Recently, the Liberty Theatre added something new to its entertainment archives — a concert of classical music performed in total darkness. That unusual scenario may have kept some people away, but if so, they missed an event which was enchanting, educational and beautiful.

"Beautiful" is a term not typically employed to describe a theater event presented with all of the lights off, but the requirements to create a pitch-black, sensory-deprived environment were key to instilling exciting new life into very familiar instruments wielded by the Pyxis Quartet.

Much of the music was outside what one might normally expect to hear from classical musicians with two violins, a viola and a cello but it was (as my friend, Carol Newman described it) "magical."

The magic came not only from the incredibly skillful players, but also from the fact that sitting in total darkness in the absence of everything familiar, with the instruments surrounding the audience, forced participants to become very "active" listeners, paying crucial attention to each new sound escaping from the darkness around them and frequently asking: "How are they doing that"?

The effect was analogous to radio dramas of decades ago, in which the listener's own imagination combined the words of the playwright with the intonations of the actors and the sound effects of the Foley artists to create colorful images and complete, satisfying stories based solely on what is audible.

As with theater done on the radio, the results created by Pyxis were fulfilling, fascinating — and magical.

LARRY BRYANT

Astoria

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