a new Musical by Heather Christian & the Arbornauts
Music & Lyrics: Heather Christian
Book: Heather Christian
Direction: Mark Rosenblatt
Art Direction: Andrew Schneider
Featuring: Heather Christian & the Arbornauts
Blurring genres but grounded in blues and Methodist hymns, Animal Wisdom is a lo-fi, idiosyncratic, concert-cabaret about talking to the dead, inspired by real conversations between Heather and her deceased relatives. We conjure a constellation of dead souls, from Doris, her flamboyant and cruel childhood piano teacher (10 years dead), to her elusive ex-CIA code-breaker godfather Myles (5 years dead). Like an improvised musical séance, the tone shifts slowly from playful to dangerous, circling around darker, more disturbed forces in her family and herself, until, we are catapulted into a new sphere of haunted-ness, culminating in a 28 minute Requiem Mass sung in darkness by a choir, invisible until now. Taken in parts from poorly remembered Methodist hymns from the 1800’s, hyperbolized family mythologies, gothic Catholic masses for the dead, Southern Native American folk tales passed down and bastardized in Louisiana and a fervent belief in ghosts, Animal Wisdom is performed with an understanding and that, whilst its audiences may or may not believe in the afterlife, music might help forge a connection with those they too have loved and lost in this very room with her.