Describing the work of Samuael Topiary is a little in the vein of The Sound of Musics How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Truly, how do you catch a cloud a heady, arts-literate cloud and pin it down? Miz Topiary brings to the stage her fascination with the myth of Icarus, the Greek buffoon who flew his hand-crafted wings too close to the sun and melted them. And then he fell from the sky. Now, many mythical centuries later, the tale serves as a handy metaphor for ambition and physical limitation. Topiary embodies six different characters onstage in Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, including Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who painted Landscape with the Fall of Icarus in 1558. Her characters explore the intersection of art, technology, and flying via video projections, poetry, monologue, sock puppets (tossed into the lineup ever so casually), and live music. Former Bay Area resident and great talent C. Ryder Cooley plays the saw, ukelele, and accordion in the show: If you ever caught a Down River show (Cooleys band with fellow maestra of esoterica, Anah-k) in the 1990s, you'll remember the sweet and eerie melodies she conjures. This is a smart, one-of-a-kind show that combines aesthetically beautiful imagery, astute observation, and Topiarys unique perspective one you would ultimately never want to catch or pin down.
Aug. 20-21, 8 p.m., 2010