First, three or four songwriters each select a small batch of poems to translate into English.
The poems are taken from Charles Baudelaire’s 1857 classic The Flowers Of Evil (Les Fleurs du mal). Do the songwriters speak fluent French? Maybe. Perhaps. Un peut. Enough with the questions! They write songs from the translations, is the point.
Meanwhile, Oobleck founding member Dave Buchen creates illustrations of the poems, painting them onto long paper scrolls.
The scrolls are mounted into wooden frames, and fitted with handles, to be hand-cranked in all their crinkly pre-cinematic majesty. The songs sing the scrolls; the scrolls depict the songs. Each points back to the original poems, circuitously, refracted by time, forgetfulness, distraction, and, of course, wine.
It looks and sounds something like this:
To date, we have performed six episodes featuring over 70 new and unique cantastorias and crankies.
With music written and performed by 15 composers from across the United States, in over a dozen different venues in Chicago, New York, Madison, Chapel Hill, and San Juan.
Theater Oobleck plans to complete this project in 2017, after having created songs and scrolls for each poem in The Flowers of Evil, capping off the project with a multi-day festival featuring all our greatest hits, as well as never-before seen bonus material.
Our next show, Episode 7: The King of Rain, hits the stage on October 15, 2014.