Sunday, October 22, 2023

Songversation: We Have Been Told We Will Burn: Twin Cities Horror Fest XII

Songversation: We Have Been Been Told We Will Burn

Songversations (?)

In Short:
"Songversations is a 2-woman show that uses music, film, imagery, storytelling and scene to explode an idea, a theme or—as we put it—something that 'we have been told.' Songversations could be called a cabaret if a cabaret moved and breathed like a ceremony and felt like a ritual."

Selected Cast/Creative:
There's no program or cast/creative info on the TCHF website, but they do introduce themselves during the show as Shanan (Custer) and Rhiannon (Fiskradatz). You can find their bios on the Bryant Lake Bowl show page when they did this show last year. 

Our Thoughts:
We've been walking into the TCHF shows having done almost no research. We are going to see them all at least once, so why not be surprised? For this show, we knew little other than the title and the presence of Shanan Custer, one of the most endearing and hilarious theater artists in the Twin Cities. As we walk in, we are invited to take some materials for ritual that will happen later in the show. The stage is set with candles and glowing trees and creates a lovely, intimate setting. The performers come out in flowing white dresses and we watch a film about water and the Dakota that ends with a land acknowledgement. 

The show starts and the screen flashes images of witches as the performers sing and take turns declaiming in a beat poetry style. (I might have wanted to snap my fingers after particularly cogent parts. And order a large cappuccino. Hello?!) They also explored the life and work of Sinead O'Connor and showed a short film about Medusa. Lovely singing was done and very thoughtful points were made. The show is quite serious but a few times Shanan Custer had a small flub in her lines and her customary hilarious charm shone through. 

Songversations is a series of shows that Shanan Custer and Rhiannon Fiskradatz have performed at Bryant Lake Bowl over the last few years. The titles of past shows are equally enticing: We Have Been Told to Show Up, We Have Been Told It's Almost Over, and We Have Been Told to Drink More Water. When We Have Been Told We Will Burn was performed at Bryant Lake Bowl last year, it had a two-hour running time. It feels as thought it might have been a challenge to condense a show like this into the short TCHF slot. There's a definite presence and tone that the performers were working to establish. The ritual mentioned above spoke to me more upon reflection after the show. During the show, it seemed like a bit of an afterthought rather than the intentional exercise that it could be. 

You Should See This If You Like:
As listed in the genre info on the website: Theater, Music, Film, Cabaret, Poetry, Feminist Horror, Body Horror, Political Horror