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a journey within

Scientists know so much about what’s far above us. We know the weight of the Moon. We know the composition of stars in galaxies millions of light years away. But we know comparatively little about what lies just a few dozen miles below our feet.

That which is beneath is a mystery.

The journey within changes things

Beneath is a media-rich, live performance about the science of the Earth’s deep interior.

Alternatively whimsical, poetic, and awe-inspiring, this transdisciplinary fusion of current scientific research and live theatre peers into the mysteries of what lies far below the surface. Beneath features a geologist ballerina dancing catastrophic planetary cycles, a bass-playing geophysicist interacting with his data through trip-hop bass-lines, and a belly-dancing theoretical astrophysicist embodying seismic waves. Audiences also visit the lab of a mineral physicist who uses diamonds to unlock the mysteries of the deep, and talk with the first woman to lead a NASA mission beyond Earth’s orbit to discover why we look up and out to see down and in. Beneath introduces audiences to the wonders of our planet’s interior and the people who study it. Compelling, fun, and approachable, Beneath illustrates the dynamic systems of the Earth and shows the ways in which humans are connected to the immense and ancient processes of our planet.


Beneath is the product of a multiyear collaboration among a team of planetary scientists, theatre makers, performance artists, and media designers based at Arizona State University in collaboration with animators, artists, and media designers, from across the US, including the performance group Cloud Eye Control, Obscura Digital Creative Studio, and Ohio State University. These partnerships have served to redefine the ways in which performance can function as both an arts-led research practice and forum for engaged learning. In both its goals and methods, Beneath provides a model for transdisciplinary collaboration and public outreach in science.

Production Team:

Lead Artist                                          Lance Gharavi

Lead Scientist                                     Ed Garnero

Director                                               Erika Hughes

Sound Designer                                 Stephen Christensen

Systems & Visualization Designer     Ian Shelanskey

Choreographer                                   Liz Lerman

Composer                                           Dan Puccio

Lead Media Designer                        Jake Pinholster

Media Designers                                Miwa Matreyek

                                                             Boyd Branch

                                                             Alex Oliszewski

                                                             Dallas Nichols

                                                             Elora Mastison

Production Manager                          Laura Winneman


Performer                                            Heather Lee Harper

Petrologist, Performer                       Christy Till

Astrophysicist, Performer                   Patrick Young

Seismologist, Performer                    Ed Garnero

Planetary Scientist                              Lindy Elkins-Tanton

Experimental Mineral Physicist         Dan Shim

development team:

Lead Media Design                            Daniel Fine

Systems Design                                  Matthew Ragan

Production Design                             Brunella Provvidente

Associate Artist                                   Julie Rada

Media Design                                     Alex Oliszewski

Lighting Design                                  Mollie Flanagan

Production Manager                          Melissa Dickman

It’s easier to look up and out than it is to look down anD in.

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