Speaking Strings Utter Things – traditional Chinese music vs. improv comedy May 26

Speaking Strings

Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble at their 2012 Transformations concert. Photo courtesy Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble.

Speaking Strings Utter Things combines two facets of Chinese culture – well, one facet of Chinese culture, and a Chinese adaptation of what is arguably a Western art form, improv comedy.

The unorthodox combination should prove to be a fascinating experiment (read: it could go either way) as two improv comics from the Fictionals Comedy Co. join members of the Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble on traditional Chinese violins called Hu’s.

A Hu is wrapped in snakeskin and has the ability to imitate the tone and color of a human voice. If you were wondering where the improv comics come in, this is probably it – they’ll bring a more theatrical, less-serious take on the instrument along with the trained musicians from the Ensemble.

The Vancouver Chinese Music Ensemble was formed in 1989. The group plays both the popular and the classical traditions of China as well as Western classical and contemporary music, on Chinese instruments. The Ensemble’s repertoire encompasses everything from traditional music from various regions of China to adaptations of Canadian folk songs. The Ensemble has presented educational concerts and performed at at Vancouver New Music events, the Sonic Boom Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and Chinese community celebrations, as well as in concerts and at music festivals across Canada and in the U.S.

The Fictionals are a collection of Vancouver performers who combine improv, stand-up, sketch, theatre, music, and burlesque. Founded in 2010, The Fictionals have entertained audiences in Seattle, Bellingham, and Vancouver. Members also belong to other improv groups in the city.

Speaking Strings Utter Things is one night only in the serene confines of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall St.) May 26 2013 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale at the door at 7 and are $15 General | $10 Students/Seniors. Visit here for tickets.


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