Time for Three performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16 at the KiMo Theatre, Fifth and Central NW. Tickets are $28, $32 and $42 for the general public and are available at www.kimotickets.com, at the KiMo box office, by calling 768-3522 or at the door. A limited number of $10 student tickets are available. By David Steinberg They were just three guys who studied at the Curtis Institute of Music, and in their spare they jammed for the fun of it. Jamming led to playing gigs and that in turn proved to be the foundation of a trio they formed more than 10 years ago. They named it Time for Three. Since then Time for Three's repertoire has become as diverse as the countries they perform in. The trio is just back from giving two concerts with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia. They'll be giving a concert Nov. 16 at the KiMo Theatre. Bassist Ranaan Meyer(cq) said the ensemble will play instrumental selections from its recent eponymously titled CD. One is a mashup of the Chaconne from a J.S. Bach partita with an arrangement of indy band Bon Iver's tune "Calgary."(cq all) "We also do Coldplay's 'UFO,' the Beatles' 'Norwegian Wood,' an original composition I wrote to pay homage to Bela Fleck that I call 'Banjo Love,' and a piece Nick wrote called 'Roundabout," Meyer said in a phone interview. Nick is violinist Nick Kendall. The ensemble's third member is violinist Zach De Pue. Meyer said that other compositions on the program will probably be decided just before they come on stage. "We have a ton of repertoire, all memorized, all thought through with some improvised sections," he said. "I usually suggest a set for the guys a half hour before (a concert)." Time for Three has performed at an international student conference in Japan, at Carnegie Hall a few times, and at London's Royal Albert Hall … and on the aircraft carrier Intrepid. The ensemble has played the national anthem at a National Football League game, a National Basketball Association game and at the Indianapolis 500. "We have a cool arrangement of the anthem," Meyer said. "It's a kind of rocked out Jimi Hendrix style, but it upholds the tradition of the patriotism that we believe it should." The group is continuing in residency at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. They do a "Happy Hour" series for the orchestra, which Meyer said caters to young professionals, and next month Time for Three will be a featured artist for the orchestra's holiday concert. The trio, he said, shares a love playing the 12 notes on the scale and various approaches to express them. Meyer has a special connection to Albuquerque. Robertson & Sons Violin Shop sold him his late 19th century double bass and the Robertson family is friends of Meyer. Chamber Music Albuquerque is presenting the Time for Three concert.
The UNM Songwriting Class Showcase is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 14 at the Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale SE. $5 for the general public, free for those with UNM ID.
By David Steinberg
The University of New Mexico
For Pip Ridgway, a junior exchange student from London, the songwriting class she takes at UNM is a confidence booster.
“The main thing is that it gives me so much confidence in my ability to write songs and to perform them. Before I had taken the class I didn’t think I could write songs very well. I had written some, but not many,” Ridgway said.
She and the eight other UNM students in the class – officially Music 435 – will get a chance to perform in front of an audience Friday, Nov. 14 at the Outpost Performance Space.
Each student will perform two songs.
At an earlier showcase at Winning Coffee, Ridgway said she was nervous but was pleased with her performance. The coffeehouse was packed for that showcase. She writes songs that are mostly autobiographical. “I find that the easiest to write. Every week (for class) we have to write a new song. (For a recent session) I wrote about true love and happily ever after,” Ridgway said.
For each class session, the teachers give the students different prompts. The prompt was to write a fairy tale song.
Teaching the class are David Bashwiner, an assistant professor of music and Kristina Jacobsen-Bia, an assistant professor of music and anthropology. Bashwiner and Jacobsen-Bia are also songwriters.
“I’ve played in country bands for years, steel guitar,” Jacobsen-Bia said. “I’ve played in country western bands in Navajo country.”
The UNM Music Department chair supported their suggestion to have the class, and to hold it off campus. It’s taught at the Albuquerque Press Club.
“We want to get the students out of the Music Building. We want them to be able to think outside the box,” Bashwiner said.
So much of the class has been about writing lyrics and about performance, though not about the quality of singing voice.
“It’s the way you talk to the audience before you perform. There’s storytelling involved. There’s a bit of acting. We work with particular chords, the harmonies, the melodies, sometimes to counterpoint the rhythm,” Bashwiner said.
“But it’s all talked about differently than the way you do it in a music theory class.” Because of the lyric writing, the students “get into a deeper part of themselves, and it’s about creating a relationship with the audience through musical storytelling,” he added.
