Live and in Technicolor
As a kid there was something truly sublime about a black light. With just the flick of a switch an entire space and everything it contained could be altered. Mundane dressings disappeared in the absence of visible light as new, previously imperceptible shapes and patterns emerged. What was in reality just a dingy warehouse could be transformed into a fantastical landscape full of colors that brimmed with vivacity, setting the imagination ablaze. It inspired the kind of wonder you look back on with envy as an adult. Yet such wistful recollections lead me to wonder, why can’t that same sense of awe still be tapped? My threshold for awe might (might) be a bit higher than it was when I was ten, but surely some spectacle of ultra-violet artistry is still capable of surpassing it.
This weekend we will all have a chance to marvel at such a work of black light performance art, as ArcheDream for Humankind brings their latest show, ArcheDream in Technicolor, to the Shiloh Baptist Church April 15-17. An exploration of the color wheel under the glow of ultra-violet light, the performance strives to expose inner and outer landscapes and archetypal emotions one color at a time.
Since 2000, ArcheDream—a Philadelphia based non-profit performance troupe—has been combining elements of theater, dance, puppetry, and visual art to create remarkable shows for all ages. Born from the vision of South African artist Alan Bell, the company was founded out of his desire to unify divided audiences in an ecstasy of wonder. Inspired by traditions of mask theater and the form’s ability to convey stories and unifying truths in fantastical ways, ArcheDream mixes dazzling art direction, whimsical choreography, and archetypal tales inspired by universal thoughts, ideas, and emotions to reach audiences the world over.
In the last fifteen years the company has crafted an oeuvre of stunning productions, many of which have been toured internationally. Deep Blue explored the many elements and inhabitants of the natural world. Inside Out examined one girl’s journey of self-acceptance as she navigates a fantastical dreamscape where her personified emotions run wild (It’s worth noting that this show predated that particular film you’re thinking of). Lil Glo Peep & Other Fairytales filtered familiar childhood tales through the company’s rapturous, fluorescent vision. Throughout ArcheDream’s existence they have also led workshops in mask making, mask and movement, and DIY theater for students of all ages and levels.
With ArcheDream in Technicolor, the company submerges itself in the deep sea blues, gets acquainted with the fiery desires of red-hot passion, crosses the green line between greed and nature, and more as each color is brought to vivid, captivating life. In addition to the performance, attendees will be treated to an exhibition of work from ArcheDream founder Alan Bell, entitled “20 Years of Masks in the Making.” If you, like me, still look fondly on the black light as a tool for transformation, why not let ArcheDream’s artisans take you on a tour of their technicolor world?
ArcheDream in Technicolor
ArcheDream for Humankind
Shiloh Baptist Church
April 15-16 at 7:30pm & 10pm, April 17 at 7:30pm