Squonk Opera, a multimedia performance troupe touring the country with its “hometown opera” series for the past six years, will perform its final performance of the series—Edwardsville: The Opera—at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Two members of the troupe spent more than four days interviewing some 25 local residents, while gathering historical photos, taking video throughout Edwardsville and working with local dancers. The group calls the series “site-specific operas that adapts to each host community, weaving hometown documentation with Squonk’s aural and visual trickery” and a “meta-civic celebration, with an original score … a heartfelt toast and a punk-vaudevillian roast.”
The performance will take place in the theater at SIUE’s Dunham Hall. The performance, co-sponsored by the SIUE Credit Union, is the final event of the University’s 2011-12 Arts & Issues series and also is part of the SIUE Xfest 3.0, the University’s third annual experimental theater festival.
For more than 25 years, SIUE’s Arts & Issues series has brought great performers and distinguished speakers to Southwestern Illinois. The official media sponsors for A&I are the Edwardsville Intelligencer and KWMU-FM, while the series official hotel sponsor is Hampton Inn and Suites. The 2011-12 Arts & Issues season is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
While highlighting the distinct characteristics of each community, Squonk’s avante-garde performances combine music, sound and image with innovative video, slapstick comedy and unexpected surprises. Squonk Opera has performed on Broadway, in Europe and South Korea, across the United States, and in a Pittsburgh junkyard with earthmovers and choreographed cranes.
Arts & Issues Director Grant Andree said Squonk Opera will present an unusual but entertaining performance with subject matter that will be near and dear to residents of the area. “Members of the troupe told me that they have enjoyed discovering how each city sees itself, as a whole and within its diverse communities.
“In having fun with using Edwardsville and its residents as a backdrop,” Andree said, “the troupe also focuses on community, allowing us to see what makes opera life-like and life operatic…or not.”
SIUE’s Xfest 3.0 welcomes theater companies from across the nation to entertain, inspire and spark creativity on campus and in the community. This year’s Xfest aims to provide rich learning experiences designed specifically with college-level theater enthusiasts in mind, as well as offering special pricing for interested groups.
For additional information about the Arts & Issues series or about Xfest , call (618) 650-5774. More information about Arts & Issues is available through the website: artsandissues.com and Xfest 3.0 through its website: siue.edu/xfest.
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