A Brief History of Conflict, In Two Dimensions

Andreas Kahre and Ron Samworth with Talking Pictures re-invent Stravinsky’s classic Faustian tale L’Histoire du Soldat. Set within the wonderful and wobbly world of paper theatre, the tale begins with the story of Josef, a soldier who accidentally sells his soul to the devil one afternoon and soon finds there is more to the bargain than meets the eye… Improvising on Stravinsky’s score, Musical Director Ron Samworth is joined by Peggy Lee, Dylan van der Schyff and Bill Clark. Performers Adrienne Wong as puppeteer, David Garfinkle as the devil, Hiro Kanagawa as the soldier, and Lesley Ewan as the narrator emerge as voices with images installed in a contraption of Andreas Kahre’s design that surrounds the audience. X,Y rediscovers a seemingly unchanged landscape of insoluable political and moral dilemmas which find their voice in the work’s fiercely melancholic tone, as fresh and as painful now as when it was first presented. Overlapping and multiple forms of action, fire, brimstone, shifting locations and fluctuating time frames come together in a style that creates a bridge between the hopes and horrors of the piece’s past and future.

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Formed in 1993 by guitarist/composer Ron Samworth, Vancouver’s Talking Pictures is a quartet that synthesizes diverse musical experiences in a communion of form and freedom. With Bill Clark on trumpet, Dylan van der Schyff on drums, and Peggy Lee on cello, the group draws on a distinctive and wide ranging sonic palette and reveals an empathy that Canadian writer Mark Miller describes as “a closely attenuated style of group playing, deliberate yet wholly responsive, with a wonderful sense of space.” The jazz continuum from Armstrong to Zorn, the bold, abstract textures of new music and Jimi Hendrix, and the richly evocative spirit of Kurt Weill and Nino Rota all meet in a compelling sound world of near cinematic richness.

A frequent performer in their home town, Talking Pictures has been featured in the du Maurier International Jazz Festival in Vancouver since 1993. They have toured across Canada and in Europe where they have played at prestigious festivals and venues such as the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, the BIMhuis and De IJsbreker Music Centres in Amsterdam, Instants Chavirés in Paris and the Loft in Kˆln. Their debut CD, Ciao Bella, and their second, The Mirror with a Memory are on Montreal’s Red Toucan label. Talking Pictures also has a decidedly theatrical bent, having written and performed RubyCab, an original cabaret with the Ruby Slippers Theatre Company, as well as performed the music and text of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht with guest vocalists. They have also arranged and performed in an acclaimed production of Brecht’s Three Penny Opera.

RON SAMWORTH – Musical Direction
Ron Samworth, leader and principal composer of Talking Pictures, also co-leads the acclaimed NOW Orchestra and is the co-artistic director of its umbrella organization, the New Orchestra Workshop Society. He is known to Canadian audiences for his provocative collaborations with groups such as Lunar Adventures and the 1990 CBC National Jazz Competition winners Creatures of Habit. His improvised sound explorations with poets and dancers include an ongoing involvement with the EDAM Dance company. Samworth’s playing credits include Barry Guy, Marilyn Crispell, George Lewis, Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris, Bobby Previte, Vinny Golia, Jay Clayton, René Lussier, and electro-acoustic composer Paul Dolden. He has composed for the Hard Rubber Orchestra, Standing Wave, the NOW Orchestra, as well as various film and theatre projects.

Peggy Lee is an inventive and lyrical cellist whose wide ranging credits include the Vancouver Opera, the new music ensemble Standing Wave, popular singer/songwriter Veda Hille and numerous dance and theatre collaborations. Originally from Toronto, she received a performance degree from the University of Toronto. She spent a year at the Banff Centre for the Arts in residence with a string quartet before moving to Vancouver in 1989. As an inprovisor, she has shared the stage with players such as Peter van Bergen, Dave Douglas, Paul Plimley, the Tony Wilson Group, Barry Guy and Butch Morris. She has also recorded and performed with Carlos Zingaro, the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, the NOW Orchestra, Dylan van der Schyff and François Houle (with Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser, and Dylan van der Schyff).

BILL CLARK Bill Clark is known to Vancouver audiences as an inspired soloist who lends his talents to a wide variety of groups from funk and blues to jazz and improvised music. He has worked with artists as diverse as Kenny Wheeler, Muhal Richard Abrams, Butch Morris and Slide Hampton. A graduate of the composition program at Simon Fraser University, he has written for various dance and film projects as well as the Vancouver-based ensembles Standing Wave and Hard Rubber Orchestra. Bill has led his own sextet and is a charter member of the VEJI big band, the NOW Orchestra, all of with whom he has recorded.

