Decline of Ballooning and Madame X Paints Haydn Red | Prop Thtr | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Decline of Ballooning and Madame X Paints Haydn Red The Short List (Theater) Recommended Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Thursdays. Continues through Feb. 11 2010

If you think brainy, cryptic, nonlinear performance pieces can’t provide satisfying entertainment, rush to this exquisite double bill and prepare to be proved wrong. Brian Torrey Scott’s Decline of Ballooning offers a series of splintered, imagistic scenes about a pair of romantically semi-entwined aerial photographers—attended by a bored, kabuki-esque pop singer—whose attempts to map the Mariana Trench threaten to drain all the mystery from the seas. In Madame X Paints Haydn Red, Nick Butcher and Devin King perform a subtle, ambient soundscape using sampled instruments, taped voices, and tumbling live monologues about Haydn’s missing skull and RCA’s development of color-coded recording vinyl. Both pieces deploy puzzling elements in intriguing and often humorous ways, referencing everyone from Paul Eluard to Liza Minnelli, creating playful, enlivening imaginative realms. —Justin Hayford

Price: $12 in advance, $15 or pay what you can at the door

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