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Theatre Review (LA): Synesthesia by Athena Theatre at the Bootleg Theatre

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Synesthesia. “Artistic Telephone Across The Genres” is a fascinating experiment, blending different genres that explore the nature of inspiration and creativity. The whole project, which has been done in New York before and is just now getting its debut in Los Angeles, takes five months to put together.

It begins with one artist who is asked to select a fortune cookie. Based on the message inside, the artist creates a piece, according to his or her discipline, that is five minutes long; and after two weeks, the next artist sees that creation and is inspired to create something in his or her own discipline. So it goes for five months at which time all the artists come together to perform an evening of their work, and this is done live and in sequence.

Eight artists participated in the experiment. Between the acts each artist would be filmed expressing his or her reaction to the piece he or she just witnessed and asked about his or her feelings about carrying the game forward. All felt challenged and even fearful.

The artists in question were, in order, Ruby Karen (Aerial Artist and Dancer) with Luca Cecchini (Character Dancer) and William Meyers (Composer), Aldo Pisano (Spoken Word storyteller, John Bobek (Singer and Songwriter), Marc Rosenthal (Lighting and Projection Designer) with Michelle “Star” LaVon (Choreographer and Dancer), Michael Bonnabel (ASL, Singer) with Ken Weiler on Guitar, John Acrorn (Commedia dell’arte Performer), RoccoVitacco (Musical Theatre Composer), and Michael Dunn (Chef).

Surprisingly none of these failed to enchant or make the audience feel discomfort as they wondered if they could meet the challenge. Synesthesia has only one more performance at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 11th, with a Talk Back afterwards at the Bootleg Theatre.

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