Some, but not all, of the students are music major. One is a theater major, another a marketing major.
Though a 400-level, three-credit class, there’s no prerequisite. It’s an elective undergraduate class.
“We wanted to create an open class with a lot of flexibility, but also have students produce songs on a weekly basis. They need to accompany themselves on an instrument of their choice and that they’re comfortable with,” Jacobsen-Bia said. Students have to sing their own songs and accompany themselves on an instrument in class and at the showcases. There’s also in-class feedback.
“At the mid-semester showcase (at Winning) it was standing room only. The energy was unbelievable,” she said.
“The audience was so with the students. So it was a really good experience for them. For some it was their first time performing so we wanted a more casual introduction to music. At the Outpost, it will give them a more professional, established venue that mirrors what touring singer-songwriters perform in.”
BeBe La La performs at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 at Los Griegos Library, 1000 Griegos NW and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 25 at the Juan Tabo Library, 3407 Juan Tabo NE. The concerts are free. By David Steinberg Maryse Lapierre will bring her purloined accordion when she and Alicia Ultan perform in two Albuquerque library concerts this month. The duo calls itself BeBe La La and they play a mix of music, ranging from Ultan's original folk-Americana-art songs to French Canadian tunes, as well as French ballads and pop tunes. Lapierre acknowledged that she "stole" her father's accordion on a trip home to Quebec and brought it back. She learned to play it here. "…and now Alicia and I make harmonies together, supported by her guitar and viola, and the purloined squeezebox," Lapierre wrote in an email. "Our music is light and beautiful, or so we hope." Before moving to New Mexico, Lapierre had sung mostly French folk music. Her influences, she wrote, include "Gilles Vigneault, Marie-Jo Thério, Marie-Claire Séguin, Edith Piaf, artists from the boîte à chansons tradition, and lots of other French, Cajun, Acadian, and Québecois who have probably never been heard around these parts." After moving to New Mexico, she learned both English and Spanish, neither of which she had spoken before coming here. "I’ve been influenced by both local and world music, punk and pop, alt-country, and more than I can list, really," Lapierre wrote. Ultan said she and Lapierre first met here in about 2008 when a mutual friend invited them to sing together as a trio for a show. "We did some improvisational singing with her and learned a few tunes for the event and really enjoyed working together. … About eight months went by before Maryse and I got together again. I was no longer playing in the duo Charmed at that point and she emailed me to see if I'd want to try doing some music together," Ultan said in her email. They tried out a few of Ultan's originals and liked the way their voices blended. "We were also very much in a similar 'spiritual' place at the time and were both open to exploring and seeing what might happen," she said. "We love working out harmonies especially and figuring out how best to use the instruments available to us, and of course always introducing new songs to keep it fresh." Ultan and Lapierre, now good friends, also enjoy cooking and eating meals together. They became a formal duo in 2011, Ultan said, when it released two songs at a mini-CD release party. The event was well attended and the songs were well received, she said. "It was at that point that we decided we should do a full album, which we are now in the process of completing (nine of her original songs and one French ballad) at Wall of Sound Studio. We are looking to release it in early 2015," Ultan said. To finance the recording, they launched a GoFundME campaign. The website is http://www.GoFundMe.com/bebelalacd
The Adobe Theater presents “The Member of the Wedding” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9. Repeats Nov. 14-16. Tickets are $15 general public, $13 students and seniors, $11 SRO. For tickets call 898-9222 or at the door.
The theater is located at 9813 Fourth NW.
By David Steinberg
Carson McCullers’ play “The Member of the Wedding” tells a story of human relationships that are not unlike the weaves of an intricately braided fabric.
The Adobe Theater production, directed by James Cady, compellingly and warmly conveys those relationships, and their meaning to the characters.
The play is set in the kitchen of the Addams home in the American South in August 1945. But the play is relevant to the social fabric in today’s society.
At the heart of the story are three tied relationships – between a 12-year-old white girl, Frankie Addams, and the Addams’ black housekeeper, Berenice Sadie Brown; between Frankie and her younger cousin, John Henry West; and between John Henry and Berenice.
Frankie (Annie Elliott) is an agitated, intelligent girl in search of friends and yearning for the love and attention that she doesn’t get from her work-addicted single father; her mother is dead. So Frankie crazily plots to be the “member” of her older brother’s upcoming wedding by leaving town with him and his new bride.
