Sun & Sea

September 30–October 3, 2021
3:00 – 8:00 PM

The Budd
3431 Fox Street,
Philadelphia, PA

"'Sun & Sea' remains one of the greatest achievements in performance of the last 10 years...a masterpiece of culture in a changing climate...."

Jason Farago
The New York Times
review of BAM's presentation of Sun & Sea
September 16, 2021

Major support for Sun & Sea has been provided to Arcadia Exhibitions by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from Arcadia University.

Philadelphia's presentation of Sun & Sea is the second stop on a U.S. national tour that begins at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (September 15-26), and continues to The Momentary (October 6-9) and concludes at the Geffen Contemporary at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (in collaboration with The Hammer and CAP UCLA).

Sun & Sea - Trailer for Philadelphia presentation

Arcadia Exhibitions is pleased to present Sun & Sea, an opera-performance by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė, as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Set on an artificial “beach” viewed from a mezzanine above, Sun & Sea directs our attention to a crowd of swimsuit-clad performers conveying anxieties that range from sunburn to environmental catastrophe. The 60-minute piece, which will loop for a duration of five hours, received the Golden Lion for best national presentation at the 2019 Venice Biennale. The Philadelphia presentation of the work will feature the original cast, including thirteen soloists, who will be joined by non-singing extras sourced from the community.

Blurring the boundaries between music, theater, poetry, and visual art, Sun & Sea eloquently addresses some of the most urgent ecological and economic issues of our time without pretense. The work is experienced as a living diorama populated by approximately forty intergenerational performers applying sunscreen, checking their phones, reading, knitting, playing badminton, etc. Relaxing under the glare of the “sun” on a mosaic of towels, the performers range in walks of life, body types, and ethnic diversity. The characters, which include a “workaholic”, a “wealthy mommy”, the “philosopher”, and the “3D-sisters” (performed by identical twins), sing solos that mix trivial preoccupations with nagging fears of environmental crises. Accompanied by an electronic organ, these short arias, which evoke hymns and pop songs, coalesce into a universal choir, “tired bodies offering a metonym for a tired planet.”

Sun & Sea has been widely celebrated as among the most effective works to address the tension between a global leisure economy and ecological malaise, complicated now by the exigencies of a pandemic. Its success hinges on the deceptively playful manner in which it allows audiences to respond in ways that parallel the complexity and universality of our environmental turmoil. As the project’s curator Lucia Pietroiusti has written: “For all of its subtle, emotional, environmental anxiety, Sun & Sea (Marina) carries its characters’ foolish optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence not with judgment but with relative care, with something akin to self-recognition."

Sun & Sea is the second collaboration for the three artists, the first being their celebrated Have a Good Day! (2013), an opera that addressed gender, aging, and labor with songs sung by ten supermarket checkout clerks, each providing a glimpse into the concerns of their daily lives.

Since being hosted by the Venice Biennale, Sun & Sea has been presented at the Borealis Festival, Bergen, Norway (March 2020); the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, Zurich, Switzerland (August 2020), and the Kunstfestspiele Hanover, Germany (October 2020). Presentations in 2021 have included the following: CPH Stage/Copenhagen Contemporary Copenhagen; Teatro Argentina, Rome, and E-Werk Luckenwalde (Germany).

Arcadia Exhibitions’ presentation of Sun & Sea is the second stop on a national tour from Sep 15—Oct 16 that begins in Brooklyn (BAM), and continues to Bentonville, AR (The Momentary), and Los Angeles (The Hammer, MOCA, and CAP UCLA).

Concept and development – Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, and Lina Lapelytė

Director and set designer – Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė

Lyrics – Vaiva Grainytė

Music and musical direction – Lina Lapelytė

Curator – Lucia Pietroiusti

Tour producer – Aušra Simanavičiūtė

Tour coordinator/stage manager – Erika Urbelevič

Technical director – Lique Van Gerven

Translator (Lithuanian to English) – Rimas Užgiris

Sound engineer – Romuald Chaloin Galiauskas

Live soundtrack – Salomėja Petronytė

Singing performers – Evaldas Alekna, Aliona Alymova, Svetlana Bagdonaitė, Marco Cisco, Auksė Dovydėnaitė, Saulė Dovydėnaitė, Claudia Graziadei, Lucas Lopes Pereira, Artūras Miknaitis, Vytautas Pastarnokas, Eglė Paškevičienė, Salomėja Petronytė, Kalliopi Petrou, Ieva Skorubskaitė, and Nabila Dandara Vieira Santos.

Performers – Raminta Barzdžiukienė, Dovydas Korba, Vincentas Korba, Jeronimas Petraitis, Juozas Petraitis, Mantas Petraitis, Pranas Petraitis, Jonas Statkevičius, and others.

