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Arts & Culture

Multi-Media Spectacle Inside Stony Creek Quarry

"It feels like you're walking on a lunar landscape, or Mars."
Istvan B'Racz

A multi-media spectacle of light, music, theater and dance begins performances next week inside the Stony Creek quarry along Connecticut’s shoreline. 

It's called "Terra Tractus: The Earth Moves," and is part of a project that began 20 years ago -- events that take place in natural settings, fusing art and science to deepen our appreciation of the natural world.

WNPR’s Diane Orson spoke with three people involved in the project: Lighting designer and production manager Jamie Burnett, performer Josh Nilaya, and composer Istvan B’Racz.

"When you walk in there, it's quite an experience," B'Racz said. "It feels like you’re walking on a lunar landscape, or Mars. It’s a very, very different environment than what you would expect on Earth. Part of the mystery is the lighting that Jamie gives, and the aura of the sounds in the quarry -- just human sounds interacting in the quarry are very interesting, because it's quite reverberant, and giant. Then the sounds that I have going on -- these ambient sounds going on, back painting, or wall paintings -- are essentially recordings that I made of quarry sounds: animals in the quarry; lots of frogs."

"When you sit down, at first, the sun is setting," B'Racz said. "Then it gets dark, and then the show starts. It's an hour long of real magical sound sights, laser projections, dancers, rock climbers, and some poetry as well. Not much, because we kind of limit our language."

"It’s a flowing and an ebbing of geological history," Burnett said.

Nilaya said, "I’ll be climbing the sides of the quarry. It's one particular performance aspect of this show. I would imagine that if past shows are any indicator, I’ll be probably dressed up in some sort of black latex suit with lights built into it."

"Hopefully," Burnett said, "it’ll instill a sense of wonder and awe and stewardship of the natural world."

For more information, visit the Eventbrite page for "Terra Tractus: The Earth Moves," which requires special arrangements for transportation and seating.

Diane Orson is a special correspondent with Connecticut Public. She is a longtime reporter and contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories have been heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now. Diane spent seven years as CT Public Radio's local host for Morning Edition.

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