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High Concepts, Performance Arts, Theater

The Birth of Assignment #403

Here I am, sitting with my soft, smelly blanket. I was trying to catnap before work, but am greatly fooled. I am unable to stop obsessing over this show, even for a measly thirty minutes of nap time. Perhaps this is how it always will be while in the process of making the best show there ever was, ever! This great show is called Assignment #403, and now I’ll share a little bit about how it all began.

Two years ago, I was sitting in our band’s van on our way to St. Louis. The keyboardist, Jim Dinou, put in a CD that he and his group, Impossible Recording Machine, had recently composed. The moment the first song began, my body stopped moving, much like a pointer dog that has found its mark, becoming completely stiff with focus. My brain was on pause, it was completely zoned out; it stayed that way until the album came to an end fifty minutes later. The music on the album is really the only tangible inspiration I can claim for Assignment #403. I was, of course, influenced by great artists and performance styles and techniques, as well as the countless, fantastic people in my life. These things have always will always inspire me and the work I do, but this album alone planted the seed.

A few facts about the show:

There are no words. It is a story. It’s choreographed to music. Maybe it’s considered a dance show; maybe. There will be 17 performers, lots of shadow puppets, and some video projection.

Before the show begins, there will be six “trailers” anticipating the feature presentation. Each trailer is a tune from a different local musician, and each tune has a choreographed story assigned to it. The musicians to be featured in these trailers are: Charles Kim, Jeff Thomas, Mark Messing, Charles, Otto, Mikhail Fiksel, and Kevin O’Donnell.

This list of artists and performers keeps growing. Here is who we’ve got at this point:

Sam Polce, Felicia Bertch, Samantha Schutte, Amanda Link, Sarah Fornace, Eric Prather, Adam Verner, Mark Chaitin, Alex Balestrieri, Missi Davis, Anna Stevens, Alice Wedoff, Tara Smith, Noel Williams, Kathryn Hribrar, Joe Lewis, Taylor Bibat, Dav Yendler, Drew Dir, Jason Beeson, Amy Allen, Ted’s mom, Liam, Caitlin Shier, Steve Keller, Derek Conrad, Anna Glowacki, Audrey Foster, Austin Oie, and me. Whoa!

More to come about the process. Hopefully some video action too.

Thanks for reading!


About highconceptlabs

High Concept Laboratories is an arts service organization dedicated to supporting working artists and engaging the Chicago community with arts and culture. Website: highconceptlaboratories.org


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This is the HCL blog.

This blog is a source for our associated artists and audiences to share the experience of the creative process. Here you will find news, pictures, and video's of the new work created at HCL.

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