THE FORGOTTEN KINGDOM: Sand Stories
International sand art superstar Kseniya Simonova (US premiere) and Guy Mendilow Ensemble team up on an extraordinary show bringing to life Sephardi women’s voices and stories lost to war.
Simonova creates, morphs and obliterates sand imagery in real-time, crafting a flowing narrative driven by the Ensemble’s evocative music and radio-drama-style storytelling.
Weaving together early 20th-century women’s songs from Sephardic enclaves of the former Ottoman Empire, the show evokes a panorama of the unraveling of an older Mediterranean world — not with the distant textbook hindsight we have today, but with the visceral experience of ordinary people caught in the extraordinary upheaval, unaware of how the dots will connect.
Audiences traverse breathtaking landscapes of sand, from ruined Ottoman villages to bustling Mediterranean ports like Salónica circa 1944. The Ensemble adds a sweeping, cinematographic score drawing on traditional tunes, techniques, and tales but in elegant arrangements and with radical reframing. The bittersweet rawness of Tango, gorgeous vocal harmonies and the rhythmic fire of classical Arabic percussion intensifies the emotionality of Western classical music.