Zen Arts' 2017 in Review
When the Lights Go Out
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
It’s what happens inside our dreams, between the sheets, and the secrets that we keep….
When the Lights Go Out is an immersive theatrical experience with elements of cabaret and acrobatics. The audience is center stage and the production unravels around it. Kerrilee Gore, the creator of the show, lovingly curated each moment she put before the audience. This show was Gore’s passion project that she meticulously pieced together out of years of daydreams. Listening to music that inspired her, she conceptualized each dark vignette and all the quirky, seductive characters roaming within it. Together with an amazing team, she was able to bring character and concept to life.
Doug Miller, the creative director of Zen Arts, helped produce the show by aiding in costuming and bringing on esteemed choreographers Jason & Valeree Young from Eight & One Productions to choreograph and direct. The Youngs have danced and toured with artists such as Madonna and Ricki Martin and were able to add a very contemporary and edgy feel to the overall piece. Jennifer Evelyn Smithwick, one of the show’s talented actresses, also assisted in production for the Santa Barbara run.
Designed five years ago, this October was the show’s third incarnation and it drew a Santa Barbara audience that was as enthusiastic to interact with the performers as the performers were to dance, touch and pull them into their own twisted world. As an immersive theater piece comparable to a Sleep No More production, the audience was wholly integrated into every part of the performance.
Featuring choreographed dance acts, aerial acts, narrative sequences amongst other avant-garde vignettes, the show expressed itself in multiple dimensions. The production was intimate, always happening at about arm’s length away. Dark and oftentimes voyeuristic, the audience is catching a glimpse of a secret moment that they probably shouldn’t have.
The soundtrack to the production was a sombre mix of nineties synthpop tracks that transported the audience into a reflective, ominous and sometimes alluringly uneasy space.