eighth blackbird to Present ‘Colombine’s Paradise Theatre,’ a Musical Fantasy on Commedia dell’Arte Themes, at MCA Chicago

By Louise Burton on Aug 19, 2014 02:42 AM EDT

Grammy award-winning sextet eighth blackbird was all set to perform Colombine's Paradise Theatre at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago in February, when a key musician suffered a knee injury. The injury effectively prevented the group from performing the work at that time, because of its demands on the performers.

"It's a very physical production we had planned," Tim Munro, the group's flutist, said at the time.

eighth blackbird will now present their long-awaited production of Colombine's Paradise Theatre, a staged theatrical work by composer Amy Beth Kirsten, at MCA Chicago on Friday, September 12 at 7:30 pm.

The program, entitled Heart and Breath, begins with four short pieces by Claudio Monteverdi, Carlo Gesualdo, Bon Iver, and Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry. eighth blackbird will perform the same program in New York City, at Columbia University's Miller Theatre, on September 18.

Colombine's Paradise Theatre, directed by Mark DeChiazza, features the members of eighth blackbird wearing masks and costumes, playing instruments as well as speaking, singing, growling, whispering and miming a story based on themes from 17th Century Italian theater.

The work embraces and transforms the commedia dell'arte story of Harlequin, Colombine, and Pierrot into a dark, mythical story of love, death, dream, and delusion. In this fantastical world, a flute solo morphs into a soliloquy, a bass drum becomes the moon, and the landscape transforms into an instrument.

Peter Taub, director of performance programs at MCA Chicago, will lead a discussion with musicians Lisa Kaplan and Matthew Duvall, director/designer Mark DeChiazza, and composer Amy Beth Kirsten immediately following the performance. For more information about this program, please visit

Colombine's Paradise Theatre was commissioned by MCA Chicago and developed during a residency at the MCA. 

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Tagseighth blackbird, Colombine's Paradise Theatre, Heart and Breath, Amy Beth Kirsten, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Tim Munro, Lisa Kaplan, Matthew Duvall, Richard Reed Parry, Arcade Fire

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