The Talisker Players are presenting a show called present Creature to Creature on March 16 and 18 at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre. It’s inspired by mediaeval bestiaries and takes on human foibles through the lens of animal behaviour. It had better be good because I can scratch quite nastily. The Taliskers will be joined by mezzo soprano Norine Burgess, baritone Geoffrey Sirett (more impressive every time I see him), and theatre artist Ross Manson.
The title piece, by American composer Miriam Gideon, is a setting for voice, flute and piano of verses by Nancy Cardozo, from her collection An Animalculary. IThey will also perform Francis Poulenc’s Le Bestiaire, a setting of Guillaume Apollinaire’s very short, surreal verses about various animals (including a dromedary, a cricket, and a carp), for mezzo soprano, flute, clarinet, bassoon and string quartet.
The centrepiece of the programme is the premiere of a new work, commissioned by the Talisker Players from Composer-in-Residence Alexander Rapoport, based on Archy and Mehitabel. This famous collection of early 20th-century newspaper columns by New York Tribune writer Don Marquis purports to be the musings of Archy, a cockroach who entered the newsroom late at night and wrote in free verse by diving head-first onto the keys of a typewriter. Rapoport’s piece, for two singers, flute, clarinet, strings and toy instruments, will set highlights from the collection, focussing especially on Archy’s sometime pal, Mehitabel the disreputable alley cat.
Also included is Rainforest, by the American composer Lee Hoiby, a setting of prose poems by Elizabeth Bishop about three enigmatic creatures of the tropics, whose lives are oddly linked. There will also be a selection of animal songs by Flanders and Swann, in new arrangements for voice, horn and string trio by Laura Jones – including the famous Hippopotamus Song. A bonbon by Rossini, the well-loved comic Cat duet rounds out the evening
As always with the Taliskers, this production includes the spoken word. Readings this time will be selections from Vikram Seth’s Beastly Tales from Here and There. Sounds like fun so get your best furry outfit on and come out
Individual tickets are $35 / $25 (seniors) / $15 (students/un(der)employed) and can be obtained from the Trinity St. Paul’s box office or online.