Synesthesia Celebrates Artistic Process


John Bobek in “Synesthesia.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines synesthesia as a subjective sensation other than the one being experienced. The stage production of Synesthesia highlights subjective performances, artfully blending eight differing artistic mediums to create a unique evening of theater, one celebrating the artistic process.

Synesthesia begins with one artist choosing a fortune cookie, and then creating a solo work around the theme of the fortune. The next performer observes the performance and then creates their own piece based on that work, and so it goes through all of the artists. As the program calls it, “Artistic telephone across the genres.” The staging blends video presentation with actual performance; each artist is interviewed about their own creative process, describing the performance they saw, and how they will employ that inspiration in their own work.

While the evening is entertaining, some pieces work much better than others; some are merely stunts. Ruby Karen starts things off with an athletic and supple aerial performance, followed by Aldo Pisano’s scatological prose poem. John Bobek performs an energetic, country rock tune, leading to dancers highlighted by Marc Rosenthal’s lighting. Michael Bonnabel creates a moving ASL song, followed by John Achorn’s thoughtful commedia dell’arte. Rocco Vitacco performs his hilarious song, and Michael Dunn’s off-beat cooking performance piece ends the evening.

Director Cate Caplin keeps all the plates spinning in the lean production, editing together the various acts around the video interviews. Gabrieal Griego does a fine job defining each performance with a wide variety of lighting.

Athena Theatre in association with Bootleg Theater presents Synesthesia on Mondays through June 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bootleg Theater located at 2220 Beverly Blvd. in Los Angeles. Tickets cost $10. For further information, visit or

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