Dallas — Walking into the big Green Warehouse beyond the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge in Trinity Groves, I was not sure what to expect from a theatrical piece described as a “one-of-a-kind wordless movement show that uses paper, aerial silks, and weight-sharing to explore the story of an artist who is attempting to create the perfect girl as his one true love.” The show is Galatea, created by Prism Co. and presented under the umbrella of SiHK Brothers.
Inside, several installations by local artists (an extended pop-up exhibit presented by Haley-Henman Contemporary Art) populate the edges of the space while a circular tent-like structure made of wooden flats and paper dominates the center. The sheets of used paper (donated by area theaters) are strewn about as pathways through the building and the electrified sounds of music playing inside that closed-off central space only added to the sense of excitement for things to begin. Once the audience is allowed in and we find our seats, it is time for the magic to begin.
Jeff Colangelo and Katy Tye conceived Galatea and they also perform in the play and choreograph the fights and silks respectively. The plot loosely follows the Galatea or Pygmalion myth popularly retold by Ovid in Metamorphoses. An artist (Dean Wray) labors over the creation of a woman through his sketches. Tye is this “perfect girl,” and after he animates her, the artist’s other creations: The Flower Girl (Kelsey Rhor), The Clowns (Hope Endrenyi and Colangelo), The Eagle (Josh Porter), The Ice Queen (Camille Cucjen), and The Perfect Man (Ricco Fajardo) serve to instruct her into the ways of humanity. Kristen Lee and Gabi Stilwell act as the artist’s Hands.
Without giving too much away, the story unfolds in delightful, surprising, and fantastical ways (Trigg Watson as Galatea’s magic consultant provides the play with a myriad of ah-inducing moments). They delve into weighty yet entertaining themes of the artist as creator and destroyer, desperate love, the aesthetic of the whimsical, and many riffs on capital “A” Art.
The seamless integration of the design elements of visual art (graphic design by Adam A. Anderson), body movement (those beautiful and thrilling aerial silks!) along with some impressive nonverbal acting chops from the whole ensemble—not to mention original music by Fabricio CF, who uses an amplified acoustic guitar and violin on a looper to fashion the soundscape—is something to behold. And wait until you see the climactic scenes with paper flying everywhere.
It is readily apparent why Prism Co. received thunderous acclaim when they mounted the production last year in Southern Methodist University’s Greer Garson Theatre. Dallas is fortunate that it can support a piece of theatrical art that is more than “just a show” and we get to see it again. Yes, there is enchantment in that green building—one just has to open the eyes to find it.