skipitares makes the Trojan War, a central saga of Greek tragedy, a puppet spectacular.” Other credits include “The Age of Invention”, “Defenders of The Code,” “Under the Knife,” and “A Harlots Progress.” Her works have been produced throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. She has received numerous grants and awards, including Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships, six NEA grants, and a UNIMA Citation for Excellence in Puppetry. In 2005, Ms. Skipitares’ adaptation of Euripides’ “Iphigenia” won two New York Innovative Theatre Awards. In 2000, she received the American Theatre Wing Design Award for “A Harlot’s Progress” and in 2004, she won the Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwriting Award. In 2000, Ms. Skipitares was a Fulbright Fellow in India, where she returns frequently to create new theater work.
Sxip Shirey is a solo performer and composer for theater, film, and dance. He is a 2012 USA Simon Fellow with United States Artists.
Sxip has played exploding circus organ for the pyro-technic clowns of the Daredevil Opera Company at the Sydney Opera House and the Kennedy Center, industrial flutes for acrobats on mechanical jumping boots at The New Victory Theater on Broadway, hillbilly music for gypsies in Transylvania, and gypsy music for hillbillies in West Virginia with The Luminescent Orchestrii. He has also toured internationally as a solo artist with both Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls. When in NYC, Shirey performs at underground parties and at Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater. He composed music for a film by Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods) for SKY TV in the U.K., had “Melody for Lizzie” performed by the Boston Pops and is currently working on a commission for a short film for the English National Opera. This is Shirey’s 3rd time composing for Theodora Skipitares
Jonathan Nosan received his B.A. in Asian Studies and Geography from University of California Berkeley, after which he researched “Design of Sacred Space of New Religious Movements” on a Fulbright to Japan and then spent a year in a wood cabin in the Northwest Mountains of Kyoto. During that year he changed course from academics to acrobatics.
He studied Butoh with Katsura Kan in Kyoto, theater with Philippe Gaulier in London and contortion with Lu Yi in San Francisco. His theater work includes performances with his “Bagabones” (NY Intl Fringe Festival), New York City Opera “Monodramas,” and Twyla Tharp’s Broadway production of “The Times They are a Changin’.” Mr. Nosan’s contortion work has appeared in the films “Cirque du Freak,” “The Bounty,” “Big Fish,” “The Cell,” and on television, commercials, and in print.
The puppets bios are unavailable at this time. Word has it that they are too modest or a bit publicity shy, though available for interviews, if pressed.