AtticRep uses dance and video to explore a girl’s life
The newest original work created by AtticRep, titled “14,” started percolating on playgrounds several years ago as Roberto Prestigiacomo watched his daughter play.
“She was playing with kids she met for the first time, and watching her play, and (seeing) the facility of kids to be together, I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something with this,’” said Prestigiacomo, the company’s producing artistic director. “So the universe we are going to create is a visual, metaphorical playground.”
The work set in that universe, which premieres Thursday, follows a girl named Maia (Corie Altaffer) through the first 14 years of her life.
Prestigiacomo, who wrote the script and is directing, described “14” as a fairy tale that takes its structure from Joseph Campbell’s writings about the hero’s journey.
“There will be some scary moments, but at the end, it’s a celebration of life,” he said. “It’s about the beauty of what life should be.”
The piece also is designed to reflect the fact that children born after 9-11 are growing up in a very different world than the one their parents experienced as kids. To that end, it opens with a re-creation of the terror attacks. In it, the New York City skyline consists of towers of books, which are knocked down.
“That’s our prologue,” Prestigiacomo said.
Much of the story is driven by dance, courtesy of aerial choreographers Julia Langenberg and Elise Sipos, who run Aerial Horizon, and modern dance choreographer Seme Jatib. Jatib also worked on the company’s last original work, “From the Mahabarrata,” which debuted last June.
Working with a creative team, Jatib said, “is like a puzzle.”
“You’re afraid that your piece is not going to be the perfect size, the shape, to insert into the work,” she said.
Even so, she has enjoyed the process: “It’s a wonderful opportunity to open my spectrum of artistic collaboration.”
The creative team also includes Stefano Di Buduo, a European multimedia artist who is creating film segments and elaborate video projections. He is the son of Pino Di Buduo, founder of the international theater troupe Teatro Potlach, which presented a version of its “Invisible Cities” project at Trinity University in September.
The younger Di Buduo’s involvement — as well as that of Jatib, who was born in Mexico, and Ecuadorean dancer Mireya Guerra and Austrian Mike Maria, who are part of the cast — is part of Prestigiacomo’s push to strengthen AtticRep’s growing international connections.
When: Opens Thursday. 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. Sundays through June 19.
Where: Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle.
Tickets: $18 to $28 at the box office, by calling 210-223-8624 or online at tobi.tobincenter.org.
“The idea is to bring these people to work with us to enrich each other,” he said. “For me, what was important was to start to bring to the company different blood, other people that would add artistically to the company.”
Traveling to other countries and collaborating with artists from around the globe “is important,” said Stefano Di Buduo, who does precisely that with his multimedia company, Aesop Studio. He and his partners have worked on projects in Argentina, Brazil, Denmark and Iran, among other places.
“Whenever you come back from a journey, you don’t leave the culture there. You take a little bit of that with you. It opens your mind, opens your mindset,” he said. “For me, professionally but also personally, it has been important to see other countries, works of other people, and share it, exchange it. So now I’m in San Antonio, and I already love it.”
Folding in a variety of storytelling approaches “in a way, encapsulates what AtticRep has been doing and what we have been offering to San Antonio,” Prestigiacomo said. “It’s going to be exciting.”