NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Walton Arts Center is presenting the world premiere of Grammy Award-winning composer Steve Mackey’s new music-theater work, “Memoir,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18.
According to a press release, the new work is being performed by Dover Quartet, arx duo and Natalie Christa as part of “Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts + Nature Festival.” Tickets are $15-$25.
The 75-minute music-theater piece “brings the life of the composer’s mother Elaine Mackey to the stage,” as told through the pages of her memoirs. “Memoir” explores the tumultuous 20th century as told through the eyes of a first-generation American woman charting her own path in search of the American Dream.
Elaine Mackey’s journey—through love and loss, struggles with gender norms and social mores, and a personal battle with alcoholism—is told through music and narrated vignettes from her own memoir and from Steven Mackey as well. Written for the unusual combination of string quartet, percussion duo and narrator, the “visually and sonically captivating work” spans diverse musical landscapes and characters, from witty and playful to rich and profound.
Mackey found inspiration in his mother’s demeanor regarding the obstacles and triumphs she faced over the course of her life, stating: “There is a touching candor and vulnerability to my mom’s stories revealing the tension between her shy nature and her longing for adventure; her ‘nice-girl’ upbringing and her openness to experience. Familiar themes of love, loss, gender roles and social mores ensconced in her intense personal struggle with alcoholism and its stigma.”
“Artosphere Festival,” taking place throughout the month of May, celebrates art, music and nature with exciting performances, activities and events that the whole family can enjoy. Each year, audiences are excited to experience the classical and symphonic performances that make up a large portion of the festival’s programming.
For more information about the Artosphere Festival and a complete event lineup, download the Artosphere App from Google Play or the Apple App Store or visit artospherefestival.org.