Sound Mathematics

James Hegarty's codes, computers and cantatas

THUR 5/8

St. Louis Community College-Forest Park music-department big cheese James Hegarty debuts his new composition Polygraphiae tonight at 8 p.m. in Christ Church Cathedral, which seems fitting for a piece that has its origins in the Middle Ages. Inspired by a 500-year-old book of medieval codes devised by mathematician Johannes Trithemius, Hegarty has composed music for soprano voice, cello and two computers that draws heavily on Trithemius' encryption methods and medieval chants. This amalgamation of ancient music and mathematics with modern technology takes the form of a song cycle about forbidden love wherein the lovers exchange coded messages. Snippets of Polygraphiae available at www.noisereductionsociety.com feature the almost alien tempos of medieval music made even creepier by the keening moan of cello over a shapeless drone of digitally generated ambient noise. In the acoustically lush confines of the cathedral, Kathryn Stieler's voice and Michael Masters' cello should create a haunting tableau suitable for the Dark Ages. Hegarty is joined on the computer by Joseph Potthoff; they plan to further enhance the auditory experience with an eight-speaker surround-sound system. Christ Church Cathedral is located at 13th and Locust streets. Call 314-644-9769 for more info on this free event. -- Paul Friswold

Through the Glass Curtain
Diversifying local theater

MON 5/12

Observers of the St. Louis theater scene know that it's thriving and challenging. But recently, some folks have begun to ask, "Shouldn't the actors and audiences be more racially diverse?"In the hope of getting some answers, Scott Miller's New Line Theatre (314-773-6526, www.newlinetheatre.com) hosts a racial-diversity symposium at 7 p.m. at the Grandel Theatre (3610 Grandel Square). The free discussion is open to all, but Miller is especially hoping to see local producers, directors, actors, stage-tech types and board members. A panel led by Ron Himes of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company and Ed Reggi of Paper Slip Theatre will get the discussion going. "I've been thinking about this issue for a number of years, and I realize how little we've all done," writes Miller. "St. Louis is a racially diverse community, and our theater should reflect that diversity." -- Byron Kerman

How's Your Wife?
Pinter's baby-mama drama

Harold Pinter loves the quiet spaces. His plays are pocked with gaps and pauses, little hitches in dialogue that illuminate meaning and characterization. The sordid little family of men in The Homecoming speak about nothing, but the silence that shrouds their speech limns their words with subtle hues of gray that reveal everything. In the play's final scenes, their inability to speak about what is right in front of them inspires shock but also a terrible sympathy for their broken plight. The City Players perform The Homecoming at 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, May 9-25, at St. John's United Methodist Church (5000 Washington Avenue). Tickets are $12-15; call 314-719-2855 for info. -- Paul Friswold

French Kiss

FRI 5/9

If you're sick of "freedom fries" and other jingoistic claptrap, support Gallic dissent by attending Songs From the Heart, a cabaret performance at Voilà French Café (Lindell Boulevard and Taylor Avenue). There's an $8 food-and-drink minimum on top of the $12 admission fee, the show starts at 8:30 p.m. and reservations are required (call 317-367-4100)."Vive les pommes frites!" -- Paul Friswold

 
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