Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) continues its experiment in theater-from-a-length with a new virtual collaboration. With each other with Milwaukee-dependent duo SistaStrings, MOT has made their very first-ever songs video clip, that includes filming by Traveling Lemur, lights by Encore Theatrical Lighting, puppet design (yep) by Angry Youthful Adult men, audio style and design by Johanna Rose, and a stellar ensemble of backup vocals.
At the coronary heart of the collab is, of course, SistaStrings. Chauntee and Monique Ross shaped the team in 2014. Their audio definitely are not able to be pigeonholed. Their web page suggests the SistaStrings audio “brings together their classical background with R&B with a contact of gospel affect that culminates in a vibey, lush audio.” With soulful voices and beautiful harmonies between violin and cello, this duo is compared with any other.
So how did this collaboration come about? Director Jill Anna Ponasik achieved out to Chauntee and Monique and questioned, “What’s one thing Milwaukee Opera Theatre could aid you make that you would not create on your individual?” Swiftly, they gave Ponasik their wishlist: a music online video about imposter syndrome — with puppets and a choir.
And that’s specifically what Ponasik and corporation sent at this weekend’s Zoirée (Zoom soirée). The hour-long virtual event adopted a 4-move structure: a pre-recorded job interview with Chauntee and Monique, a viewing of their tunes online video The Sound, a Q&A talk-back again, and at last a reside effectiveness.
Throughout the interview, we learn how Monique (cello) and Chauntee (violin) very first fell in enjoy with their respective strings. It was like at to start with listen for Monique and the cello: “It was so beautiful,” she suggests, the memory a very clear and wistful a person. Requested what specifically the audio is in The Audio, the sisters touch on that aforementioned imposter syndrome: the annoying noise of other individuals in their heads as they grew up. All those voices told them to “tone it down” or be other than what they are, which is out-loud in appreciate with their devices and their new music.
Now for the puppets. Chauntee and Monique reference a movie they saw that employed puppets to depict the “other.” It really is the concept that you can send out a serious message, but sending it with puppets can make it less complicated to digest and even attracts some laughter along the way. As was pointed out for the duration of the discuss-back again, “puppets can say and do issues we as people are not able to.” In The Seem, every single sister is represented by a puppet. It can be a likelihood, they say, to exist no cost from stereotypes.
On the sisters’ need for a choir: “Just a aspiration, just a dream.” It is a desire that Milwaukee Opera Theatre served deliver to life. The new music video clip for The Sound opens with footage of 2020’s Black Life Make a difference protests. The chants of the protests mingle with the strings warming up. “The sound drives me crazy,” the chorus repeats. Harmonious voices and strings, glowing experience masks, shades of purple and blue in braids, puppets, lighting — this is a striking collaboration, and it truly is 1 that is much better found and listened to, not examine about.
Chauntee and Monique closed this Zoirée with “Awesome Grace,” played from two separate areas. Even the constraints of Zoom couldn’t muddy their wonderful tunes. I walked absent from this knowledge keen to see SistaStrings dwell. I hope that day is quicker than later.
In the close, what resonated most with me was the joy worn on the sleeve of every and every single artist included in The Audio. Just after a 12 months of a whole lot of nothingness and uncertainty on the Arts entrance, this team of creators and performers voiced all through the talk-again how truly delighted they have been just to get a call from Ponasik inquiring them to flex their creative muscle tissues the moment far more. As a evaluation-author, I can relate to that thirst for involvement. Enormous many thanks to Ponasik and MOT for involving us all.
Catch The Audio at a few far more Zoirées: February 26th & 27th at 7:30pm, and February 28th at 2pm. Details and tickets at milwaukeeoperatheatre.org.