Constellation Theatre’s ‘Mysticism & Music’ goes nowhere

Constellation Theatre’s ‘Mysticism & Music’ goes nowhere

Mysticism & New music, at the moment participating in at Constellation Theatre Company, is a demonstrate that does not do the job. Irrespective of the undeniably engaging songs by the composing staff of Chao Tian (an intensely focused Chinese dulcimer player) and Tom Teasley (a environment-class percussionist) and even with the dogged enthusiasm of the delightfully appealing and youthful cast, the generation does not operate.

Constellation Theatre’s ‘Mysticism & Music’ goes nowhere
Scene from ‘Mysticism & Audio.’ Photo: Constellation Theatre.

The script does not lack for profundity. The textual content consists of meditations and other views by acknowledged wise and spiritual people today and from historic and timeless sacred texts. A couple of of the resources involved are Tao Te Ching, The E-book of Career, Genesis, The Bhagavad Gita, Martin Luther King, Toni Morrison, Thich Nach Hahn. Underneath the course of Allison Arkell Stockman, the effectiveness is composed of these texts collaged collectively and illustrated with choreographic imagery of shifting human body designs (Choreography: Tony Thomas II) that are swathed by and swimming amidst colored cloth (Costumes, Material, and Fan Designer: Frank Labovitz Attributes Designer: George “Tommy” Wang). But the exhibit goes nowhere.

The show has no plot, which would not be a issue if the ritual of motion and audio that accompanies it were adequate to join the audience’s consciousness to the textual content, the performers, and their fellow audience users. But in this scenario, it is not.

Here’s an example of how this link falters:

The cast at just one stage tosses imaginary objects back and forth among them selves as the textual content is spoken. This is a typical theater exercise that any individual in an improv course has carried out. It is applied to connect the performers to each individual other and to target their attention. Preferably, the performers’ concentration is these types of that the viewers that is seeing also “sees” the item being exchanged. In this manufacturing, however, the actors in no way seem to very “see” the imaginary object. The receiver often appears to shed the item halfway in its journey. The arrival of the item at its spot — inevitably in the ideal dimension, form, and excess weight — is underscored by a percussive emphasis. So we, the viewers, acknowledge that the item is presumed to have arrived. But we really don’t rather believe that the journey it is intended to have manufactured. This is emblematic of what — for me — occurs with the entire manufacturing. We hear these profound statements about our humanity. But we never really see, experience, or consider how they are supposed to be related to us in our current context.

For the most section, I never ever felt the performers linked with what they were being stating or executing. The noteworthy exception to this was the quite to start with second of the show during which the performers examine responses the viewers experienced prepared to the prompt: “Over the past 18 months I dropped or skipped out on ____________.” This minute was distinct. Both equally audience and performers had been in arrangement on the supply and objective of the text and what it meant for it to be shared in this room. This comprehension was not present with other texts that have been shared during the efficiency.

Similarly, the viewers was equipped with a rhythm egg (egg shaker) with which to take part in selected percussion moments with the performers. Regrettably, it was not evidently articulated when these moments ought to be. It wasn’t disastrous. It was, however, an prospect to join that remained unfulfilled, and a further more illustration of what was misfiring in the manufacturing.

The set by A.J. Guban is aesthetically pleasing, partaking, and meditative to seem at. It is made up of a lengthy system backed by a neutral-coloured and textured wall. The wall is punctuated by a sequence of discreetly ensconced entrances/exits. Each the wall and platform span the complete upstage location. Surrounded by a lower wall in entrance of this system is the orchestra pit in which the two musicians are found and heard all through the overall performance.

Musician-composers Tom Teasley and Chao Tian in ‘Mysticism & Songs.’ Photograph: Constellation Theatre.

The ambiance of the place was heat, welcoming, and coherent on this autumn evening. It presented a welcome respite from the neon-and-siren-drenched hubbub of the 14th & U Street corridor exterior the theater doors.

I was grateful that the spoken voice and the percussion ended up not at war with just about every other in this output. That’s largely owing to the unobtrusive and seamless function of seem engineer Gordon Nimmo-Smith.

The actors ended up partaking to watch and hear. I glance forward to the next effort and hard work that every person associated in this manufacturing would make.

Jogging Time: Somewhere around 80 minutes with no intermission

Mysticism & New music can be seen either in particular person or on desire.  In-person performances run through November 7, 2021, at CulturalDC’s Supply Theatre, 1835 14th Road NW, Washington DC (between 14th and T). In-human being tickets are $10–$49 as well as fees. Video clip On Need is offered from November 2 to 21, 2021. Patrons who purchase a Video clip On Demand from customers ticket will receive a hyperlink to stream the filmed generation anytime all through the digital operate. Patrons will have a 72-hour window in which to appreciate the show. Video clip On Demand tickets are $20 for each home furthermore service fees. Tickets for the two in-man or woman or streaming may be obtained by calling the Box Place of work at (202) 204-7741 or on line.

COVID SEATS: A minimal variety of $10 tickets for each and every in-man or woman performance are available to those who have been economically afflicted by the pandemic. Get in touch with the Box Business or pay a visit to our internet site to order. Supplemental costs apply.

DISCOUNTED TICKETS: Constellation will give away a pair of complimentary tickets for each individual in-individual effectiveness making use of a digital lottery, which may perhaps be entered on our internet site 48 several hours just before each individual functionality. Teams of 4 or more are suitable for a 25{f324a8215c3777a419a2115d6d9d8525316dffed3dbd6a459ccd69cb53b21224} discounted on consistently priced tickets. Initial responders, lively/retired armed forces staff, teachers, and learners are qualified for a 50{f324a8215c3777a419a2115d6d9d8525316dffed3dbd6a459ccd69cb53b21224} lower price on routinely priced tickets. Added costs use. Please visit for far more info.

COVID-19 Protection Approach: All in-individual audiences are necessary to give proof of vaccination at the door and don masks for the period of the effectiveness. For a thorough overview of Constellation Theatre Company’s insurance policies, visit


Mysticism & New music
primarily based on a notion by Tom Teasley, Chao Tian, Nick Martin, A. J. Guban, and Allison Arkell Stockman

Songs Composed and Carried out Dwell by
Tom Teasley
Chao Tian

John Austin
Natalie Cutcher
Momo Nakamura
Nia Savoy-Dock
Deidre Staples
Jacob Yeh

Creative Team
Director: Allison Arkell Stockman
Choreographer: Tony Thomas II
Scenic & Lights Designer: A.J. Guban
Musician & Composer: Tom Teasley
Musician & Composer: Chao Tian
Costume Designer: Frank Labovitz
Attributes Designer: George “Tommy” Wang
Sound Engineer: Gordon Nimmo-Smith
Script Supervisor: Nick Martin
Output Phase Supervisor: Katie Moshier