Toy Theater Ventures ‘Into Rice Fields’

Yulya Dukhovny, Westmont artist-in-residence, performs her style of visual theater that features paper animation performed in a vertical 2D scenic space on Feb. 9-10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Porter Hall Black-Box Theatre. Tickets to “Into the Rice Fields,” written and performed by Dukhovny, cost $10 for general admission, $5 for students and seniors and may be purchased at westmont.edu/ricefields. For more information, please call (805) 565-7140.

The 30-minute piece unfolds on a toy-sized wooden stage as Dukhovny animates metaphorical paper sets — drawings, objects, dioramas and movable pictures — and becomes part of the visual scene.

Yulya Dukhovny

Yulya Dukhovny

“This form of visual theater inspired by means of a miniature art of Toy Theater, is made for an intimate audience,” she says. “Six-inch paper figures turn into voyagers wading through the metaphorical landscapes and faraway lands on a tiny wooden stage and ‘Into the Rice Fields.’”

She says the play was inspired by the work of two extraordinary philosophers and travelers in time, writer Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904) and composer Tōru Takemitsu (1930–1996).

“This piece represents the intersection between the two worlds of sound and word by Hearn’s short stories and the avant-garde music of Takemitsu,” she says. “The two layers of text and music express a spatial concept of the Japanese ‘Ma,’ a void that isn’t empty, an absence that is really a presence, a space between things that is full of energy.’”

Dukhovny started her career as a classic pianist and studied at Mussorgsky State Academy in Ekaterinburg, Russia. In 1990, she moved to Tel-Aviv, Israel, where she completed her Master of Arts in music, composing original scores for theater and animation. In 1999, she earned Best Theater Composer of the Year at the 20th Fringe Theater Festival in Israel.