Be Here Now: Phantom Limb’s “69˚S” @ EMPAC at RPI, 9/23-24/11
Led by legendary puppeteer Erik Sanko, Phantom Limb Company presents a pair of work-in-progress showings of their new theatrical performance piece, “69˚S,” at EMPAC at RPI in Troy on Friday and Saturday evenings. And it’s sure to wash away any lingering thoughts that you may have had that puppets are just for kids.
The work – which is slated to have its official premiere next week at Dartmouth College – is a haunting meditation inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s harrowing expedition to Antarctica in 1914. Half-human-sized marionettes operated by white-clad puppeteers on stilts combine with glacial field recordings, an original score recorded by the Kronos Quartet and the junkyard aesthetic of the band Skeleton Key playing live to capture the forbidding beauty of the South Pole, as well as the triumph of the human spirit in the face of all odds.