Frankie does however receive attention and understanding from Berenice (Angela Littleton), a grounded, wise woman. Berenice is like a surrogate mother to Frankie and John Henry (Jackson Murrieta), a funny, alert, exploring youth.
Berenice relates her own past and present relationships – especially the struggles with her younger relative, Honey Camden Brown (Mikael Ayele). Honey smokes pot. He is an angry young man who gets in trouble with the law. Honey also represents a younger generation of blacks pushing for racial equality and foreshadowing the Civil Rights Movement.
In that regard Honey is contrasted with Berenice and her boyfriend TT Williams (Marc Lynch). Berenice and TT accept the racial status quo, which in the South of that time, meant blacks were still second-class citizens.
A postscript explains what happens to the main characters after the wedding.
This is a special cast. They are amateurs who perform so brilliantly you think they are professionals. Cady has gotten the most out of the actors and the actors have gotten the most out of their characters.
The Adobe’s small space brings audience members into the Addams kitchen and makes them feel unspoken and unseen neighbors.
“The Member of the Wedding” is a classic of the American theater. You should go see it to find out why.
The play debuted on Broadway in 1950. McCullers adapted it for the stage from her 1946 novella of the same name.
The Broadway production starred Ethel Waters as Berenice, Julie Harris as Frankie and Brandon deWilde as John Henry. All three were in the 1952 film version; Harris was nominated for an Oscar.
If you enjoy the play, you probably will like reading McCullers’ fiction. My favorite is “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”
"Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical" will have 10 performances at Popejoy Hall from Tuesday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 16. The hall is in UNM's Center for the Arts. Tickets range in price from $30 to $75 and are available at www.unmtickets.com, at ticket offices in the UNM Bookstore and The Pit, at area Albertsons supermarkets, by calling 925-5858 or toll-free 877-664-8661 or, if available, at the door. For group orders of 10 or more call 344-1779. By David Steinberg Stefan Karl has a different take on the Grinch than anyone who's read the book or seen the animated TV special about the notoriously mean-spirited character. That's because Karl becomes the Grinch in the stage production "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical." He's in his seventh season as the Grinch. "Each year you learn something new about the Grinch. This year it's about how emotional the Grinch is, how much of a Christmas child he really is, and about how far do we take this," Karl said in a phone interview. He was speaking from Springfield, Mo., where he and the cast, plus the technical staff of the North American touring company, are putting the show together. They'd already rehearsed it in New York City. "Each season we have to prepare. There's a lot that goes on. We have to get all the new people involved and we have to tack this show again, make sure of the lights and the set, brush up on our lines," Karl said. By the end of this holiday season, he will have done the role close to 500 performances since he took on the role in 2008. The current touring production will come to Popejoy Hall for 10 performances from Tuesday, Nov. 11 through Sunday, Nov. 16. Karl, a native of Iceland who lives in San Francisco, must ensures that his voice and his body remain healthy for the physically challenging lead role. On tour, the cast experience changes in climate, in humidity and in altitude. "When you are in a higher altitude, you tend to push your voice more. Your body tells you you are tired. As part of my job I have to check out these details," he said. "I drink a lot of tea with honey. I get a good night's rest. And I have to constantly be in the gym for the cardio." The musical features the hit songs "You're A Mean One Mr. Grinch" and "Welcome Christmas." The musical is based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss book "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The musical - and the book - are about how the Grinch schemes to steal Christmas from the people of Whoville. In the end, it relates the true meaning of the holiday. The New York Times said the musical is "100 times better than any bedside story." When he's not on the road with the musical, Karl portrays the villain Robbie Rotten in the popular children's TV series "LazyTown." Karl is the founder of the Icelandic nonprofit Rainbow Children, which raises funds to address the issue of child bullying.
The University of New Mexico presents Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Rodey Theatre, Center for the Arts, UNM main campus. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9. Repeats at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13-15 and 2 p.m. Nov. 16. Tickets are $15 general public, $12 seniors and UNM faculty, $10 students and UNM staff and are available at ticket offices in the UNM Bookstore and The Pit, by calling 925-5858, at www.unmtickets.com or at the door.
By David Steinberg
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
Supporting evidence: There have been two stagings of the romantic comedy in Albuquerque this year.
Here comes a third, this one by the University of New Mexico’s Theatre and Dance Department. Joe Alberti, assistant professor of theater, directs.
But popularity has its downside. Which is why Alberti is trying to avoid audience members moaning, “Yet another production of ‘Midsummer.'”
