Raphaëlle Boitel’s “When Angels Fall” makes its U.S. debut at Peak Performances on Feb. 9, and will run through Feb. 17. The piece, Peak Performances writes, is “a tragicomic vision of a mechanized world stripped of nature, an environmentally depleted future that holds a mirror to the precariousness of our present. Pushing the boundaries of her circus training as a contortionist and aerialist, Boitel and her company of collaborators Cie L’Oublié(e) layer jaw-dropping acrobatics, an interactive set, chiaroscuro-style lighting, and original music into a breathtaking cinematographic universe.
In “When Angels Fall,” all things organic have been replaced by machines, and humans’ very existence depends on making themselves passive, conformist cogs in a massive engine controlled by hidden manipulators who watch from above. From among the survivors — depicted as fallen angels — a heroic figure rises to resist their power and bring fresh hope to humanity.
On Feb. 12 and 13, Boitel and other artists and aerial technicians will lead physical theater masterclasses that immerse participants into the dreamlike world the company has created. The classes will be based around improvisational exercises created by Boitel, within the “When Angels Fall” environment: they will happen onstage, and will include the set, performers, and technical elements (including lighting and music) of the show. The Feb.12 floor-based workshop will open to the public, with no experience or background in movement or theater necessary. The Feb. 13 aerial workshop will be held exclusively for faculty-selected MSU Dance and Theater students.
Performances are at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, 1 Normal Ave. For tickets, visit peakperfs.org, or call 973-655-5112.