Theoroi Recap: March & April 2016

By Barry Kempton

Today’s blog post about Theoroi is written by The Schubert Club’s Marketing Intern, Quinn Shadko.

Theoroi is a Schubert Club program attempting to cultivate the next generation of Twin Cities arts audiences. The 30 members of this group (all in their 20s and 30s) attend a “sampler package” of ten performing arts events across the Twin Cities to get a wide variety of cultural experiences. The group attends one performance per month. The group then uses social media to share their experiences with their own social network.

Spring has been good to the Theoroi Arts Ambassadors! The months of March and April each offered a unique arts event: a mandolin-accordion-percussion trio from Israel, and a new musical inspired by a well-known historical figure, respectively.


Theoroi member Katie Heilman writes about her experience at the Schubert Club Mix concert featuring Avi Avital:
A concert featuring both Bulgarian folk music and Bach on the same program? That’s exactly what we heard when Avi Avital came to town in early March. On Tuesday, March 8, The Schubert Club presented mandolinist Avi Avital with Ksenija Sidorova on accordion and Itamar Doari on percussion at Aria as part of the Schubert Club Mix series. This captivating concert featured a blend of classical and folk music from around the world. Titled Between Worlds, Avital was inspired by composers like Bela Bartok and Astor Piazzolla, who took folk music from their own cultures and incorporated them into new compositions. Avital chose works by classical composers who were influenced by folk music and arranged them for mandolin, accordion, and a large variety of percussion instruments. The concert included works by several composers, such as Bartok, Bach, Bloch, and Villa-Lobos, as well as traditional folk tunes from Turkey, Bulgaria, and Israel. 
Each of the musicians were energetic, passionate performers. There’s a reason Avital was nominated for a Grammy. At one point, one of my fellow Theoroi members leaned over and whispered, “His right hand is just a blur!” After the concert, the musicians stayed around for a little meet-and-greet, where they autographed CDs and chatted with audience members. It was a delightful treat and an exciting way to spend a Tuesday
The next month, Theoroi ventured away from classical and folk music to the world of contemporary, and local, musical theatre.
Theoroi member Elsa Cook describes Theater Latte Da’s World Premiere of “C.” (This show still has a few performances left, but tickets are selling fast.)
On a beautiful Sunday in April, Theoroi ascended upon The Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis. Long a venue I’d been daydreaming of checking out, I was excited for this opportunity to get inside. The performance of the month was “C.”, presented by Theater Latte Da (a very cool non-profit musical theater production company that stages shows at a variety of theaters throughout the Twin Cities, and would be worth another blog post all their own at some point, but that’s another story). 
“C.” is set in mid-1600s France, with the characters separated by war for much of the time. It’s a love triangle with an element of Shakespearean mistaken-identity. I suppose a modern interpretation would be something along the lines of Boy loves Girl, who wants to date Boy’s Dumb Friend, so Girl asks Boy to tell his Dumb Friend to find her on Facebook. From there “Dumb Friend” seduces her through Facebook Messenger, but actually it is Boy writing those messages all along. Something like that.
The set was gorgeous, featuring soft white lighting and a huge, majestic tree. The coolest part of the experience, though, was probably the script. I realized that although this story was first written in French prose in 1897, the script I saw come to life was a whole new creation (since poetry can’t be translated line for line, because it won’t rhyme). Local actor Bradley Greenwald was the writer of “C.” as well as the lead character, and he spoke to the audience after the show about the process of translating every word, and how he was struck by the power of the raw emotion that remained, even when that translated version was no longer melodic. He aimed for a final product that was musical but not glittery to the point of distracting an audience from the humanness. Mission accomplished, Greenwald. 
The Theoroi Arts Ambassadors are looking forward to the final two events of the season, Minnesota Opera’s The Shining in May and Liquid Music’s Orpheus Unsung in June. 
The 2015-2016 season started in September 2015 and will conclude in June 2016. Recruitment for new members will begin soon. If you are interested, or know someone who is, put be touch with [email protected] for more info on joining.