Tribal Baroque brings drama and dance to Union Chapel

Lila'Angelique and Thoth of Tribal Baroque. Photo by Wendy Taucher

The “prayforming duo” Tribal Baroque premiered their new commissioned work, “Esh & Ee-ay” at the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs over the long holiday weekend. Eccentric performers Thoth and Lila’Angelique, along with narrator Suzzanne Douglas, executed their nine-movement opera, commissioned by the Wendy Taucher Dance Opera Theater and produced by Sarah Kernochan.

Thoth and Lila’Angelique performed while playing violins, rhythmically dancing while stomping with bells on their ankles, which jingled in accompaniment. Most impressive of all were their captivating voices — they sang from bass to mezzo, each seemingly more comfortable as sopranos. Their voices filled the chapel and reverberated into the streets as curious onlookers peeked in for a glimpse.

The duo of Tribal Baroque have honed their skills as street performers from California to Amsterdam, New York City to Portugal, and were able to mesh classical style, rhythm and dance, and storytelling all into a 75-minute performance about love and death, transformation and regeneration. The story, inspired by their own relationship, tells the tale of Esh, a sea dragon played by Thoth, and Ee-ya, a fairy adopted by a Tribe of Angels and played by Lila’Angelique. The tale is tied to the culture of a prehistoric civilization called Zhanya, which is rumored to be of ancient alien origins.

Spectators were especially delighted with the encore that followed the ninth movement, which produced a resounding standing ovation for the performers. The performance was followed by a reception at A Gallery where patrons could meet with Thoth and Lila’Angelique. Whether on the city streets or a modest stage on the Island, Tribal Baroque brings a resounding talent and energy not to be missed.