October 30, 2002

Three Chairs Productions presents Words + Music (Radio) -- two unique evenings of performances -- at 8:00 p.m. November 22 and 23 at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland.

The Chapel of the Chimes is the labyrinthine Julia Morgan-designed columbarium at the end of Piedmont Avenue in North Oakland. All acts will be performed live in one of the chapel's large chambers, and will be radio-transmitted throughout the building. Visitors can experience the radio plays and music either at the source or by way of radios, which will be stationed in the galleries.

WHEN: Friday and Saturday evenings, November 22 and 23, 2002, 8:00 p.m., doors open at 7:30.

WHERE: The Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. (at the northernmost tip of Piedmont Ave.) (See Map)

INFO: (510) 594-9409 or 3chairs@earthlink.net.

TICKETS: $10 - $25 suggested donation. Box office opens at 7:00, doors at 7:30. Reservations can be made by email only, send to 3chairs@earthlink.net.

Words + Music (Radio) are two different programs of radio plays and music. Performances include two radio plays by Samuel Beckett -- Words and Music and Cascando -- with new music composed by Daniel Plonsey. Singers Diana Pray and Ariela Morgenstern will sing a selection of art songs, including Samuel Barber's The Desire for Hermitage, and the Daniel Popsicle ensemble will play Compositions and Improvisiations of El Cerrito. Also featured are the premieres of two new radio plays by Adam Munsey Tobin -- Tents and Tense -- and a video installation by Ted Vadakan.

Words + Music (Radio) program:

Friday, November 22, 8:00 p.m.

· Words and Music -- a radio play by Samuel Beckett, original music composed by Daniel Plonsey, directed by Naomi Okuyama, featuring Eddy Falconer as Croak, Leon Setti as Words, and members of Daniel Popsicle as Music.

· Ariela Morgenstern sings Samuel Barber and other work.

· Music of El Cerrito Part I, from Daniel Popsicle.

· Tents: a radio play by Adam Munsey Tobin.

· Vision, a video installation by Ted Vadakan.

Saturday, November 23, 8:00 p.m.

· Cascando -- a radio play by Samuel Beckett, original music composed by Daniel Plonsey, directed by Naomi Okuyama, featuring Stanley Spenger as Opener, Ralph Filice as Voice, and members of Daniel Popsicle as Music.

· Diana Pray sings Barber and Schubert.

· Music of El Cerrito Part II, from Daniel Popsicle.

· Tense: a radio play by Adam Munsey Tobin.

· Vision, a video installation by Ted Vadakan.

More about the program…

With two of Samuel Becket’s radio plays, the limitations and power of both sound and speech are evoked with characteristic enigmatic grace. In Words and Music the characters of Joe (Words) and Bob (Music) express their sibling rivalry in a private performance under the on-and-off again direction of the mysterious and tyrannical Croak. In Cascando the Opener introduces a fleetingly comprehensible narrative told alternately by Voice and Music, and lays out a compelling metaphor for life as story. Words and Music is perhaps most famously associated with Morton Feldman’s compositions for the character of Muisc in 1985. Here Dan Plonsey incarnates the character with his dramatic vision and flair for the comic and absurd in everyday life. The two radio plays were first broadcast by the BBC in the early sixties.

Ariela Morgenstern sings selections from Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs, including The Desire for Hermitage. Taken from a text written by an anonymous 8th- 13th century Irish monk and set to music in 1953, the brief poem encapsulates the longing for the traveler to return.

Daniel Popsicle consists of a large roster of talented Bay Area musicians gathered to play the music of El Cerrito. Led by composer Dan Plonsey, the two evenings will feature: John Shiurba-guitar, Lynn Wold –Keyboard, Michael Zelner-Clarinet, Suki O’ Kane-Percussion, Phil Gelb-Shakuhachi , Daniel Plonsey-Violin, saxophone and other wind instruments. Plonsey has this to say about the band: "I founded the Daniel Popsicle Ensemble in response to Anthony Braxton's instruction: ‘Sir, we must now write music for the next millenium! we'll make billions!’ Billions referring to musical notes, not dollars, I have since realized, but I'm finding this group to be the ideal ensemble with which to work. I am writing music which emerges (despite whatever my original intentions) as a sort of oddball post-apocalyptic band music, related to that of the Thai brass bands, Indian wedding bands, New Orleans brass bands, ironic Dutch bands, Sun Ra Arkestra, Braxtonian creative music orchestras and ghost trance ensembles, and junior high bands."