He’s insisted the UNM production be set apart from any other staging of the play.
“I am trying to explore it and trying to situate it in a way that audiences’ historical understanding of it doesn’t get in the way of their direct experience, being confronted anew. …I wanted to try to get people off balance,” Alberti said.
On that point, he’s addressed the play’s setting.
“So I talked about the time, where and when to set the play,” Alberti said. “A 1960s version? That’s been done to death. So what about the 1920s? I tried to move away from that.
“So what about setting it in an ethereal time and it’s not really on earth, slightly in the future and in a post-apocalyptic world,” Alberti asked rhetorically.
The production’s designers, he said, got excited about the idea. “My guiding mantra is how is the audience going to know it’s another world? I am putting that to myself and to the designers,. Those are elements they are dealing with,” Alberti said.
The production will have a touch of gender bending. The original script has a character named Egeus, the father of Hermia. The UNM production will replace him with the character Egea, the mother of Hermia.
The production has a singing coach – Kathleen Clawson.
Alberti said he’s structured the script into nine complete scenes that are actor-friendly.
“My goal has been and always will be, more than anything else, focused on student learning. That’s what I care most about,” he said. “So it’s not about Joe Alberti trying a quintessential ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream.'”
With that in mind, he cast as many students as possible; 25 at last count. Alberti has created a couple of roles of attendants and brought in understudies. These are students who might not have a role in any UNM play this semester.
“I want them to learn and have the opportunity to learn,” he said. “My feeling is that there is no better playwright thank Shakespeare to help students learn to deal with challenges in performing on the stage. Because of the richness of the language, and, in my opinion, the near perfection of his plays… Some attain perfection, and ‘Midsummer’ is one of them.”
“Midsummer Night’s Dream” offers what Alberti called great challenges for students “…in terms of physical challenges, great vocal challenges, great mental challenges, great spiritual challenges, great challenges of the imagination and great challenges at synthesizing these elements of a human being into a coordination of the self in order to embody whatever role they’re playing.”
One cast member, Jose Castro, who portrays Theseus, Duke of Athens, said this is the first time he’s taking Alberti’s technique from classroom to the stage. Alberti, Castro said, is good informing and teaching the student-actors how to handle Shakespeare’s language.
The language isn’t complicated, but there is so much in the text. “He’s teaching us how to use language to our benefit and get the most of our characters out of that language,” said Castro, a senior. “We make discoveries of our characters and (Alberti) is letting us have creative liberties with the character.”
(Alberti brought in a voice/speech professor from Syracuse University who gave a workshop for the cast in dealing with Shakespeare’s language.)
Events in the play pivot around the upcoming marriage of Theseus to Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons. Theseus conquered the Amazons and is forcing Hippolyta to marry him, Castro said.
Meanwhile, Egea, a political supporter of Theseus, wants him to force Hermia to marry Demetrius, though she’s in love with Lysander. Near the play’s end, Theseus yields, allowing Hermia to marry Lysander and Demetrius to marry Helena.
“So you really see a struggle that Theseus goes through,” Castro said.
Another student-actor, Katie Farmin, portrays Titania, queen of the fairies. She’s married to Oberon, king of the fairies. They’re squabbling.
“I definitely have magical powers but not in the traditional fairy sense with wings. She’s definitely otherworldly,” said Farmin, also a senior. “In her words, there are references about how her relationship with Oberon affects weather, the seasons, nature in general. I like to think of them as references to Greek gods, to Zeus and Hera. Titania and Oberon have that kind of power.”
As with Castro, Farmin has studied with Alberti but not in his capacity as director until now.
“He’s a (Designated) Linklater Voice Teacher and he passes his knowledge on,” she said. “He teaches his students vocal work, to project safely, to be heard clearly on stage whether shouting or whispering…”
The play has a number of famous lines and phrases, such as “The course of true love never did run smooth” (Lysander), “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” (Robin), and “The lunatic, the lover, and the poet/Are of imagination all compact.” (Theseus)
Among other cast members are Helena Berry as Hippolyta, Gerome Olona as Lysander, Josh Jones as Demetrius, Andee Schray as Hermia, Kim Jennings as Egea, Austin Embree as Oberon, Beatrice Lawrence as Helena, and Cris Iannucci as Robin, or Puck.
“The ultimate aim,” Alberti states, “is for students to come out empowered, to come out with challenging plays, (giving them) the resources, knowledge and skills so they are capable of being better actors.”