Deborah Henson-Conant

Virtual Artist Visit

with Grammy-Nominated composer/performer and electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant

In this free 12-Module virtual Artist Mini-Residency, students meet a real-life composer, who invented the instrument she plays, and who writes for symphony orchestra in some new and very unusual ways.

Once you register for the course, you’ll meet Deborah Henson-Conant, a Grammy-Nominated electric harpist with a wicked sense of humor and a theatrical flair.  Her work is about the power of invention and spontaneity …  and she plays the harp.

If you think that means a big instrument in the back of the orchestra, think again.

 

She’s shrunk it down, strapped it on and plugged it in – and she pulls sounds from her 32 strings that you’d never expect to hear from the instrument St. Peter hands out at the Pearly Gates:

Blues.  Flamenco. Distortion.

Poetic dissonance – from tender to bombastic – in movement, story and song.

 

In this Virtual Mini-Residency you’ll learn about some of the ways she finds inspiration, some of the things she tells her students … and you’ll see performance clips that may not be at all what you expected from a harp and the woman who wears it.

Press Quotes

What the Press says:

“…everything from dreamy glissandos to gutbucket blues on her electric harp and singing up a storm … a little bit pearly gates, a little bit Barbarella.” (The Boston Globe)

“…one of the quirkiest, most delightful performance pieces this side of limbo … She has depth, inner-wisdom and the ability to share her own demons…” (The Boston Metro)

“She’s charismatic and fearless, with stage presence to spare; she’s got a powerful singing voice, and above all, she can play the harp like nobody’s business…The Grammy nominee has Joan Baez-style vocal chops. She can pretty much make anything she wants come out of that harp – blues, rock, folk, musical theater-style ditties – and she does.” (The Boston Herald)

Audio/Video

Brief Synopsis of the Show

Tonight starts like any other night for Aubrey Giles, assistant performance coach in the Waiting Room for Heaven.  Her job is to warm up the newly-passed Heavenly Hopefuls – the audience – for a short 10 minutes, give them a brief Celestial orientation and then turn them over to the higher-ups for a more in-depth coaching and spiritual education.

But tonight Aubrey receives an unexpected call from On High.  There’s been a technical problem.  Aubrey needs to take over the full orientation.  Winging it, she fills in the standard spiritual parables with stories from her own life – lessons about the joys and terrors of Nothingness – and teaches the heavenly hopefuls her own secret tips for acing a Celestial audition.

When Aubrey accidentally hits the “Submit Audition” button while teaching the audience a ridiculous song, she discovers she’s put the entire audience in peril of purgatory. As she struggles to save their place in the choir she begins to wonder why she’s spent her entire after-life coaching others to reach the pinnacle of angelic achievement, why has she never made it through the audition herself?

Tech Overview

  • SHOW TYPE: One-woman musical
  • CAST: Henson-Conant performs this show solo with electric harp
  • SET & STAGE: Single set; Black box or standard stage
  • LENGTH: 1 Act – 90 minutes
  • ENSEMBLE/INSTRUMENTATION: Solo Electric harp, looper, voice & electric keyboard
  • SOUND & LIGHTS: Standard theater lighting; Standard sound reinforcement adequate for the theater; in-ear monitors or sidefill monitors
  • NOTES:  Aubrey’s costume is also part of the set, so it should be possible to hang the long silk-habotai that makes up her wings from at least 15′ above the stage floor.

BOOKING INQUIRIES:  Email info"at"hipharp.com and include the preferred date, location, length of run, how you heard about Deborah Henson-Conant and any other pertinent information about your theater, audience or festival.


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