Sun & Sea leaving Brooklyn to begin national tour

After enthralling audiences at the 2019 Venice Biennale and earning its all-woman creative team (Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelyte) the much-coveted Golden Lion, Sun & Sea began its national tour on September 15 at Brooklyn Academy of Music. The production leaves Brooklyn on September 26 and will then travel to Philadelphia (Arcadia Exhibitions/Arcadia University as part of Philadelphia Fringe Festival), Bentonville, AR (the Momentary), and Los Angeles (Hammer Museum, MOCA, and CAP UCLA).

Using twenty-five tons of sand to transform each theater into a lively beach, sunbathing characters offer up a range of seductive harmonies and melodic stories that glide between the mundane, the sinister, and the surreal. From the sprawling narrative of their lives emerges a piercing exploration of climate change; shining light on the complex relationship between people and our planet. The piece is brought to life by 13 vocalists who are surrounded by approximately 25 adventurous local community members in each city who act as fellow beach-goers.

Sun & Sea started with the image of vacationers lying on a sandy beach and singing; their half-naked bodies observed from above, from the sun’s perspective, as if humankind were insects, finding parallels with the temporality of the colossal body – the body of the Earth,” librettist Vaiva Grainytė said on behalf of the artistic team. “The libretto of the piece is set as a mosaic of stories, inner monologues, dreams and thoughts, sung in solos and as a chorus by the beachgoers. This ‘soup’ of stories might sound mundane and carefree, however, in this liturgical, poppy, and synthetic ocean of songs one can feel an impending threat. The picture of enjoyable holidays belies the consequences of this inertia – planetary resources being extracted as if sipping fizzy Piña Colada.”

Sun & Sea is the second collaboration for these three artists who focus on the relationship between documentary and fiction, reality and poetry, and how theater, music and the visual arts intertwine. Their previous work, the contemporary opera Have a Good Day! for 10 cashiers, supermarket sounds, and piano, premiered in 2013 and is touring worldwide.


September 15—26; BAM Fisher (Fishman Space), 321 Ashland Pl., Brooklyn, NY

Sun & Sea inaugurates BAM’s fall season which features a fresh and forward-looking lineup of US premieres by artists from around the world in their BAM debuts. Like Sun & Sea, each artist will unleash their imagination at the BAM Fisher, exploring new ways to activate the space in unprecedented ways.

September 30—October 3; Arcadia Exhibitions (As part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival). The Budd 3431 Fox St., Philadelphia, PA

Arcadia Exhibitions at Arcadia University is pleased to announce its presentation of Sun & Sea as part of the 2021 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Blurring the lines between music, theater, poetry, and visual art, the Philadelphia presentation of the work will feature a custom built set for the original cast, joined by non-singing beachgoers sourced from the community with opportunities to volunteer.

October 6—9; The Momentary, 507 SE E St., Bentonville, AR

The Momentary, a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, is thrilled to welcome Sun & Sea to the Heartland. Bringing the beach indoors in a decommissioned cheese factory turned contemporary art space, the Momentary will transform their interior Tower space to an unconventional and spectacular theater, offering unique perspectives and aerial views to audiences.

October 14—16; Presented by the Hammer, MOCA, and CAP UCLA, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

Making its West Coast debut, Sun & Sea in Los Angeles will be installed at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA and transform the Frank Gehry-designed former warehouse space into a sunny day at the beach. The touring vocalists will be supported by members of LA-based choral group Tonality, best known for concerts on themes of social justice. The haunting yet catchy songs contemplate the impact of humans on the environment, presenting the urgent climate change conversation in a new light.

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