The Half Straddle Songbook: Music from Plays and Performances
December 20 2012 at 19:00
Presented as part of the New Museum’s RE:NEW RE:PLAY Performance Residency Series, Half Straddle’s residency “Chekhov (Thinking of You)” took a closer look at the season’s unusual trend of radical Chekhov adaptations taking place around New York City at venues such as Soho Rep, Performance Space 122, River to River, Hartford Stage, and other major commercial productions on Broadway and elsewhere. A series of related programs with notable boundary-defying contemporary theater makers provided context and research for the development of Half Straddle’s Seagull (Thinking of you), while exploding the relative concept of theatrical “realism” that originated with Anton Chekhov and Constantin Stanislavski.
Half Straddle is a contemporary performance group who makes plays and performances with music—with lyrics by playwright Tina Satter and music by composer Chris Giarmo. In anticipation of the New York premiere of Half Straddle’s Seagull (Thinking of You), the concert “The Half Straddle Songbook” was presented in conjunction with the group’s residency at the New Museum and offered a selection of interpretations of music from various Half Straddle shows, performed by members of the Half Straddle company and backed by a live band. Giarmo’s compositions juxtaposed plaintive vocals and piano-based pop with short, repetitive samples programmed into propulsive, rhythmic loops, while Satter’s lyrics combined willfully awkward non sequiturs with accessible and slyly subversive themes of innocent longing and defiant alienation.