Amaluna – so named as an homage to mothers (ama) and the moon (luna) – was stage produced by Diane Paulus, Harvard professor of drama, artistic director at Boston’s American Repertory Theatre and the Tony-winning director of the Broadway show Hair. It’s appropriate that such powerful female figure be at the helm of this production, because this show is all about the ladies.
Over 70 percent of the performers in Amaluna are women. “Amaluna isn’t so much a show about feminism than an opportunity to re-engage with our world in a whole new way,” says Paulus. The band onstage is entirely female, and the story – performed with typical Cirque wonder and whimsy, filled with acrobatics and extraordinary feats of human contortion – is poetically femme-powering.
The setting is a mysterious island governed by goddesses (aren’t they all?) where the moon is at the root of all decisions. In order to celebrate her daughter’s passage into womanhood, the queen, Prospera, throws a big party to honour femininity, renewal and balance. The good times turn dramatic, though, when Prospera’s mood provokes a huge thunderstorm. Thrown off their route, a group of young men land on the island and before you know it, the young daughter gets swept off her feet by the handsomest of them all. The ensuing story is properly operatic.
It’s no coincidence, of course: Paulus has got lots of opera productions under her belt, including The Magic Flute, Il mondo della luna, Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro and Turn Of The Screw. Paulus has had a leading role in creating the Emerging America theater festival, and has propelled Boston up the ladder of great American theater cities with productions full of edgy thrills and musical innovation. Now we’re lucky enough to get a taste of that talent.
Amaluna, April 19 to June 15, 2012
Isa Tousignant is contributing editor for Canadian Art, Montreal correspondent for Akimbo, and a freelance writer on art, culture, travel, design and shoes for everyone from enRoute to Canadian Business to herself.