La Bestia: Sweet Mother - September 2014

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Theater for the New City
New York
September 3, 2014 - September 7, 2014

La Bestia: Sweet Mother is an ongoing, multi-media exploration of the earliest creation myths.  Inspired by the foundational texts of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Mayans, Jewish Bible and other civilizations, this work explores the knife's edge between creation and destruction.

La Bestia: Sweet Mother tells the story of three mothers, each of whom create life, as well as destroy it. Told as myth, a story within a story, La Bestia brings together the timeless and the particular.  The musical component, composed by both Desireé Miller (cello) and Becca Weiss (singer) underscores the action, while the dancer (Dina Smirnova) deepens the meaning of the tale.  The score pays homage not only to medieval troubadours, but also jazz, classical, Middle Eastern and even absurdist styles.

The title comes from La Bestia freight train (also known as "the Train of Death"), which refers to a network of Mexican freight trains that are utilized by U.S.- bound migrants to more quickly traverse the length of Mexico.  This mode of travel is extremely dangerous.

This particular iteration was the world premier of the peformance, played five consecutive nights as part of Theater for the New City's "Dream Up Festival."  Since this performance, the piece has been expanded from a 40-minute one-act piece to a full-length and is in search of a home to premier the longer piece.

Here is a selection from the libretto, the words sung by the chorus:

 

Creation cannot exist

without destruction.

A universal truth

delicious in its simplicity.

We

Imprisoned at the crest of time,

brilliance flaring briefly and then gone –

a moment crushed between

the collision of the past and future.

Creation begins here

As does the destruction

of eternity.

Water.  Please – water. 

A single woman alone and parched:

To live.

She will do anything for water. 

A substance perfect in its simplicity –

Where too much or too little

Spells a certain end.

Look above.  And watch the moon.

But all she sees is her mother’s face,

crying tears of the dimmest light.

Something born of earth and sky.

A forbidden love.

Original act.

The devastation of nothingness

into some thing.

God’s own desperate cry:

creation.

And so it began

 

Cast 

SUZETTE (Julia Peterson)

VALENCIA (Jackie Rivera*)

MALE CHARACTERS (Patrick Bolger)

HUMA (Millie Torchetti)

CELLO (Desireé Miller)

DANCER (Dina Smirnova)

CHORUS (Rebecca Weiss)

 

* appeared courtesy Actors Equity Association

Crew 

DIRECTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT: Tom Block

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Becca Weiss

LIGHTING DESIGN AND STAGE MANAGER: Michele Quinn

SET DESIGN: Tom Block

CHOREOGRAPHY: Dina Smirnova

ORIGINAL MUSIC: Desiree Miller and Becca Weiss