John Kelly, the ethereal artist who has given New York City two decades' worth of romantic and emotional performance pieces, will present his latest, The Paradise Project, at Chelsea's The Kitchen, Sept. 12-28.
The work is inspired by the classic 1945 French film "Children of Paradise" and one man's obsession with it. The movie, set in the Parisian demi-monde of the late 19th century, follows the amorous, artistic and existential adventures of a group of performers. Among them are Baptiste, the emotionally fragile and world famous mime; Frederick, a vainglorious and gregarious actor who is forever reading Othello; Lacenaire, a frustrated playwright who fancies his growing criminal career an act of artistry; Count Eduard of Monteray, an arrogant aristocrat; and Nathalie, a selfless actress who marries Baptiste, even though she knows he loves another. At the center of everyone's wishes is the mysterious Garance, an unwilling femme fatale who, though she has it in her power to possess anyone and anything, does not know what she wants from life.
Kelly's character falls so deeply into the story of the film that he virtually becomes Baptiste. The play will re-enact certain scenes from the movie, which runs over three hours and is structured like a two-act play, complete with curtains.
The Paradise Project uses music by Radiohead, Michael Torke and Mark Campbell, as well as video projections and live video feed.
The Kitchen is located at 512 W. 19th St. For tickets, call (212) 255-5793 ext. 11. —By Robert Simonson