According to Buddhist philosophy, humans live in an individual world created by subjective thoughts and perceptions. We are continuously re-creating our "self" through our experiences and choices, trapped in samsara — an endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth — until we are able to liberate ourselves from our illusions and find awakening through enlightenment.
All of these aspects of life entwine in Samsara Cabaret, a new, original stage production at Faena Theater. The multisensory performance explores life's paradoxes through contemporary dance, cirque nouveau, state-of-the-art technology, fire performance, moving vocals, and live music.
"The show is an interpretation and representation of everyday life," Miami-based singer EnVee says. "Life is constant change, and light and darkness are within everyone and everything all the time. The best one can do is go with his instincts as a good human."
EnVee portrays the Goddess of Light in the show. Through a series of lively vignettes, she narrates the tensions, surprises, and learning experiences in the transformative journey of Artemis, a stardust being, as she confronts the light and dark energy that surround her.
The show is musical theater incorporating the essential elements of cabaret — an intimate venue dressed in red velvet and gold accents, where guests can dine at cozy tables under a crystal chandelier while the musicians, singers, dancers, and acrobats perform mere feet away. There's also plenty of room for spontaneity: EnVee glides through the room to interact with the audience between numbers.
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The entertainment is fueled by powerful tunes selected by musical director Shane Borth. They include instrumental versions of Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" and Florence + the Machine's "Cosmic Love," performed by Borth on violin and Ben Muñoz on cello. Lending her impressive voice to other pieces is America’s Got Talent semifinalist Yoli Mayor, who plays the Goddess of Darkness.
Classical ballet dancer Bianca Allanic, a Miami native, portrays the lead protagonist, Artemis, a phoenix transcending her own dimension as she undergoes a metamorphosis through song, dance, acrobatics, and optical illusion. As she flows through the series of experiences, she evolves from innocent to knowing and from vulnerable to tough. In the closing scenes, she's a brilliant figure, not only understanding but also embracing the knowledge of her duality.
"The show is very artistic in the sense that it allows the audience to interpret it as they want," says Allanic, who had to learn to perform with fire and to fly on cords attached to a harness for the role. The 80-minute production, she adds, is also meant to be sensual and provocative. "That's one of the things Miami is well known for."
Samsara Cabaret. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from December 13 through May 2019 at Faena Theater, 3201 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-8800; faena.com. Tickets start at $55. Orchestra seating is available via sevenrooms.com, and mezzanine seating is available via ticketmaster.com. For group bookings and more information, call 786-655-5742 or email email@example.com.