In Xanadu

700 years ago
my husband became
the most powerful
man on earth.
I was his right hand,
his light hand,
his even hand.



In Xanadu is a Mongolian fantasy about Khubilai Khan and his wife, Chabui. They are inseparable partners. When she dies, he attempts to bring her back from the underworld. The piece blends Tibetan, Chinese and Indonesian theater techniques into a unique form of theater that recalls the language of film with lap dissolves, montages, bleak Bergmanesque horizons and a Kurosawa style portrait of the controlled chaos of war.

In Xanadu is a full scale theatrical production which takes place on a 30' x 15' rear projection screen, with a cast and crew of fifteen people. It uses specially designed lighting sources to project the shadows of masked actors, puppets, and scenery. It features live music, with original compositions by Miguel Frasconi, as well as traditional Tibetan and Mongolian music by Tashi Dhondup, Tsering Wangmo, and Chen Shi-Zheng.

It is a stunning example of a new kind of visual theater, where a character can be six inches high one moment and fifteen feet tall the next. In Xanadu was awarded the UNIMA-USA Citation for Excellence, puppetry's highest award. It has been performed in San Francisco at Theater Artaud, and the Cowell Theater. In New York it was featured at the Public Theater during the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater. A video tape of the performance is available through ShadowLight.

1993 / 1994 / 1997

the performers:

Ramon Abad, Matthew Antaky, Kate Beddall, Chela Cadwell, Sally Canfield, Scott Paul Cannon, Shi-Zheng Chen, Tashi Dhonup , Forrest Fang, Miguel Frasconi, Randy Guerrero, Margaret Hatcher, Jack Haye, Maxine Heppner, Zara Houshmand, Stina Ingimarsdottir, Kris Kargo, Leonidas Kassapides, I Ketut Kodi, Shinichi Momo Koga, Gregory T. Kuhn, Tim Lee Smith, Christine Marie, Sue Mayo, Paul Meamsom, Kompiang Metri-Davies, I Made Moja, Wendy Morton, Alenka Mullin, Guriko Onuma, Kathryn Otoshi, Larry Reed, Natalie Rinker, Mark Salvatore, Phill Sawyer, Eva Soltes, Chris Sowers, Lisa Aimee Sturz, Belinda Sullivan, Tsering Wangmo, Sarah Willner, Sarah Willner, Takeya Yamamoto