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Blake’s Book of Thel comes alive in enthralling theatre performance

January 10, 2014 - 3:54 PM

The haunting beauty and lyricism of William Blake’s poetry classic The Book of Thel is reaching new audiences as a stage performance, soon coming to Kelowna.

In a production by UBC Okanagan’s Theatre26 and the Faculty of Creative and Critical studies, Vancouver Island designer, performer and director Cléa Minaker breathes new life into Blake’s existential masterwork. Her collaborative performance takes place Friday and Saturday, January 17 and 18, 8 p.m. at the Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave, Kelowna. Admission at the door is $15 for students, $20 for non-students.

The Book of Thel is an original theatrical creation in experimental light-and-shadow puppetry created and performed by Minaker and her collaborators, an adaptation of the poem first published in Britain in 1789 by the enigmatic and visionary Blake.

“I discovered that it’s not easy to make drama out of poetry,” Minaker told Robyn Fadden of Blouin Artinfo, in an interview. “But puppetry does lend itself to that. With poetry and puppetry, one has to project oneself into sensation and metaphor and allusion — it’s not a straight line to meaning.”

As both performance and art installation, The Book of Thel, evokes the terror and beauty
of the sublime. The audience is taken on a mesmerizing journey to meet Thel, a young girl in grips with life’s great paradox. She despairingly asks the question, “Why live if only to die?”

Minaker’s work brings the language of contemporary puppetry to creations in theatre, opera, dance, video, film, and live music. In 2007 and 2008 she toured internationally with Juno-award-winning singer-songwriter Feist, on the The Reminder Tour, creating and performing shadow puppetry and video manipulations. Minaker was awarded the Siminovitch Protégé Prize for theatre design by celebrated Canadian puppeteer Ronnie Burkett in 2009.

She also joined forces with filmmaker Atom Egoyan, designing and performing a shadow puppetry sequence for the Dance of Seven Veils in the 2013 re-mount of Egoyan's production of Salome by Richard Strauss at the Canadian Opera Company.

Read Cléa Minaker’s complete interview about performing The Book of Thel on Blouin Artinfo at:

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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