Visual identity – Goda Budvytytė

Catalogue and vinyl concept and design – Åbäke

Founding producer – Neon Realism

Co-producers – Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts, Akademie Schloss Solitude Goethe-Institut, Münchner Kammerspiele, National Gallery of Art in Vilnius, Staatsschauspiel Dresden, The Momentary,

Sponsor – JCDecaux

Commissioner (Sun & Sea (Marina), Venice, 2019) – Rasa Antanavičiūtė

Founding Patrons (Sun & Sea (Marina), Venice, 2019) – Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Laurenz Foundation in Basel, Vilnius City Municipality

View the performance's official website

Curator – Lucia Pietroiusti
Tour producer – Aušra Simanavičiūtė
Tour coordinator / stage manager – Erika Urbelevič

Artists / Curator

Photography by: Andrej Vasilenko

Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė
Direction and Set Design
Barzdžiukaitė works as a filmmaker, theatre director, and artist. In her creative practice, she explores the gap between objective and imagined realities, while challenging an anthropocentric way of thinking in a playful way. Her recent full-length documentary film-essay Acid Forest was awarded at the Locarno International Film Festival last year and is traveling in film festivals around the world.

Photography by: Andrej Vasilenko

Vaiva Grainytė 
Grainytė is a writer, playwright, and poet. Her creative practice usually crosses the confines of deskwork and becomes an integral part of an interdisciplinary polylogue in the form of radio plays, operas, site-specific performances, and musicals. Her book of essays Beijing Diaries (2012) was nominated for the Lithuanian Book of the Year award in the adult literature category and included in the top twelve listings of the most creative books for that year. Vaiva’s poetry debut Gorilla’s Archives was published in 2019 and according to critics recognized as a distinguished voice of neo-avant-garde poetry.

Photography by: Andrej Vasilenko

Lina Lapelytė 
Music and Music Direction
Lapelytė is an artist, musician, and composer. Her performance-based practice is rooted in music and flirts with pop culture, gender stereotypes, and nostalgia. Lapelyte’s works were presented at KIM in Riga, Rupert in Vilnius (solo exhibition), 1857 gallery in Oslo, the Modern Art Museum in Malmo, MACBA in Barcelona, and DRAF in London. Upcoming shows include Cartier Foundation in Paris, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Kunsthalle Praha.

Lucia Pietroiusti
Pietroiusti is a curator working at the intersection of art, ecology and systems, mostly outside of the gallery format. She is the founder and curator of the General Ecology project at Serpentine, London; as well as the curator of Sun & Sea. Current projects include the 2020-21 Shanghai Biennale (with Marina Otero Verzier, Filipa Ramos, YOU Mi. Chief Curator: Andrés Jaque); The Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish, with Filipa Ramos; Serpentine Podcast, and Back to Earth - Serpentine’s 50th-anniversary program, dedicated to the environment (2020-22). Recent publications include More-than-Human (with Andrés Jaque and Marina Otero Verzier).

Local Credits for Philadelphia Presentation of Sun & Sea

Presenter: Arcadia University
  • Organizers: Richard Torchia, Director, Arcadia Exhibitions, and Martin Hartung, Curatorial Adviser
  • Administrative Director, Provost's Office: Katharine Hanley
  • Exhibitions Coordinator, Arcadia Exhibitions: Matthew Borgen
  • Vice President for Marketing and Communications: Laura Baldwin
  • Director of Communications: Dan DiPrinzio
Producer: FringeArts 
  • Director: Nick Stuccio
  • Director of Production: Keighty McLallen
  • Associate Production Manager: Kelly Orenshaw
  • Stage Manager | Production Manager: Amanda Kijak
  • Artistic Producer: Zach Blackwood 
  • Associate Producer: Zoe McNichols
  • Technical Director: Scott Halstead
  • Master Electrician: Evelyn Swift Shuker
  • General Manager: Amy Kurzban
  • Client Services Manager: Mary Menchel
  • Marketing and Communications Director: Claire Frisbie
Marketing Adviser: Carrie Gorn (Perpetual Motion PR)
Exhibition Design: Metcalfe Architecture & Design
  • Partner, Museum Services: Aaron Goldblatt
  • Design Director: Jason Manning
Beachgoer Recruitment: Witty Gritty
  • CEO: Michelle Freeman
  • Outreach and Engagement: Marcus Donald
  • Content Engagement: Lou Caltabiano
  • Creative Manager: Jaison Smulski
  • Engagement and Experiences Operations: Colleen Walsh
Photography: Johanna Austin, Aaron Igler
Videographer: Brandon Hodnett

Special thanks to: Ajay Nair, Jeff Rutenbeck, Rebecca Kohn, Joe Sun, Brigette A. Bryant, Alison LaLond-Wyant, Mimi Bassetti, Molly Foster, Jamar Nicholas, Cara Palladino,  Jen Retter, Lisa Stephens, Tony Zimba, Elizabeth Ferrell, Carole Loeffler, Marianne Miserandino, Prash Naidu, Mark Wade, Kat Bleiweiss, Julia Maurer, Harley Cannella, Natasha Litwinow, Ibrahim Sillah, Rob Edmondson, Jim Everets, InProduction,  Elizabeth Moreau, Stonie Darling, Jimmy Walden, Sarah Garvey, David Binder, Lieven Bertels, Pia Kishore Agrawal, Kay Matschullat, Peter Meanwell, Marina McDougall, Eileen Neff, Rob Carpick and Parker LaMascus, Israel Burshatin, Cynthia Veloric, Alice Beamesderfer, Rob Carpick, Parker LaMascus, Marina McDougall, Cynthia Veloric, Eileen Neff,  and Israel Burshatin.