Magazine article American Theatre

The Phantom of the Opera: Vox Lumiere

Magazine article American Theatre

The Phantom of the Opera: Vox Lumiere

Article excerpt

What happens when you combine live theatre, music and silent film? You get a Vox Lumiere production. The Los Angeles-based theatre company recently used The Phantom of the Opera as its inspiration--not The Broadway production, but the 1925 Lon Chaney film--pairing it with a steampunk aesthetic and a Contemporary score from Kevin Saunders Hayes.

Kevin Saunders Hayes, DIRECTION AND MUSIC: The concept was to take the two-dimensional world of the film and marry that with the live three-dimensional world, so the onscreen actors and the three dimensional "real" actors could interact with each other. We don't want to mimic what's going on the screen, so what can we do to enhance the story?

In the silent movie, you see a performance of the opera singer Carlotta singing a famous aria; at the end, the Phantom drops the chandelier on her because he's very unhappy that she's performing instead of Christine. I wrote an aria so when the woman [in the film] opens her mouth, our Carlotta [pictured above] is singing a completely different composition. Vox Lumiere means "voices of light," so when our performers are voicing what this woman is doing on the screen, you're getting the essence of Vox Lumiere. And unlike the Broadway show, we don't have a chandelier that we can drop on people--so we just go to a blackout. But with the film running, it really looks like the chandelier is falling on her, so it's really cool.

SharellMartin, COSTUME DESIGN: The steampunk reference evokes fantasy and the unusual, combined with the reality of the past. …

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