Opera del Espacio | Jan. 28, 2013 | Spotlight

Multimedia performance delves into the relationship between architecture, emotions

CSULA ensemble presents ‘Space: The Final Frontier’ at Son of Semele Theatre

Event details:
“Space: The Final Frontier”

Sat., Feb. 2, at 8 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 3, at 5 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 13-Fri., Feb. 15, at 8 p.m.
Sat., Mar. 2, at 8 p.m.
Sun., Mar. 3, at 5 p.m.

Son of Semele Theatre
3301 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Tickets: $18.
For details, call (213) 351-3507.

Links of interest:

* Opera del Espacio:

* Son of Semele Theatre:

* Tanya Kane-Parry’s background:

* L.A. Weekly article:

* MFA in Television, Film and Theatre:

* Department of Music, Theatre Arts & Dance at CSULA:

* College of Arts & Letters at CSULA:

Photo of Alicia Tycer and Opera del Espacio ensemble.
Space... The continual becoming: invisible fountain from which all rhythms flow.

From the immense and overwhelming to tiny and claustrophobic architecture and space, Space: The Final Frontier recently opened as part of Son of Semele’s Company Creation Festival 2013, featuring Cal State L.A. students and alumni who are members of the Opera del Espacio.

Son of Semele, located in Los Angeles, is a collective of theatre professionals who recognize emerging cultural questions through the production of new or under-exposed plays.

Showing Feb. 2-3, 13-15 and Mar. 2-3, Space: The Final Frontier is a new multimedia movement-based production that investigates the relationship between architecture and emotions.

According to L.A. Weekly’s Steven Leigh Morris, “The cumulative effect of all this is that of an academic treatise straining to be enhanced by the kinetic power of design and dance. That goal is frequently met, thanks to the evocative quality of Kane-Parry’s choreography, and the way the bodies collide and seem to roll through each other. But those visceral high points do collide with the pedantry of actors—through the voices of the architects—explaining what the piece is about, even while they’re performing it.”

This devised work, based on the texts of renowned architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Jul Bachmann, Stanislaus von Moos, and Steen Eiler Rasmussen, is written by Cal State L.A. alumna Alicia Tycer and developed by the ensemble.

Tycer, an actress, playwright and educator, hopes to leave the audience members reconsidering what they expect from theatre.

“The objective is for the audience to become more aware of their own relationship to the architecture they see around them on a daily basis,” said Tycer, who received her MFA from Cal State L.A. in television, film and theatre (TVFT) with an emphasis in dramatic writing and performance. “I read a range of writings on architecture and collected quotes that were concerned with our themes. From there, I adapted the quotes into a loose narrative form, which was the blueprint for our script, and then we collaborated to develop the choreography.”

Tycer has performed in Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Subculture, Maritare, Camera Obscura, In Hindsight, and The Milkman. She also earned a Ph.D. in drama and theatre from UC Irvine, focusing on contemporary British women playwrights. Previously, she has taught as an adjunct professor in the Music, Theatre and Dance Department at CSULA.

Photo of Opera del Espacio ensemble.

Amanda Gomez and Jessica Miller inhabit an impossible architectural landscape inspired by Dutch artist M.C. Escher.

Other CSULA student and alum performers include Amanda Gomez, Jessica Miller, Jonathan Williams and Ramona Young. The stage manager is Jennifer Harrell, who is also a CSULA alum.

“This is a true ensemble,” said Tanya Kane-Parry, a CSULA Department of Music, Theatre and Dance faculty member who is Opera del Espacio’s artistic director. “The work itself grew out of the performers, their ideas, interactions, discoveries and creativity, and all sharing the foundational vocabulary that they learned via TAD 348 Breath, Movement, Voice II (Viewpoints) that I teach each year. The performance requires a great deal of trust, listening and kinesthetic response between the performers in this highly demanding physically-based production.”

Opera del Espacio is a collective of performing artists and designers whose site-specific work reveals new possibilities in public spaces by physically responding to architecture and the environment.

“The ensemble is brought to the community to create a live, interactive and re-envisioned experience of the particular space,” said Kane-Parry. “Our goal is to challenge our audiences to re-evaluate the way they view the world around them.”

Kane-Parry brings to the performance her professional background as a director and choreographer of theatre, opera and dance. She has directed in New York City (including Arthur Sainer’s Jews and Christians in the End Zone) and Los Angeles (Richard Foreman’s Supreme Being). Kane-Parry directed Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea on the CSULA campus. At Long Beach Opera, she choreographed The Man from Atlantis, The Clever One and Moscow, Cherry Town. She has also worked in Europe and in Latin America. She is currently assisting the Houston Grand Opera on L’Italiana in Algers, and in February, she will assist the Los Angeles Opera on La Cenerentola.

Like many of the members of the company, Tycer was able to hone her performance skills and master the techniques in dramatic writing through Professor Kane-Parry’s classes at CSULA.

“Our interest in creating a new piece about architecture stems from the Tanya’s Viewpoints class and the site specific work that we have been performing together,” said Tycer. “My experience at Cal State L.A. helped me by encouraging me to have faith in my creativity, giving me the opportunity to perform and write not only for theatre, but also for film and television. I am proud to have been a member of the first graduating class of the MFA program in TVFT.”