Sunday, October 27, 2013

    Giovanni Alva as botanist Aime Bonpland, Mark Teeter as Alexander von Humboldt

Humboldt Unbound explores the wonder and perils of his South American excursions, including his efforts on behalf of Indigenous peoples, as well as facets of his important public and personal relationships. But its method is not through the usual biography.

 It is instead a fast and fluid series of theatrical transformations. So Humboldt’s bed can become a boat floating down a wild South American river, and a line of German tutors may turn into a howling French Revolution mob. Humboldt and President Thomas Jefferson might punctuate their discussion at the White House with some song and dance.

 Bold and colorful visual images, music and dance enhance Humboldt’s own words. Together with film and projection, the constantly reassembled set designed by Giulio Cesare Perrone, music by Tim Gray, lighting by Michael Foster and costumes by HSU’s Catherine Brown, the cast enacts connections that transcend a year-by-year narrative.

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