Possession: Baudelaire in a Box, Episode #5 (at the HideOut)

One more time… One night only.

We are pleased to bring back the fifth installment of Baudelaire in a Box, as part of Ronnie Kuller’s October Tuesday Night Residency at the HideOut. Theater Oobleck will present 16 cantastorias adapted from the work of Charles Baudelaire.

Ronnie Kuller Tuesday Night Residency at the Hideout
Featuring Theater Oobleck’s
Baudelaire in a Box, Episode 5: Possession
With Opening Act: Eighty Foots Per Minute

Tuesday, October 1, 9pm
1354 West Wabansia

Tickets $5 suggested donation, more if you’ve got it, free if you’re broke, available at the door

Welcome to Oobleck’s19th-century movie house of ill-repute. Possession: Baudelaire in a Box, Episode #5 features songs of poison, betrayal, and shame to be washed down with longing, lust, and liquor. Charles Baudelaire’s notorious poems are set to music and performed by Ronnie Kuller, Chris Schoen, and Jeff Dorchen, as yards and yards of Dave Buchen’s beautiful and witty paintings scroll by as an interactive backdrop.

Chris, Ronnie, & Jeff have each adapted five poems from Baudelaire’s 1857 book Les Fleurs du mal. Mucca Pazza accordionist Ronnie Kuller performs her five poems – including “The Fountain of Blood” and “Beauty” – in the original French. Jeff Dorchen performs his English adaptations of such poems as “Metamorphosis of the Vampire” and “The Ghost.” Chris Schoen performs his own translations of “Love and the Skull,” “The Cracked Bell,” and three more. As a nightcap, the prose poem “Get Drunk” will be performed by Dave Buchen.

Dubbed “an act of extravagant artistic idiosyncrasy” by the Chicago Reader, Baudelaire in a Box is a serial cantastoria project based on the work of Charles Baudelaire. Over the course of seven years (culminating in 2017, the sesquicentennial of Baudelaire’s death), the project will adapt each poem from Fleurs du mal as a unique cantastoria, pairing each musical adapation with “crankies” designed and illustrated by Dave Buchen. Over 30 poems have already been adapted and performed in Chicago, New York, North Carolina, San Juan, and Madison, Wisconsin, by Buchen, Schoen, and a motley cast of collaborators.

Oobleck fans will recognize the three performers in the opening act: they are Troy Martin, Emmy Bean, and Chris Schoen performing as Eighty Foots Per Minute.

Baudelaire in a Box a project so ambitious, so immense, that it cannot be contained on a single web page. And so:

Here’s a video of Chris Schoen and Emmy Bean performing “Cupid and the Skull” from Possession.

Here’s a selection of videos from past Episodes.

Want an audio taste? Here’s a sneak preview from the forthcoming Baudelaire in a Box album “Heaven or Hell or Wherever,” featuring Schoen, Emmy Bean, John Szymanski, Ann Speroni (Art of Flying), and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw).

Dave is blogging about the process here, at the Baudelaire in a Box Blog.

Chris blogs his translations here.

A video explanation of the cantastoria art form is presented by our colleague Clare Dolan here.

And learn more about Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal here.

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