Thursday, March 10, 2011

Teaser of a PIFA Performance!

Ellen Owens, Executive Director of Philadelphia Magic Gardens, introduces Chris Farrell
Chris Farrell performing 

Last night, I truly got a taste of what's to come during PIFA. I went to a fundraiser hosted by Philadelphia's Magic Gardens that gave the audience a teaser of their PIFA performance, Poetic Passageways: Synesthesia of Sound, Sight, and Movement. The full performance will take place during PIFA on April 20 and April 21st. Check out the website now to purchase tickets.

Ellen Owens, Executive Director of Philadelphia Magic Gardens, dreamed up this one-of-a-kind performance. Now, her dream will be come a reality with Farrell and Prince fulfilling her vision.

Owens says, “Poetic Passageways is a stimulating, darkly playful piece that was influenced by Surrealist parlor games and automatic writing.  The music and choreography are structured in some instances and improvised in others, allowing the performance to transform itself organically each time it is performed.  This imaginative work may be the most magical interpretation of our space to date.” 

     After getting in Time's intimate upstairs bar, I was enveloped in live music by Christopher Farrell, member and composer of the band Rit Mo Collective. He played a sampling of music to be included within the performances, including his own original compositions.

     Rit Mo Collective consists of many instruments including the cello, drums, bass, percussion, and violin. Their violinist, Kaveh Saidi, is well renowned in the music world. He even accompanied Pearl Jam during their Philadelphia concert because the band requested a skilled violinist.

     Last night, Farrell was a one-man-band, playing the electric guitar and mandolin and making looped soundscapes onto which he wove his melodies. I can't wait to hear the complete band together on April 20 and 21. One of my favorite pieces was called "A Thousand Smiles of Nina.” Although I wish it were written for me, Farrell dedicated the song to me on this special occasion, knowing I share the same name as his sister, the inspiration for the beautiful tune.

    After about 20 minutes of Farrell's solo music, Olive Prince and her dance company took the stage. The candlelight and snug second-floor setting created the dramatic and provocative mood.  With Farrell’s music as accompaniment, Olive Prince Dance began highlights from the original, choreographed Poetic Passageways work. Olive Prince was even one of five dancers that performed the piece, inspired by Surrealist and Dada art movements. I was so impressed with how their bodies moved effortlessly while reciting the words of Andre Bréton, Marcel Duchamp, and other influential people of the period. Dressed in white, the dancers’ movements were illuminated and supernatural in dramatic lighting. 

     This was only a teaser of the full performances during PIFA at Philadelphia Magic Gardens. Philadelphia Magic Gardens’ sparkling courtyard and sculpture garden will provide the unusual backdrop for this PIFA performance. The audience will actually navigate the mosaiced maze to view the performers from all angles.

This is only 1 of 135 events during PIFA 4/7-5/1. Stay tuned for more PIFA Sneak Peaks! Visit for ticket information.

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