Experimental Music Theatre Composed by Linda Bouchard with Poems from “Men in the Off Hours” by Anne Carson


During my residency at Matralab, I worked on my show Murderous Little World.

I finished the electronic score of two scenes, worked with video artist Frederic St-Hilaire to integrate Live video in the performance. We had five days of rehearsal with musicians Bellows and Brass and tech director Roger Psutka , during which we rehearsed two new scenes, recorded the musicians, shot video footage to create pseudo live footage of the performers. A very intense period during which we got a tremendous amount done. We ended the residency by doing an informal run-through in front of a few friends and colleagues.

Stills by Claudia Espinosa Ramos.

Organized around seven poems excerpted from Men in the Off Hours, by Anne Carson the work brings together gifted artists from diverse experiences to create a new evening length multimedia performance that fuses music, poetry, theatre, video art, and lighting.

Three musicians/actors perform on trumpet, trombone, accordion and piano live against an electronic score integrated with video projections -both live and pre-recorded.

Murderous Little World takes as its inspiration the terse yet epic poetic work of Anne Carson. The poems conjure up a textured universe of “little worlds” that span continents, and ages of human existence. Carson’s phrases seem to be made up of fragments or artifacts and point to individuals’ searching for truth against waves of corruption and cruelty. Bouchard’s musical compositions bring to mind the title of Carson’s book, from which the poems are taken and the collegiality, competitiveness and brutality that this title implies. The music, like the poems, deals in fragments and strange juxtapositions to form a compelling set of concise, interrelated themes or motifs whose brightness and audacity lend themselves to the splashes of color and light that is possible with current video projection technologies.

The musical and dramatic response to each poem is unique with each selection having an individual voice expressed through specific vocals – i.e. whispered, slow recitation, fully voiced, in a range of emotional pitches and vocal styles, etc. At the same time the three musicians/actors play live and move around the stage creating different dramatic interplay with the visuals. Live music is performed against an electronic score that is manipulated with MaxMSP using pre-recorded sounds of the musicians’ voices and their instruments in the form of a “hyper-trio”.