Tarhun: Legend of the Lightning God

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tarhun- Hahhimas god of frost
 Photo by John Cornicello

The Cabiri, Seattle’s storytelling aerial dance theater troupe, and the Shoreline - Lake Forest Park Arts Council present Tarhun: Legend of the Lightning God March 31-April 2 at Shorecrest Performing Arts Center, 15343 25th Ave NE, Shoreline 98155.

The production’s epic tales of love and war from ancient Hittite mythology are depicted in vivid, living color via the spectacular aerial acrobatics, giant puppets and contemporary dance that have become the troupe’s hallmark.

Since 1999, the Cabiri has entertained and enlivened Seattle audiences with their festive stilt walkers, fearless fire dancers and death-defying aerial acrobats.

In 2008, the company began producing two new performances per year, drawing from a wide variety of world folklore and mythology including Japanese, Slavic and Mesopotamian cultures.

Tarhun is the troupe’s first significant foray into the realm of the Hittites, a now-extinct people who thrived in Anatolia, now modern-day Turkey, from the 18th through 8th centuries B.C. It was inspired by Cabiri founder and director John Murphy’s trip to the fortress city of Hattusas in 1991, where he was first exposed to the incredible diversity and animistic nature of the gods from central Anatolia.

The title character, Tarhun, is the Hittite god of lightning and storms. The performance follows his adventures as he and his fellow gods defend themselves against fantastic monsters and dark forces, including Hahhimas, god of frost.

The plot has even been adapted into a novel, which will be available for sale at the performance (and at Third Place Books). The novelization is in keeping with the Cabiri’s mission to make esoteric mythology more accessible to the public.

Much of the spectacular aerial dance choreography using hoops, silks, and other apparatus in Tarhun was created by the troupe’s Montreal-based coach Sam Alvarez (Cirque du Soliel, Odysseo). Alvarez has performed and coached aerial arts, dance and acrobatics for over twenty years and is also the aerial choreographer for Cavalia: Odysseo, currently touring North America.

The handmade puppets are also a hallmark of the Cabiri experience. Created by the Cabiri’s design team, each creature has three puppeteers inside it. The music is an original composition by Vasilis Fotopoulos.

Founder and Artistic Director John Murphy is passionate about the Cabiri’s use of non-traditional theatrical arts to depict tales from ancient mythology, a craft the troupe has honed in the Pacific Northwest for nearly two decades.

We refer to our genre as ‘performative mythology.’ We take obscure academic works and bring them to life in an incredibly accessible way on stage. 
The acrobats, aerialists, and dancers of the Cabiri are incredibly adept at depicting these larger-than-life, archetypal tales with passion, inspiration and a genuineness that really draws our audience members into the ancient tales we are telling.

Tarhun is appropriate for audience members age five and older. Tickets available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Special to readers of the Shoreline Area News 
Send an email to Tips@ShorelineAreaNews.com with the subject Tickets to enter your name in a drawing to win a pair of tickets to either opening night or the Friday show. Include your contact information.


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