But it’s not the bathtub-sized bird of Rubber Ducky fame. This is Studio Florentijn Hofman’s The Rubber Duck, four stories high (about 40 feet) and it will open the third Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts.
This installment will run four weeks (Sept. 27 – Oct. 26, 2013) and will include an international array of theater, dance, music, performance and visual artists in performances never seen before in the United States.
The Rubber Duck has already created a craze in Hong Kong, with people leaving work to see the colossal-sized fowl up close and personal. It’s “the 14th or 15th international city,” according to the Netherlands artist. But despite numerous American fans and overtures from cities like Baltimore, Detroit and Los Angeles, the winning nod went to Pittsburgh, which will harbor this fine-feathered friend for three weeks, mooring it between PNC Park and Heinz Field, where it could garner national attention during a Steeler game. It will open the Festival with a huge outdoor party from an adjacent bridge.
Compagnie Marie Chouinard
The Cultural Trust, along with Pittsburgh Dance Council, had already announced Montreal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard in a premiere of GYMNOPÉDIES, set to Erik Satie’s iconic pieces (Byham Theater, Sept. 28) and Swiss artists Zimmermann & de Perrot, a “mischievous marriage of theater, circus and dance” (Byham, Oct. 18-19).
The rest of the list embraces all of the artistic senses, beginning with Michèle Anne De Mey & Jaco Van Dormael of Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, who will let their fingers do the walking in Kiss & Cry, which tells the story of an older woman recounting her greatest loves ((New Hazlett Theater, Oct. 2-4).
Robin Frohardt’s THE PIGEONING, features Frank, an obsessive compulsive man with set routines. Bunraku puppetry, music and video populate this darkly comedic work. He is the first American, a Brooklinite, to be featured here (Bricolage, Oct. 9, 10 and 12).
Australia’s Perth Theatre Company brings It’s Dark Outside. It explores Alzheimer’s and Sundowner’s Syndrome through puppetry, mask, animation, live performance and an original music score by award-winning composer Rachael Dease (Peirce Studio, Trust Education Center, Oct. 9, 10 and 12).
New Yorkers Christopher McElroen and T. Ryder Smith bring Measure Back, an interactive war event devised nightly for an intimate audience. Sure to be sold out (Baum Building, Fifth Floor, Oct. 22-26).
The God That Comes
From Canada’s 2b theatre company comes sex, wine and rock ‘n roll. Hawksley Workman (love that name!) brings a one-man cabaret recreating the story of Bacchus (yes, from Euripides’ The Bacchae) (Cabaret at Theater Square, Oct. 24-26).
Also on view will be several Kurt Hentschlager’s 3D-animated audiovisual installations, using choreographed motion, light and sound. They include Hive (Wood Street Galleries, Sept. 27-Dec. 31), Granular Syntheses: Model 5 & POL (SPACE, Sept. 27-Oct. 20)and an encore presentation of Zee (934 Liberty Avenue, Sept. 26-Oct. 27).
FYI: At the first Festival in 2004, we had groups such as Germany Theatre Titanick, England’s lone twin, Spain’s Cesc Gelabert, Akhe Group from Russia and Teatre Rozmaitosci from Poland. In 2008, the Festival featured Spain’s Theater of the Senses, Slovenia’s Ballet Maribor, British performance artist Paul Reder, alto sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa, Dutch-based Kassys in Liga and Norway’s Jo Stromgren in The Department, and Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips’ collaboration with The Warhol, 13 Most Beautiful.
In 2004, there were plenty of empty seats, but by 2008, most performances were sold out. Don’t miss it — a great opportunity to catch a real slice of what is new and exciting in the world of visual and performing arts!
Tickets for all performances are $25. — trustarts.org/first, 412-456-6666, Box Office at Theater Square. The Hentschlager exhibits are free.