Saturday, September 14 at 6 p.m.
Music, puppetry, poetry, acrobatics with Russian literature and Mozart. These are the elements incorporated in String Up The Moon, created by Fratellanza, a Detroit based theater troupe. Fratellanza is dedicated to creating original work for theater that transports audiences away from their everyday and into a heightened level of play.
String Up The Moon is a highly theatrical adaptation of two tales from 19th-century Russia. Nikolais Gogol’s Diary of a Madman and Alexander Pushkin’s dramatic poem Mozart and Salieri are juxtaposed creating a biting satire on climbing the socio-economic ladder. The performers translate the text and movement of Gogol and Pushkin to form a theatrical sonata of dreams and madness.
Featured in the work is Detroit jazz musician Michael Malis and installation artist Reed Esslinger. Together they create a world that's not our own and not 19th-century Russian, but that exists in the darkly humorous realm of Gogol and Pushkin. Malis, with his reputation award winning film and theater scores, has composed an intimate orchestration of piano, bass and drums for the first half of the work. He draws on his own backgrounds of jazz and funk, but responds to Gogol’s bizarre world. For the second act, he’s manipulated Mozart concertos and Requiem. The set design created by Esslinger starts as a Russian onion dome and tumbles into a tiny St. Petersburg apartment, a cell in an insane asylum, a lush study and a boat.
Fratellanza’s Artistic Directors are Jim and Paul Manganello, both graduates of the University of Michigan and natives of Southeast Michigan. States Jim, “We tend to catch people who are interested in other media — dance, music, circus, puppetry, film — and who are looking to try something different in the theater. Surprisingly, we've found that readers of graphic novels really get it. We get a lot of college kids, maybe because they are used to different modes of telling stories. The traditional theater-going audience is enthusiastic because they've usually not seen this kind of stuff in a theater.”
After living for a year in Europe, the Manganello brothers are happy to be back in Michigan and are excited to perform their work at Michigan Legacy Art Park. As elementary aged students they recall helping their uncle, Art Park founder David Barr, nail down the boards of the Art Park’s amphitheater floor. Executive Director, Renee Hintz states, “We are thrilled to have Fratellanza perform at the Art Park, and proud to offer this collaborative art form to the community.”
Admission is a suggested donation of $15 per adult and $5 per student. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets, low back chairs, picnics, and suitable clothing for the outdoors. Transportation from the trailhead to the amphitheater will be available for those needing assistance.
Have questions? Email Renee Hintz.