Co-created by composer PAOLA PRESTINI, writer and performer RINDE ECKERT, and director and designer JULIAN CROUCH
instrument designer MARK STEWART
co-scenic design & costume design by AMY C. RUBIN
video & lighting design by JOSH HIGGASON
Written for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus conducted by DIANNE BERKUN-MENAKER and American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME)
Residency & development support from Mass MoCA, The Park Avenue Armory, PROTOTYPE, and The Watermill Center’s Artist Residency Program.
A new music-theatre work, Aging Magician is a composite of sonic and visual elements that paints an allegory on time, youth, and the peculiar magic of ordinary life, and, perhaps, the ordinary magic of a peculiar life. Accompanied by a string quartet and a choir of young people, Aging Magician moves us along with its protagonist, Harold, from the surgical repair of a timepiece to the magic show of time itself. His journey begins on a train to Coney Island, which carries him across lives and deaths, appearances and disappearances, helping him to uncover his legacy. The man’s vibrant last adventure is brought to life by a team of multidisciplinary artists who combine music, theatre, puppetry, instrument making, and scenic design to create an enduring work for the stage.
BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS and quartet led by Dianne Berkun-Menaker, American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) Combining Prestini’s sonic world, Crouch’s puppetry, with Eckert’s text and multi-faceted performance, a children’s youth chorus is woven into set and story, using traditional Greek techniques of consoling, chiding, and commenting on Harold’s journey. The chorus heightens the overall experience as it interacts with set pieces, film, and puppetry. The instrumentalists—a group of virtuosic improvisers—comments musically throughout.
Stewart and Crouch’s set is an immersive installation that can be played like an instrument—blown, struck, whistled, plucked, and bowed. The scenery’s surfaces become the canvas for the projection design.
Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, VisionIntoArt, Walker Art Center, and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Developed by Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt, with support from National Endowment for the Arts, and Repertoire Development Grant support from Opera America, and the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, with additional funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Opera America Opera Fund. Aging Magician has received residency support from Mass MoCA, Park Avenue Armory and The Watermill Center’s Artist Residency Program. All photos © Jill Steinberg 2014