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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

Marina Montefusco in RehearsalThe visually stunning and poetic CITÉ brings the paintings of Russian-born New York artist Evsa Model (1900–76) to life for young audiences. While the modern art world might seem a bit inaccessible for little ones, Le Clan des Songes has found a way to stir the imaginations of kids as young as three with captivating visuals and original music inspired by Model's vibrant work.

We wanted to take a second to connect with Le Clan des Songes founder Marina Montefusco over the inspiration behind Cité and the translation of Evsa Model's art into a piece of theater for young audiences. What was her first spark of inspiration for Cité? What, if anything, did she find difficult? What does she love about performing for young audiences? Check out the trailer below, then continue reading for Marina's interview!


What was your initial inspiration behind Cité?  
One day while walking in Paris, I accidentally discovered Evsa Model's painting in the basement of a photo gallery. I observed it for a very long time, intrigued by the mystery it contained and wanting to discover more. I decided to learn more about this forgotten painter!

Why did you think Evsa Model's work might appeal to young audiences?  
Simply, he paints with a child's eyes. He is both poetic and moving at the same time and elicits emotion through colors. And it is very simple for young children to understand his uncluttered style. Because his artwork (and Cité) is visually abstract, it awakens every child's imagination. Often, through their own drawings, they tell us their own story. It is a language they already speak.
 
Projection and Shadow Puppetry from Cité
What were the challenges in adapting visual artwork for the stage? 
There is a movement, a composition, a story in the paintings of Evsa Model. For me it was quite natural to translate it into moving images.

Have you adapted other unusual works for the stage? 
Yes! I have adapted a book, L'Arbre sans Fin by Claude Ponti and the board game Clue into shows as well. 

Why do you create theater for kids as young as three?
Undoubtedly, very young children are my favorite audience. It is easy to connect to them on a perceptive, emotional, and intuitive level. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the name of your company, Le Clan des Songes?  
"Songe" means "waking dream" in French—we are The Clan of Waking Dreams. That's what I wish to offer to the public.
 
 
Be sure to check out CITÉ's Family Activity to re-create the stunning shapes and mesmerizing colors of Evsa Model's artwork as a family. You might have the world's next great painter in your midst!
Posted by Zack Ramadan

In the story of The Pied Piper, the melodies of a mysterious stranger have the ability to hypnotize his listeners, first rats and later children! The hypnotic power of music is not just the stuff of fairy tales, though. As any music-lover can attest, it's easy to get lost in a great song. Our musical tastes may all be different, but we can all agree that there are some songs so delightful, so infectious, that we'd be content to leave them on repeat all day long.


 
So, in honor of The Pied Piper's irresistible tunes, we asked our staff to contribute their favorite earworms. Take a listen below, and learn more about what makes each song so alluring to its adorer!
 

One of my favorite songs to listen to is "Þú Ert Jörðin" (Icelandic for "You are the earth") by Ólafur Arnalds. I'm drawn to this song because it always seems to change its shape depending on what mood or setting I'm in. If I'm stressed, it calms me. If I'm sad, it comforts me. If I'm tired, it lulls me to sleep and if I'm happy, it only adds to my euphoric state. It's truly one of the most beautiful, mesmeric compositions I've ever listened to. – Christopher Ritz-Totten, Public Relations Associate

One song that has had me under its spell for years is "Folkloric Feel" by Apostle of Hustle. It has an usual rhythm that shifts halfway through and a peculiar mix of sounds that make me feel like I'm both marching forward and jumping in place. Even though it's a seven-plus-minute song, I'm always waiting for it to keep going! – Zack Ramadan, Digital Marketing Associate

 

I have a million of these, but the most recent ones that I have on constant replay are "Fool for Love" by Lord Huron and "Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel. They both have an alt-folk feel, with bouncy melodies that I love. – Melinda Berk, Director of New Victory Operations

Tough decision! One song I can listen to repeatedly is "The Last Saskatchewan Pirate" by The Arrogant Worms.  The sea shanty energy gets me moving any time I listen to it, but the bottom line is that I never tire of hearing a farmer-turned-pirate sing about his adventures "stealing wheat and barley and all the other grains." – Kali DiPippo, Assistant Director of Artistic Programming

I love "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." I love how it can go on and on, and I love the message of moving forward gently and being carried, too. – Melissa Kalt, Senior Manager, Individual Giving

I'm such a big music lover that it's very hard to pick just one song that's rested in my head. I spend much of my day humming one song or another to myself. Carly Simon's "Legend in Your Own Time" is one that often ends up at the fringes of my brain, and then there's always Janis Joplin's version of "Bobby McGee".  In my head, I hear my voice singing these songs flawlessly, even though in real life, I'm usually quite off key! – Alice Arias, Controller

There is something about the pacing of "Angel from Montgomery" by Bonnie Raitt that sets a new rhythm for my breathing. When I am not feeling all that peppy, it feels almost meditative. – Lindsey Buller Maliekel, Director of Education / Public Engagement

I've been really into this band called Hiatus Kaiyote lately. I'm really into jazz-inspired music, and "Nakamarra" by Haitus Kaiyote is my favorite song of theirs. It has a great mix of jazzy, soulful, smooth vocals by the lead female singer and a nice constant upbeat rhythm by the drums and bass guitar. – Tionge Johnson, Spring 2016 Development Apprentice

I'm a huge Kylie Minogue fan. "Get Outta My Way" became my hypnotic earworm because, when I really need to get my art focus on, I find myself listening to the same song on repeat. It helps me focus! And this song just blends into hours of focusing. – Katie Diamond, Marketing & Design Associate

Oh my gosh! "Rhythm Divine" by Enrique Iglesias never gets old. The music itself is transcending—listening to it, I can picture myself dancing in an open air café lit by twinkling lights by the ocean! – Rhesa Richards, Assistant to the Executive VP and VP, Operations

 


 

So what song puts a spell on you? Let us know in the comments below, and don't miss Milan's famed Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company's THE PIED PIPER, at the New Vic through May 15.
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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