Fifth House Ensemble’s In Transit | Classical preview -- Time Out Chicago October 19, 2011

Opera & Classical

Fifth House Ensemble’s In Transit | Classical preview

Fifth House Ensemble continues its merry multimedia programming with a story of a comic-book geek set to a varied batch of wind music.

By Mia Clarke

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Fifth House Ensemble loves the extracurricular stuff. Whether it’s screening cartoons of a rat braving the plague-ravaged streets of London or performing Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time against astral projections in Adler Planetarium, 5HE goes all in with kooky, multisensory programs. Now the local chamber troupe turns to a more zeitgeisty add-on: social media.

Developed in collaboration with writer Rebekah Scallet (who penned 5HE’s The Weaver’s Tales last year) and director Robert Quinlan, its latest multimedia work, In Transit, tells stories of transformation on the Internet. The first of the four parts, “#undercoverhero,” follows an 11-year-old comic-book fan named Tim who hooks up with new friends via bulletin board sites. Local animator Jay Nolte depicts his character with Facebook and Twitter screens. Trouble stirs when Tim attracts the school bully and has to turn to his favorite superhero for help. True to form for these A/V geeks, the second performance doubles as a costume ball.

Designed to feature 5HE’s wind section, the accompanying music includes Mozart, Villa-Lobos, John Cage and contemporary composer John Elmquist. While it might seem strange for Mozart to share the bill with Elmquist’s jazz/rock-inspired Junk Shot, the juxtaposition of the pieces interprets the experience of being bullied as the struggle between an uncomfortable reality and a safe retreat. 5HE, like Tim, finds strength in fantasy.


Opera & Classical

Chicago Cultural Center; Mon 24 Ridge Park; Oct 28

October 19, 2011