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Celebrating her 40th anniversary season, choreographer Sally Silvers revives and reimagines her first evening-length, breakthrough work from 1996, Pandora’s Cake Stain. Assembling all-star performers with cameos from the original cast, Silvers ricochets through a fractured scenario, inspired by Alban Berg’s 1935 opera, Lulu, which was based on Pandora’s Box, a play by Frank Wedekind. The opera spins the tale of Lulu, a mysterious young woman in a downward spiral from Viennese well-kept mistress to London street prostitute gutted by Jack the Ripper. In Silvers’s updated dance opera, Pandora’s New Cake Stain, Lulu time travels with a genre-bending feast of movement, theater action, music, and video with five women playing a fictional Lulu who meets up in Mexico with the real-life Italian photographer, Tina Modotti. They dance to Mexican music, invent synchronized abstractions as science experiments, go for a swim and revel in “Girlkultur” lyric zaniness. Their “science projects” are their joint inventions for a social future; their swim plays up a female-centered physicality. Movement and mood encompass the tragedy and relationship conflicts in Lulu and also its circus-y burlesques, with dancing as a near-surrealistic stream-of-consciousness.
With sound design played live by Bruce Andrews with musician Michael Schumacher, lighting design by Kathryn Kaufmann, video and scenic design by Ursula Scherrer, costumes by Silvers, Elizabeth Hope Clancy, and Izzy McClelland, and a star-studded cast including Bria Bacon, Myssi Robinson, Benedict Nguyen, Brandon Collwes, Melissa Toogood (on video), Koosil-ja (reprising her original role), Ben Freedman, Andy Santana, Rafael Cañals, Burr Johnson, & Cori Kresge and cameos from the original cast: Sean Curran, David Neumann, Laura Staton, Kate Gyllenhaal, Eduardo Alegría, Alejandra Martorell, Alison Salzinger, Phillip Karg.