Veteran performance artist Lee Nagrin stages her newest theater opera, The Valley of Iao," an authentic exploration of life's journey as it encounters death. The piece is based on conversations between Nagrin and her brother which took place over the last one and a half years of his life in Hawaii. It juxtaposes her brother's real struggle to stay alive with her own journey to accept his death and, by extension, her own. Religious/spiritual questions underlie the work, juxtaposing Nagrin's identity as an artist with her brother's life as a Christian preacher. The title comes from the view of the mountains surrounding the Valley of Iao, which could be seen from her brother's hospital window. Text, choreography and music create the journey of this piece. In Nagrin's works, sets do not serve the play, they ARE the play, and this one employs an enormous sculpture of the Valley of Iao constructed in the encaustic (wax) medium.
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