Thursday, January 9, 2014

Madame Blavatsky and the Astral Light

This year’s New Zealand Fringe Festival in Wellington runs from February 4 to March 4. Among the myriad assortment of events offered will be a theatre piece “Madame Blavatsky and the Astral Light,” directed by Julia Campbell and Catherine Swallow and written by Renee Gerlich. The play will be staged atop the Wellington Botanic Gardens, in a marquee in partnership with Carter Observatory. According to the Festival’s Press Release for it:

Occultist and mystic Helena P. Blavatsky (1831-1891) sought to unify scientific and spiritual investigation in an attempt to reach a universal brotherhood of followers. Contemporary and historic interpretations paint a divisive picture of this formidable woman, who shunned Darwin and predicted the divisibility of the atom. This new work focuses on Blavatsky’s life and character in parallel with significant developments in the physics of the time, particularly the distribution of electricity by Thomas Edison and his contemporaries. She was the co-founder of the Theosophical Society which still exists today.

Performers use puppets, physical theatre, music and human generated electrical sources to explore Blavatsky’s influence on significant thinkers of the time, including the poet WB Yeats. Using a variety of nontraditional effects, Campbell and Swallow will explore what it may have been like for nineteenth century travelling players.

Performance dates: February 13 to 16, 2 PM and 7 PM. Duration 60 minutes. Since this will be an outdoor performance, warm clothing and something to sit on is recommended.

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