“Part museum, part haunted house, part workshop, and unlike anything you’ve ever seen, this immersive performance empowers the guests to curate their own experience.” – Cleveland Public Theatre
“I don’t want to tell people what they should experience, and I feel the art should speak for itself,” says director and creator Raymond Bobgan. He’s referring to the unique production called THE CANDLELIGHT HYPOTHESIS WORKSHOP that he and his team have created at Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), which runs May 11 – 21, 2022.
CPT is billing this event as a sensory-rich “exhibition” that weaves together threads of a “mythical world where origami may come to life, moths can journey to a star, and the candle flame may be a doorway to a magical realm.”
When asked about what the inspirations are for such a wide variety of experiences in this show (like a museum, haunted house, the multi-media), Bobgan says, “This is just a way of talking about the piece to try to explain it to audiences… the piece was not intended to be one of these things. So, it was more of where the work led us than the ‘planned landing,’ if that makes sense.”
He goes on to explain, “My work is currently revolving around our seemingly genetic predisposition to yearn for something larger, and greater; and, I am interested in how the imagination and creativity play into the experience of the divine (and I use this term most broadly). As Ibn Al Arabi says (and I am oversimplifying and not quoting here) “math and logic navigate the physical world, but creativity navigates the divine.” I think this work explores and interrogates that. Is this wishful thinking? Is this part of the authentic human experience? Is this a window into self-deception, or a path to experience life in a more rich and deep way?”
Guests will encounter the piece in many ways, and on many levels. The interactive performance is so layered and multi-faceted, that guests may exit after one cycle or stay through until the very end, or even choose to move through all cycles multiple times.
“I think in the past my favorite moments are; actually, when I sense or see an audience member who connects to my work in a particular way. To feel truly seen for a moment—to feel like a complex thought/emotion that you share—is shared by someone else, this is an incredible experience. It makes all the challenges of being an artist worth it,” says Bobgan.
As an added layer of interest, a large part of the production is made up of graduates from the Cleveland State University (CSU) Department of of Theatre and Dance Theatre program. Program Chair and CSU Associate Professor Holly Holsinger is also involved in the show as a costume designer.
“I was one of the ensemble members developing this piece before the [COVID-19] shutdown, so I have a deep understanding of the piece. I was glad to participate in the way that I could right now. I am a secret (and sometimes not so secret) costume designer. It’s something I enjoy,” says Holsinger about her part.
She notes that this is just one way in which Theatre grads get a leg up in the real-world of this industry. “CSU alums get to work in a professional setting. This particular production allows alums to explore skills they learned with me in Movement class and DAME (Dramatic Arts Movement Ensemble), and participate in a full length devised experience.” CPT is just one of the many locally connected theaters that gives these CSU grads professional exposure, and the opportunity to develop their craft as they work alongside their peers in the arts community.
What will you discover at CPH in THE CANDLELIGHT HYPOTHESIS WORKSHOP? Guests are welcomed into the space (the James Levin Theatre at CPT) in small groups at regular intervals from 7:00 and 8:30pm (3:00 and 4:30pm on Sunday). The cycle of performance unfolds multiple times each night.
TICKET and SHOW INFORMATION
THE CANDLELIGHT HYPOTHESIS WORKSHOP (May 11 – May 21, 2022) performance slots begin at 7:00pm, Wed/Thu/Fri/Sat/Mon and 3:00pm Sun May 15, in CPT’s James Levin Theatre, located at 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102, in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District. Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols.
EVERY TICKET is “Choose What You Pay” and will be offered online, over the phone, and at the Box Office.
PURCHASE TICKETS at www.cptonline.org or call the CPT Box Office at 216.631.2727 ext. 501. Reserve early! CPT never charges any ticket fees, ever.
CAST and CREW
Featuring: Principal Ensemble – Daniel McKinnon, Julia Miller, Martinique Mims, Anna Popa, Corin B. Self, Anastasía Urozhaeva*, Eric Wloszek*
Second Wave Ensemble: Hosea Billingsley*, Alexa Fatheringham*, Jordan Ficyk*, Joseph Milan, Zyrece Montgomery, Brooke Myers*, Kalindi Stockton
Special Hosts: Alisha Caraballo, Denis Griesmer, Nanna Ingvarsson, Patricia A. Leebove, Colleen McCaughey, Lynna Metrisin, Amanda Nyx, Ahlem Zaaeed
THE CREATIVE PRODUCTION TEAM
Creator, Director & Design Collaborator – Raymond Bobgan
Stage Manager – Angela Warholic*
Light Designer & Design Collaborator – Benjamin Gantose
Design Collaborator – Anastasía Urozhaeva*
Costume Designer – Holly Holsinger*
Additional text contributors: Faye Hargate, Holly Holsinger*, Kat Shy*, Eric Wloszek*, Anastasía Urozhaeva*
* Designates CSU affiliation
Disclosure: Author Kate Klotzbach is an employee of the CSU Department of Theatre and Dance