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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

In Context: La Verità

Contemporary circus maverick Daniele Finzi Pasca conjures a lush vaudevillian dreamscape in La Verità, an acrobatic homage to Salvador Dalí, coming to BAM May 4–7. Context is everything, so get even closer to the show with this curated selection of related articles, sounds and videos. After you've attended the show, let us know what you thought below and by posting on social media using #LaVerita.


“Dalí in New York” (BAM Blog)
A macabre backdrop for a balletic take on Tristan und Isolde, featured in La Verità, is among the set pieces the master surrealist created while in New York.

Compagnia Finzi Pasca
A trove of information on the company, including videos, articles, and more.

On Salvador Dalí’s Backdrop for Mad Tristan (TheHistoryBlog)
What’s that behind the acrobats in La Verità? Just Tristan, wearing a dandelion beret while ants walk over the crack in his shoulder.

Watch & Listen

BAM Executive Producer Joe Melillo, BAM Archivist Sharon Lehner, and Duncan Wall, author of The Ordinary Acrobat: A Journey into the Wondrous World of the Circus, attempt to tease out what physical theater is exactly—how the term came about, how it differs from circus, and where its place is today.

Rehearsing La Verita (YouTube)
Dramatic footage of Compagnia Finzi Pasca preparing their transfixing tribute to Dalí.

Selections from the La Verita Soundtrack (SoundCloud)
An array of Spanish music, arias, and more back the acrobatic antics. 

Now your turn...

What did you think? Would Dalí have approved? Is surrealism better with summersaults? Tell us what's on your mind in the comments below and on social media using #LaVerita.


  1. Spectacular! I honestly didn't know what to expect, From the small video it looked like an artful dance experience but it was so much more and very, very funny. I didn't realize it would be a full on circus, with acrobats, jugglers, clowns of sorts, live music and breathtaking stunts! One of the best live performances I have ever been too.

  2. disappointing. acrobats are wonderful, maybe 10-15 minutes of beautiful, interesting visuals, but padded with too much supposed humor. Audience around me was pleased, its a question of taste. The company was better the last time I saw them, I won't plan on going again.

  3. was great. great performers and great music. but too long. it was supposedly "two hours" -- the show ran at two-and-a-half hours. that's a big difference. the show flat-lined towards the end and could have been at least 25 minutes shorter. making an audience stay longer than the proposed time is a big "no-no" with New Yorkers.

  4. Lots of great elements, but it could use a good edit. Too much poor humour and dialogue. The performers are incredibly talented and the staging was very good.

  5. I don't think I've ever witnessed such an explosion of creativity in movement, theatre, music and comedy. It was pure genius. I was stunned at the multi-faceted talent of each performer. They were all dancers, acrobats, and musicians.

  6. First act was beautiful. It did not need the second act, which felt repetitive, long and disjointed.

    The few sections where live music was played gave a total new dimension to the show. Recorded music felt flat.

    Late seating policy at BAM is always frustrating as it really disrupts the show.

    1. Agreed on the late seating policy. People were walking in and out during the whole performance. Disrupts audience and performers alike.

    2. Absolutely agree. BAM, once again you seat your flakey latecomers at the expense of all of your solid on-time audience members, which seems dumb. Tonight seemed particularly bad as they were brought in bit by bit through the entire first piece. The whole piece! Make them wait for intermission and maybe they'll be on time next time.

    3. Thank you both so much for your feedback. The late seating policy varies from show to show and is established by each individual presenting company to ensure minimal disruption for audience and performers.

      The late seating for this show happened very early in the performance. We hold latecomers in the lobby during the spoken prologue, about two minutes into the show, then ushers open the doors to seat the latecomers that have been waiting outside. Theater management then held additional late arrivals, or audiences that left their seats, toward the back of the house until the intermission.

  7. Trite and unoriginal. If it had simply been billed as "Italian circus," I would have gone in with much more realistic expectations. Trite, reworked, typical circus acts, some better than others, some not at all interesting. Wish they had not been so presumptuous as to put the Salvador Dalí tag on the whole thing: I love Dali and I am sure he was less than thrilled. It's incomprehensible how someone as insightful and profound as Dalí could be used as a vehicle for a long-winded night of aerial trick and silly costumes.

  8. I loved everything about it! The music, visuals, acrobatics, costumes and performances where wonderful. I enjoyed myself from start to finish!

  9. I liked the second act more than the first which I add just because someone else said they preferred the first. It wasn't too long for me at all - we were hoping for an encore. I preferred the pieces with the haunting songs and mesmerizing movement; they really worked. Very beautiful music throughout.

  10. Totally unexpected! I love the talented acrobats, the music and the visuals. I was confused with the story, and felt that it was unnecessary. This was my first time at the Howard Gillman Opera House and I like the theater, but next time I see a show here, I will be seating in the orchestra. The balcony seating it too steep for me that I got vertigo.

  11. The circus talent were wonderful but I agree with some previous commentators where I felt that the show was simply a refurbished circus act with a veneer of Dali place on top of it. The stage set up was beautiful and the trailer presented a different impression of what the show was really about. The unfortunate part to me was that the insertion of comedy acts during the feats were really misplaced and distracting - as if a mother is trying to have a serious conversation with her friends and the child is interrupting constantly to seek attention. Truly misplaced and not even relevant to the show, even disruptive in a most negative sort of way.

    As for the Dali theme - I think the whole show could have gone another direction by actually immersing the acts into the world of Dali, not just pick a few elements and pepper them throughout the show like sprinkles on ice cream. Dali's world is strange and intricate, but the application of the theme itself was purely superficial and I think La Verita totally missed the mark there. As a production I felt it was trite and childish, incomplete in thought. It could and should have been pushed much further. Had I known it would be this kind of show, I would have not bought tickets.

  12. The humor was too distracting from the beautiful acts. Confused during almost all the scenes as to where the attention is supposed to be. Agree with previous comments regarding the late seating, but I guess since I was already distracted by the clowns, it didn't really matter in the end.

  13. I'm seeing a lot more negative comments here than what I imagined. I have a big imagination, and a complex and vivid dream life. And I was absolutely mesmerized by the combination of circus acrobatics, non-sequitur humor, Dali landscapes, and clowning. It truly was the stuff that MY dreams are made of. And I have dreamed that I could do the things these acrobats can do, and they showed me things they can do that I have never dreamed or imagined. But when I wake up, and try them for myself, I realize - you can't fly like that. That won't work. But these performers, some of the most talented triple threats I've ever seen on the stage, who've been training repetitiously since barely out of toddlerhood; when they wake up from dreaming these things - they can do them - and make it look to the world of dreamers like me that they have no weight at all and can simply imagine it and effortlessly make it happen. I believed in the dream they created together - and I believe Dali would too.

  14. I was thoroughly disappointed and actually shocked by the commercialism of this production in contrast to the prior BAM performance. Yes the performers have excellent skills and it is very pretty but it had Nothing of the content and depth of Donka. It lost the narrative theatrical political power and went back to pure tricks. It did not feel like a Bam performance but more on the level of a mainstream commercial production. I hope this is not the new direction. I loved the prior work and dragged a friend to see this one, was embarrassed at my recommendation.

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