Basil Twist's Underwater Symphonie Fantastique Closes Off-Broadway Jan. 2

News   Basil Twist's Underwater Symphonie Fantastique Closes Off-Broadway Jan. 2 Basil Twist's underwater spectacle Symphonie Fantastique ends its Off Broadway run at the Dodger Stages Jan. 2, 2005.

Performances of the one-time sold-out Off-Broadway hit began anew Aug. 31 and opened Sept. 16 at the 199-seat theatre at Dodger Stages. By the end of its run, the work will have played 18 previews and 124 regular performances.

Crowds filled the tiny 78-seat HERE Arts Center in SoHo to witness the Basil Twist work set in a 500-gallon water tank when it debuted in 1998. Now, for its new run, Symphonie Fantastique, which "combines the magic of puppetry with the powerful suggestions of dance, film and art, set to the five movements of Hector Berlioz's hour-long 19th-century classic composition," was performed in a 1,000 gallon water tank.

The unique experience features the wet creations of the puppeteer Twist — who provided Off-Broadway's The Long Christmas Ride Home with its handheld characters last season. The show originally earned Twist an Obie Award then went on to play in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Montreal, London and Munich.

A cast of puppeteers — Matthew Acheson, Oliver Dalzell, Sophia Michahelles, Lake Simons and Kevin Taylor — handle fabrics, feathers, vinyl, plastic, dyes, bubbles, flashlights and more to create the underwater ballet that Twist terms his "attempt to explore this question: What would an abstract puppet show be?"

The new run also offered patrons the option to view the production from backstage, gaining a behind-the-scenes look at the magical display. "Since Symphonie started in 1998 — and as people have asked us over and over again, 'How do you do that?' — we've always had the idea to let people watch the show from back stage," creator-director Twist said in a statement. "This is the first time, though, that we've had the time and space to do it. Viewing the show from that perspective, as it is happening in real time, should be a very different experience." Dodger Stage Holding presents the Tandem Otter Productions work. Dodger Stage Holding — currently represented on Broadway by 42nd Street and Dracula — is comprised of producers Michael David, Robin de Levita, Rocco Landesman, Des McAnuff and Edward Strong.

Symphonie Fantastique performed at the Dodger Stages (at Worldwide Plaza), 340 West 50th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Ave.). For more information on Dodger Stages, visit www.dodgerstages.com.

A scene from <i>Symphonie Fantastique</i>
A scene from Symphonie Fantastique Photo by Carol Rosegg