Book of Mountain and Seas: Arts Emerson Brings Boston on A Trip

Book of Mountain and Seas: Arts Emerson Brings Boston on A Trip

I have never left a show feeling in such an altered state and I didn’t even have a cocktail before it. Book of Mountain and Seas is a choral and puppetry performance that seeps right into you. The show is best broken down into three parts to explain it but you will experience it as a whole.

Arts Emerson presents Book of Mountain and Seas Credit: Teddy Wolff

Slowing time is either wonderful or painful depending on your state of mind. If you are in the right state of mind, then you will go on an out of body trip just with the sound of Book of Mountains and Seas. Ars Nova Copenhagen brings choral music that are like sounds you might experience in an altered state out in nature. A sort of contemporary Gregorian chant which creates vibrations that travel deep inside you. It was a sonic vibration that loosened my body and mind so much that I left the theatre in the same relaxed state that meditation or restorative yoga might elicit.

I have always loved an origin story. From the Russian fairy tales I used to read to the (yes I know so problematic) Rudyard Kipling Just So Stories to, Greek, Egyptian and aboriginal mythology. The best part of origin stories is seeing how each culture or group of humans explains the same thing in a multitude of ways. Book of Mountain and Seas is a Chinese tale of the primordial egg and the Daoist duality if yun and yang inherent in the new cosmos.

Arts Emerson presents Book of Mountain and Seas Credit: Teddy Wolff

The show is layered into four scenes beginning with the legend of Pan Gu, earth’s birth from a cosmic egg, through Kua Fu, an earthly giant chasing the sun. Each scene is overflowing with sound and imagery. It is a slow and steady progression that, if you are in the right mindset, and willing to give yourself up to the slow cyclical puppetry you reach a rare state of bliss and relaxation.

Arts Emerson presents Book of Mountain and Seas Credit: Teddy Wolff

The way the puppets move is fascinating and at first you are thinking about how the puppet is connected to its other parts and the people moving it. After a few minutes though, all that fades away and just the puppet seems to come alive.

The Book of Mountain and Seas is a 75 minute otherworldly journey by award-winning composer Huang Ruo and MacArthur Fellow puppeteer/artist Basil Twist that tells the story of this world we live in. Basil Twist is a third-generation puppeteer and object theater artist, renowned globally for his adaptations of opera, dance, and theater. Chinese-born American composer Huang Ruo was formerly Composer in Residence at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Arts Emerson presents Book of Mountain and Seas Credit: Teddy Wolff

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