When a friend asked if I wanted to see a 1926 animated German film accompanied by a live original score, my first thought was "um, I'm busy that month." But I'm a come-with kind of girl. And I'm glad I did. The event, presented by the Constellation Theatre Company at the Source theater on 14th Street in Washington, opened tonight and runs for two more nights. Tickets are $20, or $13.50 (with service charge) via Goldstar. The visuals are remarkably inventive, and it's simply astounding that the musical accompaniment is being played by one man -- Tom Teasley -- who didn't seem to take a breath for more than an hour while playing his improvisational eastern-influenced jazz score. Here's how Constellation describes it:
German visionary artist Lotte Reiniger, using a silhouette technique inspired by shadow puppetry, created The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the oldest surviving animation feature film. The narrative is based on stories from The Arabian Nights. A wicked sorcerer tricks Prince Achmed into riding a magical flying horse, which he uses to embark on many adventures. While travelling, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Peri Banu, and must defeat an army of demons to win her heart.
Helen Hayes Award Winner Tom Teasley’s innovative world music score is based upon his collaborations with indigenous musicians in Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the West Bank and Jerusalem during his work as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. State Department. Teasley has been an artist-in-residence at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has collaborated with the National Symphony as both a soloist and composer. He will play live in Constellation’s upcoming production of Metamorphoses in May.
Image from goldstar.com.