Dylan Van der Schyff, born in Johannesburg, South Africa is one of the leading figures on the Canadian improvised music scene. His rhythmic drive and creativity are essential contributions to Vancouver bands such as the Tony Wilson Group, François Houle Trio, and the NOW Orchestra. He has also played with such artists as George Lewis, Eyvind Kang, Evan Parker, Georg Graewe, Myra Melford, Michael Moore, John Butcher, Mark Helias, Vinny Golia, and Andy Laster. He has worked with dance companies (EDAM and Kokoro) and theatre groups. His broad musical spectrum extends to rock, funk and punk. He has recorded with the NOW Orchestra, François Houle, (with Dave Douglas, Mark Dresser and Peggy Lee), and the Brad Turner Group. Two duo recordings, one with Peggy Lee and the other with bassist Chris Tarry, are on the Spool label.

ANDREAS KAHRE – Theatrical Direction
Andreas Kahre is an interdisciplinary artist, designer and musician, whose work has ranged from multimedia performances and sound installations to the development of underwater habitats. Born in Germany in 1959, he has lived in Canada since 1979 where he studied visual art and art history at the University of British Columbia from 1979 until 1985. As an accomplished percussionist and improviser, he has performed across Canada and in the United States in a context of New Music and improvisational performance, with numerous ensembles including Cymbali, Hextremities, François Houle, Kenneth Newby, Martin Gotfrit, Gamelan Madu Sari, Alex Varty and Ali and Amir Koushkani,

A strong interest in collaborative work has led to many different projects that involve a combination of theatre, dance, writing, and music, and progressively to the integration of different forms. He has been strongly committed to the development of an interdisciplinary performance community, and has written and created over thirty performance works that have used a variety of unconventional performance strategies, and settings including the interior of automobiles, the use of aircraft, animals, food, expletives, and architecture subjected to cinematic lighting. Past performance works include A Concise History of Drumming, Geometric Dining, V max, Lowbrow, Protokol, and Aeronarrativity, as well as radio projects such as Wireless Graffiti.

Over the past fifteen years, he has been a regular collaborator with a number of theatre companies and choreographers, and has been involved in the creation of numerous theatre, dance, new opera, and media projects. Associates include Guillermo Verdecchia, Chris Gerrard-Pinker and Norman Armour of Rumble productions, and ensembles such as Touchstone, Pink Ink, Ruby Slippers, Jumpstart, EDAM, Dancecorps, Lola MacLaughlin, and Mascall Dance. He has also taught at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, and at UBC, and been nominated for thirteen Jessie Richardson Awards. Since 1997, he has been editor of FRONT Magazine.

ADRIENNE WONG – Assistant Director
Adrienne Wong is a playwright, performer, director and dramaturg. Paper theatre fans may remember her as a puppeteer from “Woyzek”at the Havana several years ago. Favorite performance credits include Green Thumb’s “Time After Time”, SFU’s “Seven Lears” and The Taming of the Shrew, and her own play “Other Women” produced by Rumble Productions in the 1999 Fringe. Currently Ms. Wong is co-writing “Foreign Bodies” with Noah Drew, to be produced in the 2001 Fringe by their new company, Tangled Tongues Performance. Adrienne will be seen next at the Arts Club Theatre in Simon Johnston’s “Gold Mountain Guest”. Adrienne has a BFA from SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

Hiro Kanagawa trained in music and the visual arts before devoting himself full-time to acting in 1992. Currently, he provides voices for several animation series and has a recurring role in the CBC drama, “These Arms of Mine.” Recent feature film appearances include “Best in Show,” “The Sixth Day,” and a supporting lead in the acclaimed Canadian independent, “Protection.” On the Vancouver stage, he received a 1998 Jesse Award for his portrayal of an Italian immigrant in “A View From the Bridge.” “x,y:” is Hiro’s second foray into paper theatre—he previously collaborated with Andreas Kahre on “Woyzeck.”

After an Honours award for theatre and opera from UBC, David graduated from New York University with a Master of Arts in Performance Studies. A well known theatre artist and educator, he is a freelance performing artist with specialties in historical acting, dance and music. Currently an instructor in the Speech Department at Whatcom Community College, David teaches Hatha Yoga in Vancouver, and is an Artistic Co-director of the Historical Performance Society. Past interdisciplinary efforts with Andreas include the Concise History of Drumming, and Wozzeck. He will next be seen as the Marquis de Sade in a new play by Chris Barron at the 2001 Vancouver Fringe Festival.

LESLEY EWEN – The Narrator
What could be better than performing with the coolest musicians in town? This is Lesley’s second endeavour with Talking Pictures. The first, “Three Penny Opera” (Ruby Slippers). In between Lesley has been very busy on stage and on screen. Stage; “Gallileo” (Yorick), “The Kiss Project”, she co-produced/directed/performed in “Older”, “Judith” (Felix Culpa), “Little Voice” (Vancouver Playhouse), “999” (Richmond Gateway), “The Importance of Being Earnest” (Praire Theatre Exchange) and her self-directed/written one woman show “An Understanding of Brown” (2000 Women). Screen; “Outer Limits:, “Snow Day”, “Mysterious Ways” and “So Weird” and countless “X Files”. Lesley’s alternate passion is Motorbikn’.