The performance of the five actors and two musicians was nearly seamless. The statements made were bold, and perhaps prophetic, but not too preachy.
Whether it was from the charge of the performance, the stunningly simplistic stage setup or the intimacy of the black box, I left Elephants and Gold with a wow on my lips and wheels turning in my head.
— Jenn Smith at The Berkshire Eagle:
The performers embody elephants with a lumbering four footed gait that is both majestic and vulnerable.
— Chris Rohmann at The Valley Advocate:
The detail and specificity of animal movement with a sculptor’s eye for design was captivating. The sounds took me out of the theater space and placed me in a land of humans and animals where the body’s mystery is shared. Danger was lurking and Eliza’s drum and strings held the tension with a kind of reverie. This piece had a striking effect on my senses, eyes and ears. The structure of the piece, its composition and patterns, was admirable and gave me confidence as I watched and listened.
I loved the chalk and those beautiful elephant peoples. I loved how Eliza gathered visual images that spoke for themselves and how the space at the end was a sculpture in a way.
— Susan Dibble, Master Teacher, Chair of Theater Arts Brandeis University MFA
Elephants and Gold is lyrical journey that unearths the fragile, universal and complex dynamic between animals and humans, humans and animals.
Using movement, sound and voices, Eliza Ladd poetically unravels the insight of the Elephant species and their ability to illuminate our own humanity.
— Sara Katzoff, Co-Founder/Artistic Director The Berkshire Fringe
There are moments when the actors glide across the stage, their bodies gracefully lumbering, heads rising attentively, front legs smoothly rolling on metal wheels, sounds emanating from deep inside to fill the hall with primitive cries of hurt, pain, questioning, alarm. At times like this the effects of the stories we hear of elephant trauma, human attacks and disruption of habitat, become embodied in this highly sensitive, empathic performance and projected directly into the viewer’s conscience. The play works on the level of poetry, music, dance and drama imputing a direct engagement with these majestic, sentient beings—so close to us. The stories, poems, testimonies and songs are woven onto an aesthetically sophisticated matrix of performance art that creates a deeply moving, emotional and spiritual experience for the audience. The ensemble work is elegant; the actors and musicians communicate flawlessly and continuously in keeping with the reality of the strong, non-verbal connections of elephant society which is endangered and disrupted by human encroachment.
— Judith Scott, Minister, Public School Principal
Somewhere in the middle of Elephants and Gold, my jaw dropped, like I’d hit an essential and devastating chord within life’s primordial dilemmas. The piece brought me to this place unaware. How it landed me there, I look back to examine, since I am impressed by this gravity of experience. Visceral memories abound: the elephant movers balancing on big round rocks; the British tea cups jostling; the amazing songs…. yet it is its overwhelming sweep of humanity’s plight that I am so deeply woven into as I watch. The spirit in this work resonates deeply.
The show is deep with insight about theater as well as about the world.
— Audrey Kindred, Artist and Teacher
Experimental and violently sweet . Oppressive and liberating at the same time. Animal and human relationship as a vessel for self expression and intimate disclosures.
— Marisela Lagrave, Artist