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I spent Black Friday in the imaginary world of Alexey Taran and Carla Forte as they rehearsed for their upcoming performance, “Imaginarium Life,” which opens at The Sandbox on December 6th. “Imaginarium Life” is the second phrase (of a four-phase project) that involves a dance-theater-multimedia performance based on the screenplay “Imagimundo,” written by Forte, and original music composed by Venezuelan musician, Frank Woo.

“Imaginarium Life” is the story of Rueben, a visual artist who lives in his mind to avoid reality, to avoid the pain and pitfalls of his torn and tormented life, which seems to be a common theme among the living. Eschewing material and emotional attachments, Ruben constructs a mirage for negotiating life. He attempts to disconnect from the things he perceives are holding him back, pulling him under, filling his jacket with pockets full of stones, and retreats into the imaginary world where he lives (imaginarily) safe and sound from the free-floating chaos of living and loving in the real world.

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte. Photo by Neil de la Flor

In Ruben’s head, this is where happiness lives — at least that is what he imagines. Ana, Ruben’s wife, accepts Ruben’s detachment from reality, but this presents the couple with Herculean challenges. Ruben begins to confuse the real Ana with the imagined Ana.

After previewing the introductory scene from “Imaginarium Life,” Taran and Forte spoke about the motivation for the work and the words “happiness” and “freedom” came up — two words that freak me out because they’ve become cliché obsessions of our modern culture.

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte. Photo by Neil de la Flor

“I want more freedom.” “I want to be happy.” “I want to live free from pain and sorrow.” “I want to be free to do what I want to do.” Happiness and freedom have become these dual-driving forces that seem inextricably linked to our egos that no one seems to know anything about except that they want it, more of it and they want it now. Taran and Forte try to figure this out for us and I’m happy for that.

The Sandbox is small. There are only 50 seats. Get your tickets now because Taran and Forte are doing big, miraculous things in our city of illusion and lust. Their intelligent, well-conceived and well-constructed “Imaginarium Life” will free you.

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Alexey Taran & Carla Forte. Photo by Neil de la Flor

“Imaginarium Life,” opens Thursday Dec. 6 and runs Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 7-22 at 8 p.m. at the Miami Theater Center,  9806 NE 2nd Ave., Miami Shores; 305-751-9550. Cost: $20. To purchase tickets, visit: https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?e=1fed5358983f01fd01941128585b48f6&t=tix

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