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Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Dancers Opening Fall Season with ‘Yes Is a Long Time’

Santa Barbara Dance Theatre will present the original dance-drama starting Friday

The first show of Santa Barbara Dance Theatre’s fall season will be an original dance-drama — stress on “original” — called “Yes Is a Long Time,” conceived and directed by UCSB faculty member Mira Kingsley (who also performs).

It was written by Sibyl O’Malley and choreographed in collaboration with performers Antonio Anagaran Jr. and Jacqueline Kim; with scenic and projection design by Dan Evans, sound design by Colbert Davis IV, costume design by Leah Piehl and lighting design by Pablo Molina.

“Yes Is a Long Time” opens at 8 p.m. Friday in UCSB’s Hatlen Theater.

Anything that has actually happened in the past, no matter what the scale, qualifies as an “historical event,” so if I say that “Yes Is a Long Time” is based on an historical event, you needn’t expect kings or statesmen or armies, but you can rest assured that there is sufficient documentary evidence to establish its authenticity.

So — ahem! — history records that on Jan. 2, 2007, in the modest, unremarkable community of Freehold, N.J., a small but very heavy chunk of something crashed through the roof of a “normal” family’s house and came to rest in the family’s guest bedroom. The news media and various other authorities were called, and after considerable brouhaha and examination, scientists determined that the object was a meteorite. (It is a curious, if eventually irrelevant, fact that the only other meteorite to have landed in a home, landed in the same county of New Jersey.)

Then, after extensive further testing, the scientists decided that the so-called “meteorite” was, in fact, nothing but “common space junk” — no big deal, thus, unless it happened to hit a human.

That was the end of the historical event, apparently, but it can scarcely have been the end of the family’s involvement with it. In fashioning a work of theater art from the story, Mira Kingsley postulates, quite reasonably, that having a solid piece of outer space fall through their roof caused a seismic shift in the family’s perception of the universe, provoking a complete rethinking of their relation to the cosmos. It is this shift, this rethinking, that is dramatized in “Yes Is a Long Time.”

“Yes Is a Long Time” plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A “talkback” will follow Friday’s performance.

Tickets are $13 for students, seniors and UCSB faculty and staff, and $17 for general admission. Tickets are available from the ticket office, across from the Hatlen Theater, or click here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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