January 13th, 2023 9pm Stage
In the fall of 2019, singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane embarked on a year-long hiatus from the internet in order to better understand our increasingly fraught relationship to technology. His intimate and achingly vulnerable solo performance, Magnificent Bird, is the culmination not only of that experiment, but of years of inquiry into the impact of machines on the human spirit. By turns irreverent and elegiac, Kahane’s marriage of story and song guides us through his digital sabbatical, and the interlocking crises—a pandemic, global protests, natural disasters, and a contentious presidential election—which intersected with his return to analog life. But whereas the year 2020 was one of extreme social isolation for Kahane, his 8,980-mile railway journey following the 2016 election—which resulted in 2018’s acclaimed Book of Travelers—was willfully social, an attempt to cut through the layers of media that have rendered the American body politic catastrophically polarized. At the center of the piece, then, Gabriel brings us into conversation with a number of the dozens of passengers he met aboard those trains, offering a window into their joys, griefs, and legacies, as well as a chilling chapter from his own family’s history. In sum, Magnificent Bird is a rhapsodic, novelistic, and spellbinding cry from the heart: for all the wonders of the digital age, it is only the living who are capable of love.