Open Eye Figure Theatre is featuring an uplifting collaboration of songs by iconic Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel. Diana Grasselli, Prudence Johnson, and Bradley Greenwald deliver wonderful vocals that find the wit, the angry social conscience, and the anguish of a major figure of 20th century folk music. Michelle Kinney’s soulful cello, Tim Sparks’s guitar, and Dan Chouinard’s piano tenderly and vibrantly assist. The overall effect is spine-tingling at times.
Jacques Brel: When We Have Only Love tracks Brel’s audacious life from the post-World War II period starting in Belgium, onto his career based in Paris, up until his death in the late 1970s. The narration is to the point with references to Brel’s infidelities, his sexism issues, and the toll that live performance took on his body.
You will hear some of the tunes from the classic musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris but there are others too; notably such classics that soared on American airwaves –If You Go Away and Seasons in the Sun- loosely but beautifully translated by Rod McKuen. For those who don’t know the language, the Brel tunes sung in French have super titles that can be read while listening. That said, numerous tunes are sung in English. If you are unfamiliar with Brel, you don’t know what you’re missing. So take this opportunity at Open Eye.
Jacques Brel: When We Have Only Love
Through June 21
Open Eye Theatre, 506 E. 24th St., Mpls.