Let’s imagine that you have just found out that your companion has gone off to fight in a secret war for reasons that you are not privy to and has left you all alone with only an elderly entomologist for company. Apparently, the best way to tell your story is through music-video-multimedia-performance-installation art. Well, that‘s what composer Christina Campanella and lyricist Stephanie Fleischmann thought when they put together Red Fly/Blue Bottle, which will be playing at HERE Arts Center from April 8 to May 2.
Campanella and Fleischmann have joined together with director Mallory Catlett and video designers Peter Norrman and Mirit Tal to bring a new form of musical theater to life. Red Fly/Blue Bottle is not a musical because the performers aren’t singing. Actually, the performers do not say anything at all. The duo is channeling the Charlie Chaplin era of silent film, just without the funny mustache. Aided by musicians playing the accordion, cello, ukulele, organ, percussion, and electronic instruments, Campanella’s music will haunt and hypnotize you as it traps you in the mystery of the lost companion and the emotions of the people he left behind. Fleischmann’s lyrics, which are sung in ethereal and almost creepy harmonies or spoken in almost monotone, spin the tale in perfect synchronization with the musical arrangements. Even still objects become animated in this performance with the use of pre-made and live video. Onto floating surfaces, miniature noir films are projected. All these arts pulled together allow a woman’s story to be told, without her even saying a word.