San Francisco Bay Times

Luna is Visually Stunning And Viscerally Stirring!

By Drew VanDyche
Published: February 23, 2006

SF Tribune


By Mario Echevarría
Published: March 7, 2006

Within every human being there resides the hunger for connection—to know and be known—soul to soul. And yet in today’s culture of the common man there is a profound absence of its fulfillment. Luna, a multi-media performance piece created by Maria Lexa and the Sun & Moon Ensemble, now premiering at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley, explores these isolated prisons of our own making and the inner journey that one must take to free the spirit from its bonds.

With a unique theatrical style and artistry that combines live music, dance, drama and puppetry, Luna ushers us into a poetic world that is at once visually stunning and viscerally stirring. Told through the eyes of two protagonists—a male warrior descendant of the highland clans of Scotland, and an Italian woman—the embodiment of the traditions of the Sicilian Tarantella—their story becomes more than metaphor; it becomes a lucid, aboriginal dreaming, calling to the buried archetypes within our psyche.

Valentina Emeri

Valentina Emeri, graduate of the National Academy of Dramatic Arts “Silvio D’Amico” in Rome is a master of illusion. With chameleon-like control of her physical instrument, she bewitches our perceptions, transforming from woman to demon, to bird, to moon, to even Lady Macbeth within the blink of an eye.

Michael McCamish, a member of the ensemble since 2002, is also breathtaking to behold. Becoming warrior prince, eagle, ancestral grandmother, and “Thane of Cawdor” among others, he too draws us in and makes us feel the glories of the physical form, capturing the essence and presence of spirit within his work. If there is one drawback to his performance, it is easily forgiven when his body astonishingly conveys what his vocal inflection sometimes does not. In such a lyrical world, the voice must be used with as much musicality as the body.

Isadora Duncan award-recipient Allen Willner returns as Lighting Designer and does some amazing work, becoming an integral part of the piece; as do Bay Area composer/musician Eugene Jun and the Ensemble’s longtime collaborator percussionist Orlando Obligacion who provide live accompaniment. Director Maria Lexa launched her professional career at the renowned Odin Theater in Holstebro, Denmark, under the mentorship of director Eugenio Barba, and after presiding over six international women’s culture festivals, a series of theatre educational projects, and a professional touring company, returned to the US in 2001 to form the Sun & Moon Ensemble. The troupe has appeared regularly at SF’s Yerba Buena Gardens and other outdoor venues, but now bring their art form into the intimate settings of an indoor theatre; and the results are extraordinary!

Luna continues until Feb. 26 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby (at MLK Jr.), Berkeley. Luna then plays from March 2-12 at the NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa Street, SF. Tickets for both venues, call 621-7978. More info about the Sun & Moon Ensemble, go to

Luna SF Tribune

The theatre group Sun & Moon Ensemble presents thepremiere of LUNA, a multi-media performance about freeing the spirit.

Luna was directed in an abstract way that speaksdirectly from the soul; the director is Ms. Maria
, a woman with great theatrical experience, whohas studied in Missouri, Paris and Denmark.

The cast is composed of Valentina Emeri and Michael McCamish, both actors who also have much experience inthe art of movement, with strong influence from the Russian and European School.

In this inner voyage through the depths of our subconscious we experience dark conflicts, realize
that we are different from what we think ourselves, and what others think of us. We are in reality slaves of our passions, we live enclosed in a comfortable prison in which we don’t know that we are prisoners. The moon is what keeps us asleep, but perhaps there is an effective way to flee without fearfulness.

Valentina and Michael are the magicians , who through their movements, gestures, and scattered phrases in Italian and English take us by the hand on this voyage to another dimension, an unknown dimension, into which only some monks and heroic mystics enter voluntarily,
who spend their whole lives searching for the reason for existence inside a cell, which they never leave, their only nourishment given to them by their devotees.

This “astral“ journey is presented to us by this talented duo heightened by the powerful presence of puppets, which help to create an even more dynamic atmosphere, and by mystical musical rhythms, which are beautifully interpreted by Orlando Obligacion on percussion and Eugene Jun on the guitar.

The program lasts about an hour and a half. It will be presented March 2 – 12 at NOHspace in San Francisco. Info 415 282 4331 or http//

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