From the creative direction of Dr. Susan Lim, Dr. Christina Teenz Taz comes Fantasy of Companionship Between Human and Inanimate, a genre-bending fantasy orchestral short. It blends science, love, music, and art together into a dream-like concoction.
The musical features a lion from Tanzania whose soul after death transports into a plushie given to a young girl named Christina. She names this plush lion Alan, and together she and Alan become inseparable friends.
The story unfolds like a fairytale with soothing narration from Adrian Peacock. He shares the journey of Christina as she and Alan decide to do something remarkable. With the help of a fellow scientist, Christina sets up a procedure to quantum entangle her soul with Alan so that they can live together as soulmates. With this new “scientific” (well, let’s say sci-fi) breakthrough, Alan is able to achieve what he desires most, an ability to live as freely as he sees himself.
While there are strengths to the story, the weak link came in the form of a villain who wished to crack the genetic code of Alan in order to take him down. Other than being a hunter, it seemed unmotivated to have a mustache-twirling villain when the villain could have come from something internal within Christina and Alan during or after the process of entanglement. After all, what could Alan have done to truly warrant revenge from this villain? All Alan has done is exist. That being said, in a story for families and younger audiences, it might be charming or fun to have a heightened villain.
The music lead by Manu Martin is wonderful. It engrosses you with its emphasis on moody piano. With such a wonderful voice like Matthieu Eymard’s, it was a shame to not have heard it more throughout the piece. Some of the sound levels from the orchestration overpowered his vocals.
The wonder innate in the orchestration is carried into the visuals. Director of animation Samudra Kajal Saikia maintains a dreamy, impressionist style throughout the piece that highlights the fantastical nature of the short. The scenes of Alan and Christina spending time together are charming, and invoke comforting nostalgia. Many are likely to relate to a favorite toy we wish remained a part of us forever.
Fantasy of Companionship is a heartwarming fantasy musical that is both imaginative and invites us to dream of the possibilities of modern science. It has a strong emotional core that kids and families can relate to.