Fiercely Physical Cabinet of Wonders Will Premiere in Philadelphia Sept. 29 | Playbill

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News Fiercely Physical Cabinet of Wonders Will Premiere in Philadelphia Sept. 29 Kira Obolensky's Cabinet of Wonders: An Impossible History, a commission from the Philadelphia company Gas & Electric Arts, will have its world premiere Sept. 29-Oct. 24, 2009 in Philadelphia.

Obolensky's husband, artist Irve Dell, is creating the cabinets that will be "enchanted installation-arts pieces." Siblings Leopold and Christina Carcass are at the center of Cabinet of Wonders. According to production notes, "The enigmatic and charismatic offspring of a family of immigrants, revolutionaries and entertainers, they live on the edge of eviction, in a free fall from grace. The Carcasses debate salvation strategies and tussle over the plethora of family possessions stashed inside the ancestral cabinets. With impending foreclosure, no destination or relatives in site, they can only take away what they can carry."

Lisa Jo Epstein directs the work, called "object theatre." Expect "fierce physicality" in this "multi-sensory ride through the magical mesh of fiction and reality that reside in family stories."

This is the first commission for the four-year-old Gas & Electric Arts, which focuses on physical theatre. Opening is Oct. 1.

The performers are Catharine K. Slusar and Ross Beschler. The soundscape is by Tim Harbeson, light design is by James Clotfelter and costumes are by Rosemarie McKelvey.

Kira Obolensky's plays have been produced Off-Broadway and across the country and have been commissioned by theatres such as the McCarter, the Guthrie, Geva, and Steppenwolf. She was a playwright in residence at the Julliard School, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as numerous grants and commissions. Lobster Alice won the 1998 Kesselring Prize and it premiered at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis and was produced by Playwrights Horizons in New York. After seeing Gas & Electric Arts' physical and visual approach to her play Quick Silver in 2007, Obolensky entered into conversations with artistic director Lisa Jo Epstein about originating a new play with the company. Her new work includes Raskol, an adaptation of "Crime and Punishment" with an improvisational jazz band, which was commissioned by Ten Thousand Things Theatre and premiered in an area prison in April 2009. Performances will play Underground Arts at the Wolf, 340 N. 12 Street in Philadelphia. Tickets are available at (215) 407-0556 or at

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