Streaming Opera and Media: “Secondary Dominance” at PROTOTYPE

Streaming Opera and Media: “Secondary Dominance” at PROTOTYPE

PROTOTYPE captures the opera lover’s attention again this year, with offerings that include Mata Hari, Anatomy Theater, and Rev. 23, a Work-in-Progress Concert.

Produced by The Delirium Constructions, Secondary Dominance stands out as a perfect synthesis of opera and media.  Combining tribal and post-modern influences, Sarah Small holds court and doesn’t lose heart.  The creator, composer, and writer of this Multi-Media Concert is a petit- powerhouse, incorporating folk and art rock.  A RISD alum, her consciousness includes photography and sculpture.  A Grammy nominated artist, Small takes her music to the next level with video by Black Sea Hotel.  It’s more than a spirit journey.

An ambitious endeavor, Secondary Dominance succeeds in executing its astonishing creative vision.  With live drums, cello, flute, and astonishing a cappella singing, the music is a pleasant Baltic innovation.  Textured costumes accentuate the grace and glamour of the sounds.  Not short on sensuality, Directors Wade McCollum and Sarah Small have taken great strides to keep each moment intricate.

The technique is mixed with surprise in Secondary Dominance. While ballet dancers glide across the stage, the real center of attention is Sarah Small, an engaging performer effortlessly coordinating art forms, taking every advantage to stay recognized and command attention.

Secondary Dominance. Photo credit by Paula Court

Practiced detachment and gracious motion are both regarded.  Images from a Tableau Vivant flow effortlessly.  Held images leave an impression.  A rare moment occurs when a male figure (in the doorway, like a sculpture) comes alive in the middle of the piece.  The people are like portraits (with live and pre-recorded video).  This piece forces you to ask which gesture inspires the next?

A wall behind the actors fills with color and moving video, maintaining the interest of even the most exhausted festival attendee.  While some more interactive works on the festival circuit seem cheap, Secondary Dominance is a stand-out.  More than a nature study, this opera doesn’t flinch from exploring the challenges of the human spirit.  The performers are mighty and inspiring.  With no real dialogue or text in English, so much is seen and heard.

The last moment, speaking to the need for human connection, gives every impression of the risk to be taken, and the heartache felt when letting go.



This post was written by the author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

About The Author

Marcina Zaccaria

editor - Theatre and Opera

Marcina Zaccaria is a writer, director, and arts administrator.  She is published in the New Crit section of Howl Round, and her clips can be found on Twitter.  She has written monologues, published in “InterJACtions:  Monologues from the Heart of Human Nature (Vol. II),” available on Amazon. She has directed readings and plays in venues that include New Dramatists, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, Soho Rep, Dance Theater Workshop, TheaterLab, and the Ohio Theater.  She curated a Salon at Dixon Place.  This one day event featured visual artists, spoken word artists, dancers, filmmakers, and theater artists. Marcina is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, and is a reader for the New York Musical Festival.  Arts administration experience includes providing support for the Executive Director/ Contemporary Programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.  She has worked in ticket sales at the Roundabout Theatre Company and Manhattan Theater Club.  She has an MFA from Columbia University.


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