Alternative mask performance – a duet for a mask and a flute

by Avital Manor Peleg | 1 January 2017

The Music in Motion project represents 100 years of musical development

Imagine a dialogue between two strangers that have never met before. Imagine a new, innovative language, crystallising with dedication to communicate and collaborate, despite any differences. This is the story of an artistic journey of mutual respect and tolerance which shaped itself into a meta-language of sound, movement, tone, vibration, eye contact and visual elements. A dynamic conversation between two artists of different cultures and practices: an Israeli theatre artist and a Spanish musician who met in the United States and started collaborating. Together they created a duet of visual, physical mask theatre and experimental flute music.

Last year I took part in a unique performance project in Boston entitled Music in Motion. Outstanding instrumentalists team up with puppeteers to translate a wide array of contemporary compositions into intriguing works of visual and object theatre. The project was led by Juventas New Music Ensemble’s Artistic Director Lidiya Yankovskaya and Puppet Showplace Theatre’s Artistic Director Roxanna Myhrum. Quoting Lidiya Yankovskaya from an interview to the online journal The Boston Musical Intelligencer: “Musicologists generally mark the year that World War I began (1914) as the beginning of the contemporary music era.” The Music in Motion project represents 100 years of musical development, through what she refers to as “an extreme range of styles, from Minimalism to the most complex examples of post-Tonalism, to neo-Classicism.” This diversity of new music was interpreted by different independent puppeteers, showcasing different styles and techniques of puppetry such as marionettes, hand puppets, masks and table-top puppets.

I was invited to create an original, nonverbal, theatre piece using my method of mask performance, to be inspired by Edgard Varèse’s Density 21.5 – a flute solo, composed in 1936 for the premiere of the first platinum flute.

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