Live Soundtracks for Movies that Don’t Yet Exist

Stage… Musician… Instrument… Movie Theater Screen… The musician is standing alone with his instrument on the stage, communicating with the actors on the screen through dialogues and mutual interactions. This interaction creates the illusion that the live soundtracks to a movie are being created, right there right then, with the contribution of both the stage and the screen. The musician is improvising on the stage whilst the actors are seen on the screen recording (rather, lip-syncing) the texts, sound effects and foley of the movie in an off-camera setting. The actors on the screen are synchronized to the actions on the stage, creating the illusion that the “live” performance is in fact pre-recorded. As the performance progresses, the boundary between reality and dream disappears. A spectator finds himself in the virtual world, where the “behind the scenes” in fact take the front stage.
The performance consists of a compilation of live soundtracks each telling a different story. The performance begins with the parody of a classic trashy movie: a stolen car, an annoying GPS, police chases and sex… It then goes on to Beethoven's Mind, where A.B. on the stage speaks to A.B. on the screen and together they play Beethoven's last piano sonata with four hands. Finally all hell breaks loose. The Yiddish prayer on the stage becomes a soundtrack to a Japanese movie on the screen, dying Dolly the sheep is bleating and playing the trumpet until his last breath and acting school students obey “laughter” and “quiet” signals in response to a show.

The performance is a symbiosis of music and technology, a mix of styles and genres in a very innovative way. The stage belongs to Avi Benjamin – a unique musician who creates the music studio that is present behind the scenes of every movie. A.B. on the stage, together with isolated clips on the screen, creates the live soundtracks for non-existent movies – and that itself is the performance! A.B. embraces and challenges the carefully camouflaged process that is normally hidden behind closed curtains. Instead of hiding this component, A.B. has transformed it into a dynamic and riveting performance…front stage.

…This unusual show is absolutely different from anything we could expect... It has depth, subtlety, intimacy, originality, allusion, pain, philosophy of life, and a million colors of sound and feelings. It is a spectacular intellectual audio-visual experience...
Ora Binur, Maariv, Israel, June 11th, 2012
…With razor sharp timing, aided by state-of-the art technology, with wild multilingual and colorful humor, without boundaries, Benjamin presents his soundtracks with a mixture of reality and imagination…"
Noam Ben-Zeev, Haaretz, Israel, March 25th, 2012
…His performance skills, originality, and presence captured the attention of the audience. It was great fun to watch and to listen to it"
Silvia Matheus, Computer Music Journal, 35 (2), 2011
..Their sense for staging and drama, along with Benjamin's training, as a classical pianist and composer are very much in evidence. The audience responded enthusiastically and is now primed and ready for the next installment in this ongoing project.
Gilles Jobin, Kyma Newsletter, February 3rd, 2010
On-screen performers:
Evgenia Dodina, Michal Weinberg, Neta Shpiegelman, Ilya Mem and Noemi Meylakh. Voice-over: Lihi Hanoch (reads her poem), Makiko Ikehara, Noa Koler, Yuval Yanai, Ori Yaniv, Alon Friedmann and Simona Barkan. 
Sound and Technology
Michael Vaisburd. 
Rami Oren, Ilya Mem and Eugene Berger.