Friday, May 12, 2017
Liars & Believers Present "Yellow Bird Chase" Conceived by Jason Slavick - Totally Enchanting and Ingenious
I had so much fun last night at the Calderwood Pavilion of the BCA. Liars & Believers have put together an absolutely enchanting piece - part circus and part theater - which they call "Yellow Bird Chase." The piece was conceived and directed by Jason Slavick , with writing help from the rest of the LAB Ensemble, in collaboration with Luminati.
The conceit is that the audience hears music and language coming from the performers. The music is sung primarily in English, but the actors speak in gibberish, forcing the listener to use other senses to decide what is happening in the story that is being acted out.
A group of three actors enter the theater, dressed as maintenance workers. The theater is decked out as a large janitor's closet, with equipment and supplies appropriate for cleaning a large office building. But they are also adorned as clowns, with appropriate clown noses. They encounter a beautiful yellow bird, who lays a golden egg. When the bird flies away, they are determined to follow it to collect more eggs and make their fortune. Their trek takes them to a desert, atop a high mountain, through the air in an airplane, and finally into an encounter with a frightening over-sized pirate. The props and set for these scenes are all assembled by the actors from cleaning supplies and equipment. The large pirate mask is a thing of genius. (I would love to show it, but my stubborn computer is not letting me copy the lovely images that LAB sent over this morning.) The yellow bird is formed from a pair of gloves, the camel they encounter in the desert is composed of a sheet, broomstick, and other accoutrements.
The creativity and ingenuity of this theater troupe is without parallel. The three actors are superb in their miming and in sustaining the gibberish, which proved to be internally consistent. The camel was always referred to as a "Humpety-Hump," and "Thank You" was always "Machu Pichu"! The three are Jesse Garlick as Marco, Rebecca Lehrhoff as Ruffles, and Rachel Wiese as Poodge, filling in for Glen Moore for a few performances.
While all of this delightful action is taking place, interspersed among the adventures of the travelers, there are jazzy and bluesy songs provided by the talented Luminati, featuring the wondrous vocal stylings of Johnny Blazes, backed up by trombonist Tim Lewandowski, and bassist Brendan Higgins. It all hangs together and flows perfectly. At one point, Mr. Lewandowski turned himself into a peg leg pirate using a plunger as his peg leg. Like Willy Wonka, these entertainers invite the audience to enter a world of pure imagination, and the experience is delicious. I could see anyone from the age of 3 to 93 enjoying this show.
Costumes Design is by Kendra Bell, Puppetry Direction and Design by Penny Benson, Scenic Design and Props by Rebecca Lehrhoff, Puppetry Coaching by Faye Dupras, Lighting Design by PJ Strachman, with Becca Leifer and Rachel Hock as Producers.
It runs through May 21st at the BCA. Get your tickets. Take your mother, grandmother, children, and grandchildren.
Liars and Believers Website