Open Culture previews our upcoming festival performing every crankie and every song from our 8-year (7-year? 11-year? depends on who you ask) poetry cycle. Ayun Halliday writes that “The resulting ‘proto music videos’ are voluptuously intimate affairs, with plenty of time to reflect upon the original texts’ explicit sexuality, the gorgeous urban decay that so preoccupied one of Romantic poetry’s naughtiest boys.”
Episode 9: Unquenched
The Chicago Reader wrote of Episode 9’s “lovely, sweet-minded kind of darkness,” highlighting especially (translator) Mickle Maher’s “slangy, comic treatment of “L’Avertisseur” (about the nasty yellow snake living in every man’s heart).”
WBEZ‘s Tony Sarabia interviewed Theater Oobleck ensemble members and performers from the cast of Unquenched in a segment of The Morning Shift that included live previews of “Autumn Sonnet” and “Sad Madrigal.”
Episode 8: Delicious Night
New City Stage called our 8th show “simultaneously experimentally adventurous and nostalgic” in the way that it “calls upon past works and past methods to create a wholly new experience.”
Episode 7: The King Of Rain
Phillip Montoro of The Reader writes “this seventh episode of Theater Oobleck’s Baudelaire in a Box sets lively new English translations of poems from … The Flowers of Evil to witty acoustic songs,” paired with Dave Buchen’s “starkly whimsical” crankie illustrations.
“The tunes borrow indiscriminately from Tin Pan Alley pop, vintage country, and coffeehouse folk … and they often feel self-consciously maudlin or perversely jaunty, as though they’re tweaking the turbid angst of Baudelaire’s poetry … The translations can be playful too—somehow I doubt Baudelaire’s original text uses “hummus” for a rhyme. Only once, on Sad Brad Smith’s rendition of “Grieving and Wandering,” does the troupe match bleak music to bleak verses, and the effect is so wrenchingly mournful it’s almost startling.”
Episode 6: Elevation
In the Chicago Arts Journal, Ira S. Murfin writes that Dave Buchen’s cranky images “lyrically, sometimes wittily, distill the poems’ images, marrying word to picture and finding, in meandering and continuous motion, a visual corollary for song.”
“Ugliness in beauty, beautiful ugliness, with a new layer of beauty in the form of song.” Writing in Ordinary Times, the semi-anonymous “Chris” contrasts Addie Horan’s “Mists and Rains” with Chris Schoen’s more minimalist and somber early songs, writing “There is a lightness that contrasts with the sentiment of the poem, in which a “gloomy heart” longs for the cold and wet of the worst the seasons bring. I find it mesmerizing.”
Episode 5: Possession
Gaper’s Block’s Kara Vanderhijl writes that “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.”
“It’s entrancing and provides a lot of food for thought about how words, images and music are perceived and interact,” said Madison Wisonsin’s Letter From Here blog, after our Fall 2012 performance at the Wisconsin Book Festival.
Episode 4: Bad Luck
Indyweek’s Jordan Lawrence previews our May 2012 show in Chapel Hill, NC, highlighting the project’s “gross beauty.” More on that show from Cliff Bellamy in The Herald Sun. (Reprinted in Repeating Islands.com — the original link seems to be dead).
“A rare multidisciplinary collision that packs theater, literature and music into one event,” says Shufflemag.
Episode 3: Death and Other Excitements
“An act of extravagant artistic idiosyncrasy—a grand geste,” writes Tony Adler in the Chicago Reader.
Eric Bovee, writer of the excellent blog A Child’s Book of Scorpions of Medical Importance, writes, on a comment at Chris Schoen’s blog Underverse, the following best of all possible reviews. “I love this. I wasn’t aware of how clearly I needed more Baudelaire set to musical slideshows. Until now, I have had to satisfy myself with pictureless, old Leo Ferre recordings. Not only am I more than happy to pre-order, but you have instantly solved half of my Christmas list dilemmas. “