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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Zombie Musicians Turned Indie Duo to Produce Folk Rock Opera

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 8:00 AM

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Abigail and Shaun Bengson are changing the face of musicals. The married couple, known collectively as "The Bengsons," have been married for as long as they have been performing together -- since 2008.

"We got hitched three weeks after our first band rehearsal," Shaun says.

"First we were writing songs under the name of 'Zombie Nationalists'. We played a lot of zombie-related songs. That was sort of a strange chapter," Abigail says, laughing. "When we had material ready and were ready to admit that we were actually in a band together, we became 'The Bengsons'."

Instead of singing about zombies, The Bengsons are now a rousing indie folk-rock duo. You may recognize their song "Ashes" from season 10 of So You Think You Can Dance?. Sounding like a cross between the indie bands Fun and Grouplove, when the Bengsons perform they are absolutely ecstatic, dancing, throwing their heads back and smiling so enthusiastically it makes this writer smile just looking at how happy they are to be onstage.

"I feel the most myself when I'm performing," Abigail says. "It's when I feel the most honest."

Now they have combined the musical styles of opera and folk-rock with the art of storytelling, and their own personal experiences, to create their new production "Hundred Days: A Folk Rock Odyssey about Life, Love and Loss."

The plot chronicles the fictional characters Will and Sarah, who fall in love and realize shortly thereafter that they only have 100 days left to be together because of a terminal disease. They pack the 100 days that follow with enough memories to last them the 60 years they thought they would have together.

About the theme of their production, Shaun says, "When we fell in love, we lost our immortalities. I realized how fragile this person was that I put all of myself in, and in that very moment we both became moral, and I think the show came out of just trying to deal with that."

Abigail adds that the two of them also have friends that have suffered from illnesses, and "falling in love so quickly had us asking ourselves this question of what we would do if we didn't have much time together, if one of us got really ill. 'Hundred Days' was our way of answering that question."

"Hundred Days" is set to run from Feb. 20-April 6, at Z Space (450 Florida). The Feb. 27 performance will be part of NoisePop.

If you're interested in checking out "Hundred Days," you can buy tickets here.

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Jessica Nemire


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