Following the success of his 2010 poignant depiction of what constitutes a family, “[The Cinderella Principle: try these on, see if they fit,]” choreographer Robert Moses became inspired to investigate the ways cultural myths and fairy tales inspire imagination and underpin our core values.
Today at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Novellus Theater, Robert Moses’ Kin premieres “Fable and Faith,” a multimedia performance including the San Francisco Boys’ Chorus, playwright Anne Galjour and lighting designer Elaine Buchholtz.
“Fable and Faith” mines material that is more personal and introspective than his previous body of work on contemporary social issues. As a father of two young children, Moses necessarily had the subject on his radar.
“[Parenthood] has focused my thinking in areas that I hadn’t been focusing on before,” he says. “Reading these fables or fairy tales you discover the bottom line about the character of a particular creature or a human being,” he says.
“The stories become like a scale by which we weigh moral decisions that [help us] stay balanced against trials and tribulations.”
Once again, Moses engages Galjour, who provides a text that is both spoken and projected on the proscenium, floor and even the dancers’ bodies as part of the lighting design.
Galjour, who began her career as a children’s storyteller, shares Moses’ passion for the power of fable: “Cultural tales and legends represent the ideal, and maybe the divine, because their images and symbols speak to the soul.”
Appearing onstage with the dancers will be members of the San Francisco Boys’ Chorus performing the “Lacrymosa” from Mozart’s Requiem, along with songs from Shakespeare plays set to music by contemporary composer Matthew Harris.
SFBC director Ian Robertson welcomed the collaborative opportunity for the chorus. “I wanted to expand our efforts in a much more broad artistic way,” he says.
It was Robertson’s idea to have the boys sing the “Lacrymosa.” “It is such a monument to choral writing — there’s every reason to believe that it was sung by boys in the original,” he says. “Fables have to do as much with weeping as with laughing and life seen through the eyes of younger children.”
Paul Carbonara, composer and former lead guitarist for Blondie, designed an additional airy and gentle score to allow the dancers, as Moses says, “to kind of exist in the space between the notes.”
If we look between those notes, we just might see tiny Thumbelina, the Pied Piper and maybe even a wolf or two.
Where: Novellus Theatre, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Howard St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. today through Sunday
Tickets: $25 to $35
Contact: (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org/tickets