DC at Night

DC at Night

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Trip to the Moon

What would happen if you let talented DC director, writer, and illustrator Natsu Onoda Power create her take on the silent French classic 1902 film Le Voyage dans de lune, a 10th Century Japanese moral fable about the moon, A Tale of a Bamboo, and an imagined tale of Laika, the Russian space dog; combine all 3; and then let the talented members of the Synetic Theater company perform the weird, yet often wildly entertaining theatrical triptych?

You would have A Trip to the Moon, the Crystal City-based Synetic's latest production which blends drama, music, off-stage voice-overs, live drawing, projections, and other visual effects. Although words fail to capture the visual impacts of the performance a brief, linear synopsis would read something like this:

The head of a committee of scientists proposes a plan for a trip to the Moon. Interlude. An old man finds a shining stalk of bamboo in the forest, which contains a baby the size of his thumb. She turns out to be a princess from the Moon. Return. The scientific group lands on the Moon. They encounter the Selenites, the Moon's inhabitants. Interlude. Laika, a stray dog living on the streets of Moscow, gets captured by a group of humans and sent into space, where she dies after dreaming of the Moon. Conclusion. The scientists, due to the sacrifice of their leader, escape the Selenites and return to Earth.

In her director's notes, Power points out that much has changed since George Melies wowed audiences with his Moon film. "Stories of lunar travel no longer connote fantastical fiction. Scientists and politicians seem a little enamored by the Moon," Power says. "Still some things have stayed the same. The Moon still serves as a source of inspiration to many artists."

But what is the message? "The show is a tribute to all the humans and animals that have reached the Moon, literally or figuratively. It is about attaining the unattainable and what happens after," she says.

If you do decide to see the production, make sure to arrive early. That way you can check out the fascinating film-like curtain, practice your knowledge of French (now how do you say "turn off your cell phone" again?)  introductions, watch the sole musical accompanist burst into flames, and hear a soundtrack of Moon songs by artists like The Beatles and REM.

Tales, Tidbits, and Tips
A Trip to the Moon runs until January 6. You can read what critics are saying about the production by clicking here, and here, and finally here. You can see the YouTube trailer by clicking on the image above (or, if you are reading this in email subscription) by clicking here.

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