A visually stunning movie. A moving orchestral performance. A touching story narrated live by an acclaimed actress. Each would be a fun activity in its own right, but combine them all into one free, multimedia performance at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and you have a singular not-to-be-missed opportunity.
It all happens April 10, opening night of UCF Celebrates the Arts 2015, as science, art and music mesh in a performance of “Icarus at the Edge of Time,” a work featuring live narration by actress Kate Mulgrew and music performed by the UCF Symphony Orchestra.
“Icarus at the Edge of Time” has been performed around the globe at arts and music festivals, concert halls and museums, with live narration by world-renowned artists including John Lithgow, Liev Schreiber and LeVar Burton. The story is a captivating tale set in outer space about a boy who challenges the awesome might of a black hole and journeys to the very edge of understanding. Based on the children’s book by physicist Brian Greene, the futuristic re-imagining of the classic Icarus myth takes audiences of all ages on a whirlwind voyage through space and time.
The “Icarus” performance kicks off opening night of a week-long (April 10-15) festival of artistic presentation by university students and faculty members. The events will showcase studio art, music, theatre, dance, gaming, animation, photography and film, and is the first time all UCF artistic endeavors can be experienced in one place.
“We wanted the opening night of UCF Celebrates the Arts to be spectacular, and this unique multimedia performance captures everything we’re trying to achieve,” said Jeff Moore, director of the UCF School of Performing Arts and artistic director of the festival. “The audience will be treated to an evening of scientific discovery set to an amazing story, stunning visuals and moving musical score.”
The performance features an original score by Philip Glass, script adapted by Greene and David Henry Hwang, and film created and directed by Al+Al. The score will be performed by the 60-piece UCF Symphony Orchestra under the direction of conductor Art Pranno.
Kate Mulgrew, who currently stars as Galina “Red” Reznikov on the hit Netflix series, “Orange is the New Black,” is internationally recognized by science fiction fans as Capt. Kathryn Janeway, the first female captain of the Starship Enterprise in “Star Trek: Voyager.” Her upcoming memoir, Born With Teeth, will be released April 14.
Mulgrew sees the narrator role as a unique experience. “I’m always interested in something that will challenge me, and this is an interesting, exciting and uplifting challenge to not only teach an audience and lift them up, but myself as well. Anything that involves music, science, passion and the use of the human voice cannot be anything less than exciting.”
Mulgrew looks forward as well to her Orlando visit and collaboration with UCF. “I love any school that takes culture as seriously as [UCF] does,” she said.
Greene is a best-selling Columbia University professor of physics and mathematics who is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory. His first book for general audiences, The Elegant Universe, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist selling more than a million copies worldwide. His Icarus work is a short story that re-imagines the Icarus myth to dramatize one of Einstein’s greatest insights.
“Kids need to see science the way scientists do – not as material in a textbook but as a thrilling story of discovery,” Greene said, adding that he enjoys seing how each narrator “brings their own particular approach to the role. Each time I see the performance, I take away something new.”
The Icarus presentation is part of a National Science Foundation project that seeks to broaden the participation of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) research activities. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving the School of Performing Arts and the College of Sciences.
All events to UCF Celebrates the Arts 2015 are free, but tickets are required for many of the programs, including the performance of “Icarus at the Edge of Time.” The April 10-15 festival will feature studio art, music, theatre, dance, gaming, animation, photography and film at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando. Visit http://arts.cah.ucf.edu/ for more information, tickets and updated scheduling.