Friday, Jan. 29, 2010

A Single Performance Of A Soldier's Tale

In Tandem and Milwaukee Chamber Present Stravinsky

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Igor Stravinsky

Over the course of the past few months, there have been a number of single-performance productions making it to local stages on Sundays. The latest is a really interesting collaboration between the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra and In Tandem Theatre.

 The two groups are teaming-up to present a staging of Igor Sravinsky’s A Soldiers Tale this coming Sunday, January 31st at 3pm.  A seven-piece chamber group under the baton of Richard Hynson performs Stravinsky’s music accompanied by a cast of three performing the narrative. In Tandem co-founder Chris Flieller narrates the story. Youngblood co-founder Michael Cotey plays a soldier who struggles against the devil, played here by Bill Watson, who serves as the head of the acting program at UWM.

The story is a 1918 re-telling of the story of Faust, which would tell you that things probably don’t go very well for the soldier.

The choice of venue for the intimate retelling of a Faustian tale is particularly interesting.  A Soldier’s Tale will be performed at the Cavalry Presbyterian Church on 935 West Wisconsin Avenue—The red church near Marquette that also houses In Tandem’s 10th Street Theatre. Built in the late 19th century the church has a very historic look and feel to it that should serve the production exceedingly well. Running for only one performance, this is likely to be one of those productions that have an almost existential kind of power. The ritual of getting a group of nearly a dozen people together to rehearse and prepare for a single performance is kind of a ritualistic undertaking. It’s more of an event than a show—something that lives very close to the moment as it unravels onstage. It is yet another show that I am sorry to be missing this season.

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