Between Sand and Stars (2005)

Pilot Mozart and CompanyBetween Sand and Stars is a collaboration between Sandglass Theater, Nimble Arts, and Rob Mermin of Cirkus Smirkus. Initially inspired by the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (the writer of The Little Prince and other novels) and the music of Mozart, this innovative work combines Sandglass’ renowned puppets with breathtaking aerial acts and swinging trapeze.

A mail pilot crashes in the Sahara and finds himself struggling to survive as he hopes for rescue. Even as he lies, struggling with thirst, he reflects on the richness of his life and his love of the desert. The pilot understands the risky act of flying as a metaphor for lives that take the daring jump into the unknown, including the poets, astronomers, great musicians, and artists: all those, in fact, who do not settle for a merely material life. In Between Sand and Stars, the artists of Sandglass and Nimble Arts combine their art forms and their unique spatial relationship to offer a dynamic picture of the human who reaches upward for an ideal, daring to crash, but aspiring to fly on the wings of music and poetry, of philosophy and science, of nature and technology.

The world of Between Sand and Stars is a world of desert men on their camels, crusty bureaucrats stamping flight papers, and the mysterious figure of Mozart, who weaves his way in and out of the pilot’s vision, beyond the bonds of real time and space.

Nimble Arts features Gemini Trapeze (Elsie Smith and Serenity Smith Forchion) and Bill Forchion, who have performed with Cirque du Soleil. Visit Nimble Arts at

Conceived by

Eric Bass and Rob Mermin

Directed by

Eric Bass

Music by

Ron Kelley and W. A. Mozart

Designed by

Dave Regan and Jana Zeller

Lighting by

Gerry Stockman

Choreography by

Alison Mott

Performed by

Ines Zeller Bass, Hannah Emmerich, Bill Forchion, Serenity Smith Forchion, Rob Mermin, Bronwyn Sims, Elsie Smith

Technical direction and Stage Manager

Abigail Baird, Lindsey Briggs

“… After the pilot’s crash, the puppet was substituted with a stunt double of a wrecked pilot puppet, animated by six actors. They led the pilot by expandable cables atached to its back, giving the illusion of the puppet moving by itself around a stage set to look like an imaginary desert. It tehn began to fade into instances of the pilot’s memories of his past fling experiences. Here were all the elements associated with Exupery’s works: grey masses, bureaucratic clerks, water motifs, childhood, love and forgiveness, the impression of flight, and foreign lands. In one fascinating scene, the pilot puppet was carried above he heads of two actors and was confronted with the movement of swinging acrobats above him…. At the same time the pilot changed from smooth swinging to rapid, suicidal movements. The audience caught their breath and erupted into loud applause…”

Nina Malikova, Teatr Lalek translated by Radek and Kate Simolik

Posted in Collaborations, Past