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God In 3 Persons - Live! is a live performance event adapting The Residents' 1988 album God In Three Persons.

The show debuted with a one-off performance at the Transpalette in Bourges, France, and continued three shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on January 24th and 25th 2020. Further performances are expected in 2021.[1]

The show features The Singing Resident in the lead role of Mr. X, and genderqueer performance artist Jiz Lee as the miracle-working conjoined twins. A live recording of a MoMA performance was released to crowdfund contributors in September 2020.

History

Early attempts

The Residents first considered creating a stage show based on their 1988 narrative concept album God In Three Persons shortly after its release, getting as far as composing an overture for the potential show, but abandoning the idea when they instead developed the three performances pieces which became the 1989 tour Cube-E.

The unused "overture" to the show was released as "God In Three Person's Over" in 1989 on Buckaroo Blues. The idea to produce a theatrical version of the album remained unrealized for decades, with The Residents instead thinking "it would be a good movie".[2]

President of The Cryptic Corporation, Homer Flynn, revealed that The Residents were working on a new live version of God In Three Persons in an interview in early 2016.[3]

First performance

A truncated preview of the show was performed by the group in association with Bandits-Mages on April 27th 2019 at the Transpalette in Bourges, France, with the Singing Resident in the lead role of Mr. X. Guest performers included long-time collaborator Joshua Raoul Brody, and various performers from The National Art School of Bourges.

For this performance, The Residents appeared in costumes similar to the ones worn during the Ghost of Hope performance in 2017. The show preceded the August release of the pREServed three-disc edition of the original God In Three Persons album.

Museum of Modern Art performances

The Residents performed the complete theatrical performance of God In Three Persons three times on January 24th and 25th 2020 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. These shows were announced alongside a crowdfunding campaign in October 2019, via Indiegogo. Supporters of the campaign received rewards including merchandise relating to the show, props from the Bourges performance, and tickets to an intimate dress rehearsal of the performance on January 18th 2020 at The Lab in San Francisco.

The 2020 performances were more elaborate than the early version of the show seen in Bourges, featuring an entirely new version of God In Three Persons with orchestrations by Brody, and a method to perform in sync with three simultaneous video projections (with videos by artist John Sanborn). The new version of the show omits a number of songs originally included on the album, but opens with a new version of "God In Three Person's Over".

The show also featured set and costume design by long-time Residents collaborator Leigh Barbier. Genderqueer performance artist Jiz Lee starred as the gender-fluid conjoined twins, and the show's narrator Mr. X was again portrayed by the Singing Resident.

2021 performances

It was announced in December 2020 that The Residents and John Sanborn are planning to take the God In 3 Persons show back out on the road in 2021 with an expanded set list featuring three additional songs not heard in the earlier performances.

Related releases

The first release of the show was a short concert film made of the preview performance in France, released on Vimeo on June 17th, 2019 through the official Bandits-Mages channel.[4]

In January 2020, just prior to the Museum of Modern Art shows, a live album of the upcoming performances was promised to supporters of The Residents' Indiegogo page. The album was released to campaign supporters on September 3rd 2020.

In June of 2020, the official John Sanborn YouTube channel premiered a short concert film from the MOMA performances, which has since been unlisted.[5]

Concept

God In Three Persons is a raucous musical composition, fashioned as a propulsive hard rock oratorio with a deep Southern twang. It is sung in a rhythmic spoken-word style, similar to the talking blues, and driven by a bombastic and dynamic score derived, in large part, from the first few bars of the hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”. The lead character Mr. X narrates and is accompanied throughout by a chorus of voices, singing in high, nasal, “outsider­ country” harmonies.

Beginning with a series of flashbacks, our unreliable narrator Mr. X tells us of his discovery of a pair of conjoined twins he believes to be miracle workers. As they tour the revival tent circuit, the relationship between the twins and Mr. X shifts from paternal to something more sinister, as he becomes convinced one of the twins desires him. Framed by folksy memories, Mr. X pretends that his lurid obsession was simply a regard for the health and safety of these faith healing twins, until his libido bursts like a flood-swollen dam, causing a dire release and realignment of the twins’ connection.

This staged version centres on a live vocalist (one of The Residents performing as the lead character Mr. X) shadowed by an onstage double. They perform inside an innovative series of video projections that depict the thoughts and desires of Mr. X and draws the audience inside his collapsing mental state. Oscillating in style from animated cartoon to film noir, the media staging seduces the viewer as it takes us on a kaleidoscopic journey into the darkest corners of human desire.

Set list

2019 performance

Art by Stephane Blanquet for God In 3 Persons Live! MoMA program

  1. Hard & Tenderly
  2. The Thing About Them
  3. Their Early Years
  4. Confused (By What I Felt Inside)
  5. Silver, Sharp and Could Not Care
  6. Kiss of Flesh
  7. Pain and Pleasure

2020 performances

  1. Overture
  2. Hard & Tenderly
  3. Devotion?
  4. The Thing About Them
  5. The Touch
  6. The Service
  7. Confused (By What I Felt Inside)
  8. Fine Fat Flies
  9. Time
  10. Silver, Sharp and Could Not Care
  11. Kiss of Flesh
  12. Pain and Pleasure
  13. Curtains For Certain

Dates

2019

  • April 27th 2019 - Transpalette Centre d'Art Contemporain, Bourges, France (preview)

2020

See also

External links and references