Dancers from Attack Theater discuss the show as they sit on the winding stage
Quantum Theatre recently invited me out to a special preview of their latest show, “Maria de Buenos Aires,” and all I can say is this: go see this show.
Sometimes I forget how much of a sucker I am for good strings (and good cymbals), and the live orchestra during just the little bit that I saw kept me transfixed, even to the point of occasionally ignoring the singers. Not to say the singers were not amazing, because they were, but the live orchestration kept me enthralled.
“Maria” is about the history of tango, and the theme that form must die to be reborn. The entirety of the show: the dialogue, dance, music, set design, even location, all explore that theme. Karla Boos, Quantum Theatre’s artistic director said that “Maria” really is a big experiment, and she’s anxious to hear from the patrons what they liked and what they didn’t. I certainly appreciate the dialogue, and am happy for that.
Quantum has taken a few liberties with the piece, all of which I think are for the better. The orchestration has been modified a bit, putting more emphasis on the violin, which of course, makes me extremely happy. They also changed the narrator’s part, not only adding more singing, but making it more English-focused as well, which helps to clarify the story as it progresses. Additionally, the use of projection screens, with custom movie clips (written and created by Joe Seamans) will enhance the performance, again helping to bridge the language barrier and keep the audience from becoming lost.
East Liberty YMCA. It doesn't look like it, but for now, it's a theater.
During our preview, we became part of the blocking, as two of the dancers from Attack Theater made sure they could move one of their props through the audience without hitting anyone in the head (spoiler alert: no injuries, plenty of room). The preview that I saw, was also the first time the orchestra and actors were together in the performance space, so it was like every other musical rehearsal I’ve ever been at or seen, which was comforting. Also, every single musical makes the same face when a note is played out of tune: it’s nice to see universals like that.
I only have one bit of criticism, and it’s not even about the show itself. Later in April Quantum will be doing a “Women Only” evening. Now granted, I’m not a woman, and I don’t think this is their intent, but I refuse to believe that women can be so weak or scared that they need a night all to themselves. Yes, it can be nice to meet in a setting and already have something in common, but I come from the Joss Whedon school of thought, so I view my feminism through a lens of actual equality and strength. But hey, if it fills the house, more power to Quantum, I can’t argue with economics.
“Maria de Buenos Aires” opens tomorrow and runs through April 17. Find out more, including local dining partners and directions (it’s just a short walk from the East Busway!) at Quantum’s website. Check out all my photos here (just be warned, I am not a good photographer!)