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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Slovenia’s Vlado Kreslin in Milwaukee for ‘Three Other Sisters’

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Isabelle Kralj has received five grants from the Slovenian government and the U.S. Embassy to create new works in Ljubljana, Slovenia, with dancers and composers from the European nation. In 2006, she created a performance using the music of Vlado Kreslin, Slovenia’s most beloved singer/songwriter. Now, with her co-director in Theatre Gigante, Mark Anderson, and two esteemed Milwaukee dance artists, Janet Lilly and Simone Ferro, Kralj has made a new hybrid-theater piece to Kreslin’s music. Thanks to the Slovenian government, Kreslin is here to perform the score live with Seth Warren-Crow adding drums. Three Other Sisters premieres March 11-13 at the Off-Broadway Theatre with shows at 8 p.m. In addition, Kreslin will give a solo concert of his music and the Slovenian folk music that influenced him 3 p.m. Sunday, March 14, also at Off-Broadway. It’s no small thing: The Slovenian consul general is coming and Slovenia’s president is famously a fan.

A new work by Kralj and Anderson is also no small thing, and their partnership with Lilly and Ferro is exciting. Three Other Sisters is based on a Montenegrin tale, unrelated to Chekhov’s play, of three sisters in love with a sailor who promised himself to each of them, unbeknownst to the others, then went to sea, never to return. In a mansion on the coast, the sisters wait until death for their Godot.

Kreslin also stands in for the missing sailor. Fragments of text, movement and music are arranged like the stanzas of an epic poem or ballad. Why choose this story? Kralj said, “Because we all deal with yearning.” The creators imagined all the possibilities of the women’s experiences, suspicions, dreams. The spoken texts came from the dancers answering questions in character: What did you do after one year of waiting? Ten years? Twenty?

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