Review: How "Spektorology" Works: You Peer Inside Yourself

Spektorology

Created by Marie Anello

Presented by Marie Anello and Chevy Lace at The Kraine Theater

85 E 4th St., Manhattan, NYC

June 23, 2022

Marie Anello. Photo by Karina Parker Mura
The title of Marie Anello's cabaret show Spektorology plays on the title of a single from musician Regina Spektor's new album (coincidentally released today) that is included late in the performance. Spektor's work is at once the object and a vehicle for the -ology of the title, and Anello assembles Spektor's idiosyncratic piano-centered indie tracks, tagged by some as art-punk, into a (self-)reflective musical journey. Spektorology is part of FRIGID New York's 8th Annual Queerly Festival, which runs from June 15 to July 3 and celebrates "all things" LGBTQIA+ while providing a variety of queer artists an unfettered space for self-representation. A livestreaming option is available for most of the festival shows; and both in-person and streaming tickets can be purchased at www.frigid.nyc.
Stephen Murphy and Marie Anello. Photo by Karina Parker Mura.
Spektorology structures itself around the Major Arcana of Tarot, which represent the progression from birth to death (and rebirth) and through which the figure of the Fool journeys, learning lessons and accumulating knowledge and experience, a path of personal growth moving from, roughly speaking, innocence to maturity. But even for those completely unfamiliar with Tarot, the names of the cards that are projected onto the rear wall, such as "Strength," or "The Lovers," or "Death," give a good idea of the thematic clustering of songs that they accompany. This structure, along with the sequencing of the included songs, help the show to build to a cathartic climax. The song that acts as the show's coda fittingly acknowledges messiness and loss but does so in the context of a call to communal celebration.
Marie Anello. Photo by Karina Parker Mura
The classically trained Anello is a powerful and expressive singer; and she receives dynamic accompaniment on keyboard by Stephen Murphy, member of indie-pop band Modern Ties and Music Director and Resident Composer for the Scranton Shakespeare Festival. Foot stomps occasionally and effectively punctuate the pair's drum-less renditions, and Anello weaves theatrical flourishes throughout the performance (or, looked at another way, draws out the inherent theatricality of a number of the songs), most sustainedly in the final of the show's five main movements or "Ages." Changes in dress at a couple of key points provide an additional punctuation, enhancing the show's thematic progression. Spektorology gives those familiar with Spektor's oeuvre to encounter it in a new way and from a new perspective, but you don't have to be a fan to enjoy this rousing, emotive musical experience.

-John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards

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