“If you get this in front of the right young women, you could change their lives.”
The quote above is from show attendee Lexie Lowell about “Afraid of Karma,” an avant-garde multimedia show created by Harmony Jupiter (Cyrenne). “Karma” is about Jupiter overcoming the tragic loss of her sister Hannah Engle after she was killed by a drunk driver on January 22, 2006 crossing the street in New York City. Hannah was 25 and half a semester away from earning her double-masters from NYU in non-profit management and Judaic Studies.
Ever since Hannah’s death, Jupiter has been on a self-healing journey and through the Cyrenne character has taken the process a huge step forward. One of the most satisfying and productive steps in that process has been the creation of “Afraid of Karma.” The show addresses not only her issues but many of the personal demons/disorders that people face daily, like drunk-driving, addiction, eating disorders, body image, AIDS, broken families, and of course – young love.
“The show is funny, provocative, edgy, unique and inspiring” – actress Karla Mosley.
Cyrenne is a tricky man-eater who falls victim to her own karma. She digs deep into her past looking for the roots of her behavior so she can heal it and change. “Afraid of Karma” is about becoming whole and conscious. Cyrenne assures us that she’s still on her own journey.
The show has been accepted into the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and Jupiter is thrilled to have the opportunity to share this unique show with a wider audience.
The message of Cyrenne is, “When we’re unconscious of our karma, we pass it along from generation to generation. The way to change that karma is to be of service. Sharing Hannah’s story creates the potential for psychic healing. We’ve all experienced loss, pain and relationship challenges. When our karma is unconscious and fractured, we harm ourselves, and others. Sometimes in big ways like tragic car crashes, sometimes in more socially acceptable ways, like messy relationships.”
“Karma” was developed in 2014 – after each of the five live performances in Los Angeles, Jupiter and her producing partner Jonathan Baker did rewrites, added songs and went further with the story. They did a workshop in March 2014, followed by shows in May and June at M Bar (now Nine on Vine), then shows in October and November at Molly Malone’s.
Baker previously worked in New York on Broadway, developing shows for the Nederlanders such as Billy Joel’s MOVIN’ OUT, produced shows at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, and worked at Sony Pictures in feature film on over 40 movies including Big Fish, Adaptation and Lords of Dogtown. He also teaches entertainment economics and producing for Carnegie Mellon University.
The existential questioning that came along with Jupiter’s tragedy pushed her to delve even more deeply into her music and spiritual search. She graduated from the Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Institute Individual program in 2012 and continues to practice regularly. She has worked with a shaman in the Sacred Valley of Peru and does channeling and energy work. She is a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and UC Berkeley (College of Chemistry, minor in French) and co-authored MCAT 45 (Simon & Schuster).
Jupiter has personally invested her own money to get the show this far. Now that it’s gaining more traction and attention, she’s writing more material, adding new songs, choreography, and bringing live musicians into the mix. A projector plays videos during the songs and there are various storyline photos that appear on screen during the monologue portions with onstage costume changes and onstage interaction with another actor. The show’s positive message is driven through by its overall dark, avant-garde, dominatrix-inspired style, look and feel. (At times) random audience members are also brought up on stage for impromptu parts of the show, keeping each performance fresh and unique. It’s a solo burlesque Vaudeville-esque show with a dramatic visual sprinkling of Operation Mindcrime meets Pink Floyd thrown in on a club level.
Jupiter has started a Kickstarter campaign with $10,000 as the initial target and $27,000 being ideal to help cover the cost of taking “Afraid of Karma” to the Hollywood Fringe Festival. The money will be used for enhanced show elements in order to take this vision to the next level and get it out to those who’ve been affected by drunk driving and other issues.
The story’s music shares a love of electro-techno pop with tastes of acoustic, jazz and a little bit of country. The title track starts out atmospheric, playing the wave of retribution – no need to fear it. The more serious tone of “Siren” takes up distorted, computerized vocals. Bells ring on “Make Believe” with a Middle Eastern jingle spell-casting aura. “Frozen Without You” reminds us it was six years ago and Hannah’s memory still walks with her like a shadow across the street amongst strangers. The stage gets jazzy on “Puzzle Piece” with 50’s style radio singers. A twisted transistor and synthesizer knock out 80’s beats – Toni Basil meets Switchblade Symphony in a cheer off with bladed pom pom’s at “3AM.”
Jupiter continues to gain attention and support for her cause with over 70 backers believing in her mission so far.