Though the bulk of their work was created in the 1950s, the artists of the Beat Generation have seen their mythologies only grow in subsequent decades. In particular, the feverish ruminations of writers/poets Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and William Burroughs are now considered essentials of American literature. Along with fringe figures like Neil Cassady, the Beats are credited with making a stark break from the stifling mores of past generations as they embarked on a quest for personal liberation (and hedonistic pleasures). Far from a joyride, however, Beat works are littered with jealousy, insecurity, exhaustion, and addiction. The complexity of the Beat legacy, including virtues and vices, has taken on a particularly inspired form under Beatnik Giselle, an original production from Sandbox Theatre. Collaboratively created by the ensemble, the piece sets the Beat world (including figures drawn from real life) against the revered romanticism of the classic ballet Giselle. Scored to a live, jazz-oriented accompaniment, the work attempts to fuse the yearning of Beat literature with the spiritual ecstasy that inspires the deft ballet movements. Tantalizing and tumultuous, yet buoyed by a rapturous longing, Beatnik Giselle represents an utterly unique realization of the Beat dream. Who would have thought sex, drugs, and ballet could make for such a transcendent combination?
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 19. Continues through Oct. 21, 2012