Cutting Ball Theater presents Utopia, a virtual world premiere by Charles L. Mee, in collaboration with RAWdance and Creativity Explored
Utopia was a new play from Obie Award-winning playwright and sculpting pioneer of American experimental theater Charles L. Mee. Commissioned by Cutting Ball Theater and directed by Ariel Craft with Maya Herbsman, Utopia transformed the simplest moments of a mundane day into a surreal and colorful ride through fantasy, self-expression, connection, and community.
Dance, theater, and animation harmonize in this genre-defying dreamscape that audiences streamed from home. In the thick of the pandemic and wildfires in California, RAWdance Co-Artistic Director Katerina Wong choreographed virtually with artistic collaboration and performance by the dancers of RAWdance. In times of extreme constraint and turmoil, the process of choreographing for Utopia offered an outlet to build community, ask important questions, and envision new worlds. Utopia brought audiences from their homes into Mee’s spectacular world reminding us that life will always go on.
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Press & Accolades
True to their moniker, their movement feels both raw and limitless…Ultimately, it’s the dance sequences…that moved me beyond mere appreciation of Cutting Ball’s fanciful vision. As I watched the dancers’ bodies inhabiting the scraps of nature left in the city…I felt a desire to be near them in person. I felt a yearning and a sense of loss for what might have been and what yet might be. And perhaps an envy at the way the dancers seemed so free and unconfined.Nicole Gluckstern, KQED
…the feeling in this piece — a collaboration with RAWdance (dance sequences) and Creativity Explored (animations) — is not one of limitation or substitution. It’s one of loosening, lightness and liberation….an extraordinary document of what artists can achieve under lockdown — how far their imaginations can leap, how fervently they can say “yes” to a choice, how richly they can execute.Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle
Wong’s choreography echoes the delight and whimsy of the first section of the play with the cast of actors. But she literally and metaphorically puts the ideas in motion – to keep going, to persist, to find humor and delight and look outside ourselves.Jill Randall, Life as a Modern Dancer Blog