New York Live Arts to Present Half Straddle's GHOST RINGS

New York Live Arts to Present Half Straddle's GHOST RINGS

Following the success of their production of Ancient Lives at the Kitchen in 2015, Half Straddle, New York's captivating Obie-winning experimental theater troupe that has developed an international following, premieres Ghost Rings, a theatrical pop song cycle that burrows and soars through the twisted layers of love among best friends and a family band of yesteryear. Featuring Tina Satter, Chris Giarmo, Erin Markey, and Kristen Sieh, this world premiere will be presented for two weeks only, April 22 - 30, 2016, at New York Live Arts. For information and tickets, visit newyorklivesarts.org or call 212.924.0077.

Building on their eclectic style that merges original song and text, creator Tina Satter and composers Chris Giarmo and Erin Markey wrote the original score, crafting a song cycle embedded into a story that merges memories of sisterhood and romantic friendship with the dynamics of a live band.

Satter and Giarmo have collaborated on lyrics and music for all their Half Straddle shows, as original scores and songs play an important role in their work. "For Ghost Rings, Chris and I wanted to dig more deeply into the musical possibilities as we made a new piece and wanted to work with virtuosic singers to explore that," states Satter. Performers Markey and Sieh are both trained singers as well as accomplished actors, Giarmo is a composer a musician, and Satter, who wrote the lyrics for the songs but did not play an instrument, studied how to play the drums to perform in the piece.

Songs interwoven with dialogue make up the "set list" of the show. Through the structure of a concert Ghost Rings loosely unfolds the narrative of two friends, Samantha and Shawna, as they re-enact their romance as adolescents. The piece contrasts the dynamic between these two fictional characters with Satter's real-life relationship to her estranged sister, reflecting on their imagined childhood band as she now plays in an invented band with her Half Straddle collaborators. The song cycle is put in motion by Shawna's adult desire to have a baby with Samantha. As the band plays, unhelpful spirit animals lead the women down strange paths into feelings they thought they had left to their youth.

Ghost Rings is a tender, harrowingly funny musical experience that offers a melodic, impressionistic, and vulnerable reckoning with broken families, romantic friendship, and the ultimate leap into adulthood.

"The show doesn't have the answers on how to love people closest to you who change or leave," Satter says, "but a concert, such a communal ritual, becomes a way for us and the audience to be in a space together emotionally driven by the music. The making and performing of the piece becomes this vulnerable and potent way to continue to figure out a kind of love."

Ghost Rings was developed in part through work at a Performing Garage Residency, the Orchard Project, and Pataphysics Playwriting workshop.

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