Mass Monday: AcousticaElectronica at the Boston Together Festival

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A combination of classical music, electronic music and live acts, AcousticaElectronica creates a dance vs. theater experience. Since its Boston premiere in February 2012, the show has run a total of two times each in Boston and New York.  She explains the show is on its third iteration, and after being rebuilt from scratch 3 times, is coming back to Boston on a new level for the Together Festival. Sikara stylist, Marissa also serves as the director and co-creator of the show. Read further for a behind-the-scenes view where she explains what to expect, what it’s like  to totally reconstruct a show and how her multi-performer crew prepares for an event like this.

 

 

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What is different about the new AcousticaElectronica?

We’ve taken a really hard look at everything and the kind of story we’re telling. It is as much a club night as it is a theater piece, so we look at the narrative to make sure everything you’re seeing is part of the message we want to send. We have restructured things – a lot of our music is new; we’ve pretty much turned over the entire set of music except for a coupe tracks we’re keeping the same. Aside from a new set list, we have four new cast members, meaning four new character roles we didn’t have in previous runs. What we’ve tried to do is make an experience beginning when you walk in the door. We want to hook you then and there. We always had pre-show go-go dancers who came out to get the crowd ready, but what we’ve decided to do is eliminate anyone who is not a complete part of the evening and turn everyone into full characters. Everything is becoming much more integrated. It’s all about the experience from the moment you’re in line to the moment you leave. This version of the show is set a bit futuristically, with what we call clones – representations of feminine sexuality – who have taken the place of our go-go dancers during the course of our production.
How does it feel to undergo such a reconstruction?
It was a little bit scary when we completely gutted the show and started again from square one. Everything people see needs to be amazing. You don’t know how the audience is going to respond, no matter how much you imagine it in your head or plan for things to happen in a certain way. I was nervous last week in New York doing this version of the show for the first time in front of a new audience, but I felt really good about the work we did from the audience’s response. I’m really proud of the new version. We locked ourselves away for six months to make this the best show possible. It was very well-worth the team’s effort.
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You have done two shows in Boston and two in New York. Where does the cast come from?
Our cast has grown to be about 15 performers and about five production assistants behind the scenes. Of our 20-person cast and crew, 14 are in New York and six are in Boston. Whether the show is in Boston or New York, we have the same cast moving between both areas.
How does the entire crew prepare for a performance?

We have music, dance/choreography and theater direction and go through a pretty rigorous rehearsal process for every show. We have live music components and we have a DJ aspect, so we commission a lot of work from different producers. The thing we do is blend classical music with electronic dance music in all kinds of forms. We want to have a very big showing of different styles of electronic music; that’s a really important part of what we’re doing. We have a long process in which we work with the products to create the music, then we try and shape a set list with previously written tracks or tracks we write ourselves or commission for people. Then we bring the musicians into a rehearsal room and rehearse the musicians with the music because there are a lot of live instruments playing along with the tracks to incorporate the live performance aspect. While that’s happening, we have workshops for the dancers where we learn choreography and set everything since it’s heavily a dance piece. We try to take that dance culture and put it as professional as possible. Being very collaborative in nature, we work a lot with our cast members to come up with a movement style. Our head choreographer, who lives in New York, rehearses all the dancers, then we have a week-long intensive rehearsal workshop in New York where we bring together the entire cast of musicians and dancers to go over all the pieces together. There is also a large technical element to out show where we have set managers, stage managers, etc. work on different things. In the new run, a lot of set pieces, props and technical elements have been added to the show to add to the atmosphere of the evening. Once we rehearse the music and the choreography, we try to take all the set pieces we built and get into the venue because it’s a really big and long process for us and we want to try and make it as 360 as possible so action is coming from every direction for the audience. It’s not just like watching the stage – we have people popping up in different corners and sue every inch of the space. We have to rehearse in the space and run through things multiple times to make sure everything is in smooth, working order.

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Sikara Stylist and Director of AcousticaElectronica, Marissa (on left), rocks her favorite pair of  Sikara earrings. “As a theatre director, creator, performer and Sikara Stylist- my life can get a little hectic. My Italiano Mutli Bubble Capri Earrings are always with me because they instantly add an interesting element to any outfit. They also remind me of the circus, which is not only my life, but my passion!” Marissa poses with AcousticaElectronica cast members at their show in New York City on April 10th.
AcousticaElectronica will be performing at the American Repertory Theater’s OBERON on May 10th at 10:30pm and on May 17th as apart of the Together Festival at 7:30 pm and 10:30pm

– Facebook event here.