‘A Trip to the Moon’ at Synetic Theater by Jane Coyne

It was an evening of pure and light-hearted fun in Crystal City last night as Synetic Theater presented its latest offering, A Trip to the Moon. The show combines George Méliès’ 1902 film Le Voyage with two other stories about space travel; The Tale of a Bamboo Cutter, a 10th Century Japanese folk tale; and Laika the Space Dog, a fictionalized telling of the story of Laika, the first animal to orbit the earth.

Colin Analco and Katrina Clark in “A Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” Photo by Johnny Shryock.

Without question, the star of the production is the amazingly talented Natsu Onoda Power, the show’s director, writer, and illustrator. Her highly innovative and creative visual effects represent a perfect fit for Synetic’s equally creative and innovative physical theater. From the animated opening credits, which featured cartoon-like characters including a violinist, a percussionist, and an exact likeness of the talented composer Konstantine Lortkipanidze, who is physically and visually present playing keyboards throughout the performance. Natsu Onoda Power’s visual effects are simply stunning, and her creativity clearly kept an approving audience engaged all night long.

Pasquale Guiducci, Ben Arden, and Victoria Bertocci in ‘A Trip to the Moon.’ Projection Design by Jared Mezzocchi. Photo by Johnny Shryock.

Kendra Rai did a fine job creating brightly colored costumes that provided a vibrant contrast to the black and white Méliès film and the illustrations created by Natsu Onoda Power that were the backdrop for the production, while Irina Tsikurishvili’s always-amazing choreography, particularly in moments that involved live movement synchronized to and a part of movement and visuals appearing on screen, was truly fascinating.

The storyline of A Trip to the Moon was sometimes disjointed and a bit difficult to follow. While there was clearly a theme involved in the production, it was actually a lot of fun just watching the constantly evolving and surprising visual effects intertwine with the physical movement of the talented ensemble cast … so much so that in retrospect this writer reflects on the production more in terms of highly creative screen shots combined with live choreography and music that could not have been more entertaining. and visually stunning!

Kudos to the talented and high-energy Ensemble: Colin Analco (Bamboo Cutter), Ben Arden (Astronomer, King of the Moon Dogs), Victoria Bertocci (Astronomer, Singing Suitor),  Katrina Clark (Moon Princess), Zana Gankhuyag (President Barbenfouillis), Pasquale Guiducci (Astronomer, Pole Dancing Suitor), Francesca Jandasek (Laika’s Mother), Karen O’Connell (Laika), and Renata Veberyte Loman (Selenite King).

Karen O’Connell as Laika in ‘Laika the Space Dog.’ Photo by Johnny Shryock.

Running Time: Approximately  90 minutes, with no intermission.

A Trip to the Moon plays through January 6, 2013 at Synetic Theater – 1800 S. Bell Street, in Arlington, Virginia. The theater is easily accessible directly from the Crystal City Metro stop. For tickets, purchase them online, or call (800) 494-8497.


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