“Having ideas that are imaginative but not practical or likely to succeed.” This is how the word “quixotic” is defined by the Cambridge dictionary. In comparison, the performance group Quixotic believes its success is a result of the collective’s ability to create concepts for productions without regard of the possibility of failure.
The group is an ensemble of musicians, dancers, aerialists, composers, designers, motion graphic artists, and choreographers producing an original theater experience. Esoterra is Quixotic’s premier work of 2008. Through an abstract view, the company explored the transformation of a seed developing into a new world of life.
The creative process for Esoterra started with a core group of artists from multiple backgrounds. The artistic directors challenged the group to create a show that was steeped in visual layers of integrated performance of different disciplines. The team collectively shaped the show through rehearsals and technical explorations.
Aerialists emerging from silks were to define blossoms intertwined with dancers of the same objective. At times, a violinist from the band becomes a prominent character expressing a part of the story through music. Projections become an interactive environment for the performers. The scenic layout accommodates these role shifts in the visual context of the show by using layers of scrim and portable projection surfaces. In conjunction with the scenic layers of depth, both the stage and aerial pick points were extended into the house creating a more intimate environment.
Beginning with the initial ideas of the show, the lighting is its own character. As the show evolves, ideas grow intertwined with the lighting design. The lighting designer is also one of the directors of the project. This creates cohesion with the performance elements from the start.
Quixotic’s performances are an interesting mix of a narrative told through movement and a live concert. To successfully convey the unique energy of every show, creative freedom is given to performers to shape their performance. Lighting and projection operators who can adapt to the energy of the stage are integral to this philosophy. Both areas utilize the advantages of a prerecorded cue stack and effects added live. On the projection side, filmed and rendered content is mixed with live camera in Livid Union software.
For Esoterra, properties were created that allowed performers to manipulate the key source of light. These props redefined the visual context of a scene. One example of this is the glowing ball of light (pictured), representing the energy of new life in a vast space. It projected its own intrinsic pattern from its contorted translucent layers onto the scrim and throughout the house. The light source became an extension of the performer’s expression as this new life.
Visually stimulating elements were unified by the use of layers on stage. This is similar to the many disciplines that came together in Esoterra. Quixotic is a crossroads of art forms, each stunning in their own right. They overlap to create a flowing dialogue, expressing the natural beauty of collaboration.