New Experimental Opera in Queens Inspired by Sandy, Other Disasters

A theatre group is shedding light on the impact natural disasters can have on individuals, including storms like Hurricane Sandy.  NY1's Shannan Ferry filed this report. 

Singing while buried underneath of pile of broken wood may not be what you'd expect to see at a traditional opera.

But these performers are putting an experimental twist on the genre - to expose the dramatic ways natural disasters impact lives.

"The reality is that these type of events do happen with increasing frequency, and they will continue to happen closer and closer," said Director Ashley Tata.

The music collective thingNY will premiere it's original show "This Takes Place Close By" at the Knockdown Center later this week.

The multimedia production explores the reactions of six individuals in the wake of devastating storms, drawing inspiration from Hurricane Sandy and other adverse events.

"From someone who is killed by the storm, to someone who um, whose Internet goes out for an hour and that's it, and then there's a wide range of people in the middle - from a relief worker, to someone who's looking for someone and can't find them," said Gelsey Bell, who is a performer and composer.

Attendees actually walk through this 50,000 square foot space to view different scenes. Performers say that combined with lighting, sound, and video effects allows the audience to feel a sense of isolation, the same way a storm victim would.

"This migrant aspect of it makes people feel, I hope they have that, that a sense of like - there's no home base," explained Paul Pinto.

"There's action happening that's 100 feet away from you, and it sounds like it's 100 feet away from you, it's a really different kind of experience than a normal theatre," added Dave Ruder.

Shows will take place this Thursday through Sunday.

Tickets cost $10 for students, seniors and Queens residents.

All others start at $15.

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