Updated: Oct 17
By Elizabeth Gracen:
What if you were given a couple of hours to step through a portal and travel back in time to experience the not-so-distant past, with all its ups and downs and strange historical curves in the road? Riding along with you will be all the hits from each decade—the visuals, music, cultural, and historical highlights. You’d have quite a journey ahead of you! Wouldn’t that be a nice trip?
Well, look no further, time travelers. The Lineage Performing Arts Center is back for a second time round with the immersive theatrical experience called A Matter of Time. First premiered earlier this year in March 2023, LPAC dives back in to this delightful epic production on October 27 & 28, with final performances on November 2–5.
Conceived by Hilary Thomas, artistic director and choreographer of the Lineage Dance Company, the heart of the show pulses with the rhythm of each decade’s winding road, revealed through words, music, film, dance, and immersive theatre. With a familiar Lineage cast of characters, it is a joyful night of theatre that tugs at our collective nostalgia for days gone by as it slyly unfolds some of the hard realities of our country's past.
Our guides for the evening lead us through the entire LPAC facility, each space whimsically art directed by Lineage dancer and designer Ericalynn Priolo. The LPAC lobby becomes a 1950s time capsule, with its pristine, bubblegum aesthetic reflecting an era of bright optimism and unrealistic norms. The long hallway that leads to the black box theatre becomes the 1960s—the Jeanne and Cliff Benson Family Art Gallery, curated by Theresa Kennedy with a loving attention to detail that captures the pursuit of freedom-loving times as the performers in the rafters sing of love and remind us of the loss of so many American heroes during that decade. Likewise, the theatre, dressing room, and rehearsal studio are transformed into the unique sights and sounds of the 70s, 80s, and 90s as performers appear and reappear, crossing backward and forward along the timeline.
What could easily become a time-machine run amok is tethered by the astute narration of Will Bellaimey and Angie Vaughn—both longtime Lineage family members and both aficionados of all things historical. Together, they bookend each decade by sharing the relevant history, music, and cultural phenomena that held us together and pulled us apart through the years.
And then there’s Mr. Rogers—the most reliable narrator of them all. Played with a keen eye for detail and nuance, Paul Siemeons brings Rogers to life in each decade, serving as a gentle anchor and idealistic rudder along the timeline, his familiar cardigan sweater and particular syntax a public television balm for our country’s collective souls.
With Keila Fisher and Diana Leon as our guides, we are met with powerful vocal performances by Jana Souza and Toni Lorene Baker and evocative dance by Thomas, Teya Wolvington, Erica Lynn Priolo, Brittany Daniels, Caterina Mercante, Molly Mattei, and Meghann Zenor. Along with the rest of the stellar cast and musicians—Austin Roy, Marco Tacandon, Alan Geier, and a short film contribution by yours truly—Thomas’s vision of an immersive evening of theatre comes to life with Lineage’s unique gift for melding education, entertainment, and just plain fun.
I'll take a deeper dive next week into the creation of this Lineage original production when I talk to the cast and crew about its creation.
It’s a great night theater you don’t want to miss!