On Stage


City of Lost Children

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Although Sean Meyer is the one who answered my questions about the Bellingham-based ensemble known as City of Lost Children, he wants it to be known that he is in no way the ringleader—or the mouthpiece—of the creative collective.

His reluctance to offer me a cast list, for example, points to the fact that, by the time the group’s upcoming iDiOM Theater performance, “Crushing,” is over, those who are involved in the current ensemble may well have moved on to other projects and won’t necessarily be part of whatever City of Lost Children does next.

“We are a constantly changing collection of artists of many backgrounds and mediums who are striving to replicate
the works that our muse allows us glimpses of,” Meyer says. “For ‘Crushing’ we are eight instrumentalists/vocalists, a costume designer, a set designer, a video editor and a lighting technician.”

Those who’ve seen City of Lost Children in action likely already know that the assorted assemblage defies easy categorization. At various shows, and in a number of different locales, they’ve performed orchestra pieces, presented a two-act musical play based on a Russian fairytale, and executed a note-for-note rendition of Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads album. So are they a band, or what?

“We are not a band first and foremost, anymore than we are a theater troupe, or a collection of filmmakers,” Meyer says. “We are only using those apparatuses to replicate the works we wish to create. The use of theater techniques has
been of interest lately as it helps to create an all-encompassing sensory experience that standing on a stage
dressed in street clothes holding electric guitars does not conjure.”

The press release for “Crushing” promises everything from music to dance, costumes, fires and fetishes. Themes of death, loss and longing are also expected to make appearances alongside “trip-hop” exploration, junk yard band pieces, forays into world music, elements of costume and set design and personae “construction” by the lead performers.

When asked how the theme of “Crushing” relates to the poster hanging around town for the show—in which a UFO appears to have taken out a woman bicycling through a suburban neighborhood—Meyers explains that the central image, local artist Andrea Heimer’s “When Beverly Miller’s Twin Brother Disappeared She Said the Weight of the Unknown Was Crushing Her and Then She Disappeared Too,” fit with what they were trying to get across.

“The title ‘Crushing’ is meant to convey all potential interpretations of the word,” Meyer says, ‘from the affectionate feeling to the physical violence—all of which are part of this performance.”

Much like the wish to remain semi-anonymous, those involved in City of Lost Children aren’t exactly anxious to spill the beans on what their future productions will look or sound like. But, as with “Crushing,” they are willing to give hint or two when it comes to piquing the interest of their past and future supporters. 

“Publicly talking about future endeavors has a way of creating an expectation—or worse, a deadline,” Meyer says. “We like to alleviate those stresses. But the next thing we have completed work on and are just waiting to see finalized is the score to a short film. It is likely that said film will have some screenings with live score accompaniment.”

As for who’s involved with that upcoming project, well, there’s no telling. Finding out more about “Crushing,” however, is easy. Just show up this weekend and next at the iDiOM Theater and do your own detective work. Yes, it’s really that easy.

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