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Maspeth’s Knockdown Center to premiere opera inspired by Hurricane Sandy victims

Photo courtesy of Anna Groth Shive

Nearly three years after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of south Queens, music collective thingNY will be using a unique art form to explore the reactions of individuals affected by the superstorm.

The opera “This Takes Place Close By” will premiere at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth on Sept. 24 to 27 and will follow the lives of six individuals whose lives are completely changed after the natural disaster.

Formed in 2006, thingNY is a group of composer-performers who combine electronic and chamber music with opera, improvisation, theater, text, song and installation.

The collective’s latest opera will take the audience through five scenes that include a woman crushed under a building, a FEMA executive experiencing victimhood, a musician in the process of holding a relief concert and a shop owner who continues to rebuild storm after storm.

The collective hopes to address issues such as voyeurism, the anxiety of privilege and the emotional distance humans keep between themselves and disasters in the 50,000-square-foot space.

“This Takes Place Close By” will be directed by Ashley Tata and performed by Gelsey Bell, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder and Jeffrey Young. The opera takes place at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, and 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To purchase tickets online, visit the Knockdown Center website.

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