Adam Tobin premieres Tense and Tents, two new radio works playing on words and meaning, both with musical accompaniment.

Ted Vadakan creates a video piece that explores a stream of hidden and conscious thought and emotion. In Vision, words play together and blur the precipice of dream and reality.

The Artists

Ariela Morgenstern, Mezzo-Soprano, Morgenstern has sung with numerous Bay Area opera companies, as well as Opera Aegean in Greece, and is looking forward to upcoming roles in 2003 with West Bay Opera and Livermore Valley Opera. Recently, Ariela was the featured soloist in the Carnegie Hall premiere of Imant Raminsh's Symphony of Psalms for orchestra and treble choir. She performs regularly with the San Francisco Chamber Singers, a professional ensemble dedicated to the performance of new works and has recently toured the San Francisco Bay Area and New York with avant-garde a cappella group Charming Hostess. The "glorious" mezzo soprano (Silke Tudor of SF Weekly) recently helped bid adieu to San Francisco’s Café Proust with a program of Kurt Weill songs in an evening entitled Weill/Vamp! Morgenstern is also a founding member of the Red Gate Performance Collective, and performed in its premiere production, the Rococo Risqué Cabaret. In November at the Great American Music Hall, Ariela will be singing in Paul Nathan’s Dark Kabaret. www.arielamorgenstern.com

Naomi Okuyama, Producer, Director-Words and Music/Cascando, has been based in the East Bay since 1995. From 1998 to 2001 she directed an innovative performing arts program at Zeum, an art center in Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco, and worked there with artists Miranda July, Liebe Wetzel, Basil Twist, and Mikel Rouse, among many others. In 2001 she directed a radio play adaptation of Michael Ende's Momo, which was performed and webcast live from the Zeum Theater. Most recently she directed scenes for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Intensive (BASOTI) at the Regency Center in San Francisco. In the early-nineties she co-founded Blue Sun, an improvisational string ensemble which was featured in performance with Eugene Chadbourne, LaDonna Smith, and Frank Pahl in the Detroit area. She holds a B.A. in Drama from the University of Michigan.

Dan Plonsey, Bandleader, Composer-Words and Music/Cascando, was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a BA in math and music from Yale University and an MA in composition from Mills College. Plonsey has written more than 200 works for large and small ensembles, most notably for groups of saxophones, and for his own variety of Western and Eastern instruments. Recent commissions have come from the Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund, The Berkeley Symphony, and Santa Cruz New Music Works. Recent recordings include: The Great Circle Saxophone Quartet (New World), Ivory Bill (Music & Arts), and Open Door And Desire (New Tone). Plonsey was also founder and co-curator of the Beanbender’s Creative Music Series in Berkeley, 1995 — present.

Diana Pray, Coloratura Soprano, has joined the rosters of such Bay Area houses as Pocket Opera, the Bay Shore Lyric Opera, Capitol Opera Sacramento, and Opera non Troppo in her two years as a San Franciscan. A native of Cincinnati and graduate of DePauw University, this rising local favorite is also a lauded straight theater actor, voice-over artist, and former professional ballroom dancer. She is elated to participate in Naomi Okuyama’s latest production, having first worked under her direction in the radio play Momo at San Francisco’s Zeum in the spring of 2001. She most recently appeared in Temptress of Rome, a new opera by Hector Armienta.

Adam Munsey Tobin, Producer, Writer/Performer-Tents, is a co-organizer of Irrational Exuberance, a San Francisco performance series which groups language, sound and visual artists with lectures by outsider scholars.   His poetry and other writings have been published under various pseudonyms.  A stage play, A Narrative Account of the First Voyage Around the World, will debut in San Francisco next year.

Ted Vadakan,Video Artist, has created film and video work for Southern Exposure, APAture, the Chicago Asian-American Film Festival, and the Bangkok Experimental Film Festival.