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Theatre Wed Oct 02 2013

Theatre Oobleck's "Baudelaire in a Box"

baudelaireinabox.jpg

At The Hideout last night most were drinking beer, some whiskey, but the drink of choice should have been absinthe as Theater Oobleck's performance of POSSESSION: Baudelaire in a Box, Episode #5 unfolded.

And "unfold" it did: as Jeff Dorchen, Ronnie Kuller and Chris Schoen sang 16 of the poems from French poet Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal, artist Dave Buchen accompanied with scrolls of whimsical illustrations. His angular figures leaned on bars, smoking, their eyes wide; the faces of women beloved and lost to the poet stared out at the audience, crimson and green lips pouting; skulls, vampires, and the flames of hell were slowly unveiled as Buchen unwound the scrolls in time to the music. Like Baudelaire's poems, which connect profound urban ennui to sometimes bawdy, sometimes gory imagery, the illustrations linked one non-sequitur to the next with sometimes humorous, sometimes distressing strokes.

Although the French read Baudelaire with great seriousness, one can only imagine that the poet himself meant for them to be read -- or sung -- as they were last night: alternating between the soulful and the humorous, accompanied by Dorchen's folksy guitar or Kuller's jazz-club piano. With Buchen's illustrations rolling by, and the poems sighing or screaming, wooing or wailing, the experience was reminiscent of a silent film: the songs were the speeches given to the quiet world of Buchen's drawings.

Episode #6, ELEVATION, opens in Brooklyn in three weeks and will make its way to Chicago in March 2014. But in case you miss it, don't worry: the "Baudelaire in a Box" project, which began in 2010, will finish putting Les Fleurs du Mal to music and canvas in 2017 for the 150th anniversary of Baudelaire's death, at which time Dave Buchen, Chris Schoen and the many other musicians who have now joined them will perform the collection in its entirety.

 
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mary asmar / October 7, 2013 12:43 PM

David...You are a wonder !! Would love to have been able to see the scrolls...and hear some of the music. Good luck with the next venture....sounds most exiting.
Mary

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

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