Possession: Baudelaire in a Box, Episode #5

Coming in November!

In the latest installment of Baudelaire in a Box, Theater Oobleck presents 16 new cantastorias adapted from the work of Charles Baudelaire.

Baudelaire in a Box, Episode 5: Possession
Wednesday – Sunday, November 14-18, 8pm
at Links Hall
3435 N. Sheffield
$15 suggested donation, “more if you’ve got it, free if you’re broke” tickets available at the door.
$15 Advance tickets available on-line.

Additional performance at
Wisconsin Book Festival
Sunday, November 11
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art
227 State Street, Madison, Wisconsin

Theater Oobleck returns to Links Hall this November with Possession: Baudelaire in a Box, Episode #5, 16 sung poems of poison, betrayal, and shame to be washed down with longing, lust, and liquor. Bathe in 16 poems by Charles Baudelaire set to music and performed by Jeff Dorchen, Ronnie Kuller, and Chris Schoen while yards and yards of paintings by Dave Buchen scroll by as in a 19th-century movie house of ill-repute.

These three very different musicians have each adapted five poems from Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. Mucca Pazza accordionist Ronnie Kuller performs her five poems – including “The Fountain of Blood” and “Beauty” – in the original French. Oobleck’s own Jeff Dorchen flies in from LA to sing his adaptations of such poems as “Metamorphosis of the Vampire” and “The Ghost.” Chris Schoen performs “Love and the Skull,” “The Cracked Bell,” and three more. The songs are performed live accompanied by scrolling paintings in a diptych “cranky.” As a nightcap, the prose poem “Get Drunk” will be performed by all the musicians in front of painted banners.

Dubbed “an act of extravagant artistic idiosyncrasy” by the Chicago Reader, Baudelaire in a Box is a serial cantastoria project based on Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal. 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.

It is a project so ambitious, so immense, that it cannot be contained on a single web page. And so:

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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