Theatregoers lucky enough to see the Mabou Mines production of Peter and Wendy will likely want to consider seeing the latest piece by the fellow who helped design those puppets and marionettes. Symphonie Fantastique, which opened May 28 at NYC's HERE Theatre, is puppetry with a Twist -- literally.
Symphonie Fantastique started previews May 20 and was scheduled to run through June 27, but audience interest led to an extension to July 31, followed by a second extension to Aug. 30. Now the show has officially been called an open run at the brand new, 75-seat theatre space in the HERE Arts Center complex on Sixth Avenue. For tickets ($20-$50) call (212) 647-0202. The $50 seats include a special backstage tour where audience members can meet the puppeteers.
Not only is the man behind Symphonie named Basil Twist, this new work inaugurates what he calls "underwater puppetry." The show, of abstract forms and movement, is presented in a 500-gallon aquarium. Twist vows this is the first time an entire puppet show has ever been done underwater. According to production spokespersons, influencing the visuals are such disparate artists as painter Wassily Kandinsky, experimental filmmaker Oskar Fischinger, and, of course, composer Hector Berlioz.
Twist is assisted by fellow puppeteers Sam Hack, Chris Hymas and Brian Selznick, as well as by lighting designer Andy Hill.