‘The Fourth Wall’ deconstructed at genre-busting classical concert
The imaginary wall at the front of a stage is known as “the fourth wall” in theater-speak. It divides audience from performers, and it is through the fourth wall that a performance is viewed. Tonight, however, flutist Hilary Abigana, percussionist Greg Jukes and trombonist Neil Parsons break through that imaginary boundary with their hybrid arts ensemble, “The Fourth Wall,” a fusion of music, dance and theater. One of the ways that fusion takes form is that the musicians all like to get airborne. At one point or another, all members of the group play instruments while their feet, literally, are not touching the ground. “In practice, we’ll think, ‘How can we lift Hilary while she’s playing her instrument?’ and then we’ll figure out how to do it,” said Abigana. In this way, dramatic musical moments can be accented by movement. The musicians of The Fourth Wall are dancers and actors too. Members met in Tales & Scales, a company that does multidisciplinary story-based programming for kids. “We wanted to open up that style to include all ages and then push that envelope of not just being solely story focused, maybe become a little more abstract in our movement choices,” Abigana said. New interdisciplinary works and reinterpretations of established repertoire are all game.The group breaks the fourth wall by talking directly to the audience, sometimes even asking them to participate. “We have no printed programs; we talk to them about the music – what we like about it, what we find interesting about it, getting our audiences to know a little about us not just as performers on the stage but people as well,” Abigana said. Members hail from The Eastman School of Music, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University, Ohio University and Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. All are classically trained musicians.Abigana is an alumnus of the National Repertory Orchestra, the orchestral fellowship program that brings 89 young talents to Breckenridge for eight weeks each summer to perform a full orchestral repertoire. The National Repertory Orchestra presents tonight’s program, which will be held at The Lodge at Breckenridge and includes free desserts and coffee at intermission. It is sponsored by The Gold Pan Saloon, Hyman Foundation and Summit Daily News.”Honestly it’s very different for musicians to perform in this way,” Abigana said. “Dancers are very interested in how they perform and what the performance is like, as are actors. Musicians sometimes forget that we are also being watched as well as being heard.””We’ve gotten a very warm reception from what we do,” she added. “It’s different; it’s fun. I like to think our audiences leave having experienced a very different type of show and a very different type of night out.”
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