Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS

Striding Lion InterArts Workshop presents their eighth full-length production, the world premiere of "Birdsongs," a down-the-rabbit-hole look at one man's search for a particularly fascinating girl in a digital world. Based on and featuring the music of Striding Lion's original concept album of the same name, "Birdsongs" tells the story of the Birdwatcher, who finds himself enraptured with a girl he discovers online, who leads him on a journey through the nooks and crannies of an internet-based world. This absurdist rock comedy explores a world of narcissism and voyeurism, of self-branding and self-marketing, where people come and go quickly, and are not always who they seem to be. The piece runs about 80 minutes without intermission.

"Birdsongs" is a new American musical featuring a live, five-piece rock band playing ten original rock compositions (created by the Striding Lion ensemble in winter 2008); athletic, eclectic and high-energy modern dance and movement including pedestrian gesture, the formal traditions of modern and jazz dance, and the more informal traditions of street, club, and rock concert dance; with original and found text created and gathered collaboratively by the ensemble through a series of workshops in the fall of last year. Mostly found on the internet, the script consists of blog entries (original and found), Wikipedia entries, chatroom conversations, snippets of famous poetry and prose, technical jargon, forwarded e-mails containing famous urban myths, dialogue inspired by instant messaging conversations, and Facebook status updates.

The Galaxie, Studio A , 2603 W. Barry, Chicago, IL, 60618
One block west of CTA #49 Western bus, and two blocks south of CTA #77 Belmont bus.
Free parking; handicapped accessible.

WHEN: Opens Friday, April 10, 2009, 8 p.m. (Good Friday)
Five shows total (no previews) - in addition to the April 10th opening, shows are also at
8 p.m. on Saturdays, April 11 and April 18, and Friday, April 17, plus
3 p.m. on Sunday, April 19 (closing performance)

TICKETS: Publish this number: 800-838-3006; www.brownpapertickets.com; or at the door.
$15 for all regular performances
$12 for students and seniors with ID
$10 for each ticket in groups of ten or more

The "Birdsongs" soundtrack is available for purchase on iTunes and CDBaby for $15, and will also be available for purchase at performances for a discounted price of $10 (with a ticket purchase to the show).

Amanda Berg Wilson (Director), Allison Kurtz (Choreographer), Ben Wilson (Music Director), Renee Callahan (Assistant Director), Erin Van Ness (Producer), Matthew Gawryk and Nic Jones (Lighting Design), Andrei Onegin (Scenic Design), Tiffany Puterbaugh (Costume Design), Mike Georges (Sound Technician), and Lauren Girard (Stage Manager). The music is composed by the Striding Lion ensemble, under the direction of Ben Wilson.

ENSEMBLE: Otis Fine (The Birdwatcher), Danielle Puterbaugh (The Girl), Renee Callahan, Dana Dardai, Allison Kurtz, Nicole Miller, Christian Rogala, and Amanda Berg Wilson.

BAND: John Gray (guitar), Christian Rogala (percussion/keys), Rick Vitek (drums), Ben Wilson (leader/bass), and another keyboardist (TBD).

Striding Lion is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultivating a collaborative community through interdisciplinary arts programming. Striding Lion is committed to the empowerment of the independent artist, to the enrichment and entertainment of diverse audiences, and to the evolution and advancement of artistic expression.

Striding Lion InterArts Workshop was founded in 2001 by Annie Beserra, Amanda Berg Wilson, and Carissa Johnson to bring artists of different disciplines together to create definition-defying, collaboratively-developed interdisciplinary performance. Friends from their Texas childhood, Beserra, a choreographer and dancer, and Berg Wilson, a theater artist, wanted a place where they could collaborate together outside of their traditional disciplinary structures, and were soon joined by a group of like-minded musician/composers, dancer/choreographers, and actor/theater artists. Taking its name from the ancient Babylonian symbol of power, glory, and community celebration, Striding Lion was born.

In its eight-year history, Striding Lion's multi-disciplinary ensemble has produced seven originally-conceived, full-length productions, including "Daughter of Jacob" (2001), "Cowboy Mouth" (2002)," Hysteria" (2003), "Ill Met By Moonlight" (2004), "Billy the Mountain and Other Wartime Stories" (2005) (remounted as "Billy the Mountain and Other American Card Tricks" in 2006), and "Gerrymander and Reasons for Moving" (2007). In 2008, Striding Lion recorded the all-original concept album "Birdsongs," which is the basis of its latest interdisciplinary work. In devising work, Striding Lion utilizes a unique creative methodology that stresses the common vocabulary between music, theater, and dance; recognizes both the individual artist's and the ensemble's contribution in the process of storytelling; and formulates new performance form by exploiting traditional disciplinary structures, employing them when useful, and discarding them when more stage-worthy moments suggest themselves. Striding Lion believes the cross pollination of performance disciplines produces original and vital work appropriate for 21st century audiences. Striding Lion's new work for 2009-10 is being developed under the Working Title of "Pioneers."

In addition to its performance work, Striding Lion also serves throughout its season at artist residencies in schools and community centers throughout Chicago, where it utilizes its unique collaborative, interdisciplinary methodology to create new work with young artists.

Photos by Berg Wilson

 

Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS
Otis Fine

Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS
Allison Kurtz

Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS
Allison Kurtz

Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS
Otis Fine

Photo Flash: The Absurdist Rock Comedy BIRDSONGS
Otis Fine

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