The Keep Going Songs: Bengson Duo Explores Grief and Joy at LCT3

The Keep Going Songs, a theatrical-concert experience, makes its world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 program, exploring themes of loss, grief, and hope. The 100-minute show, created by songwriting duo Abigail and Shaun Bengson, runs through May 26 at the Claire Tow Theater.

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Salman Akhtar
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TheKeep Going Songs: Bengson Duo Explores Grief and Joy at LCT3

The Keep Going Songs: Bengson Duo Explores Grief and Joy at LCT3

The Keep Going Songs, a new theatrical-concert experience created by songwriting duo Abigail and Shaun Bengson, makes its world premiere at Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 program. The show officially opened on May 2 at the Claire Tow Theater, following previews that began on April 20. This unique hybrid of music and offbeat storytelling delves into the complex themes of loss, grief, and hope.

Inspired by the death of Abigail's brother Peter last August at the age of 55 and the couple's new roles as parents, The Keep Going Songs seamlessly blends ephemeral moments of sadness, rapture, and transformation through a diverse mix of musical genres, including folk, rock, and punk. The 100-minute evening features Abigail's powerful vocals and Shaun's multi-instrumental talents on guitars, flute, and bells, enhanced by layered recorded instruments and vocals that expand the harmonies and sonic atmosphere.

The show's set, designed by Cate McCrea, features a makeshift arch made of stacked wooden crates, with instruments and equipment on a tiny stage. This intimate setting provides the backdrop for the Bengsons' deeply personal storytelling and evocative music. As Abigail sings,"What's gonna happen? We don't know! A beat, then: We are gonna find out as we go."

TheKeep Going Songsexplores the idea that grief doesn't have to be a linear process and that joy can be found even in the midst of profound sadness."We've been doing a lot of research, selfishly, about how to handle the doozies,"Abigail says, referring to life's challenges. The couple's quirky and engaging music serves as a vehicle for this message, with songs like "Awe" featuring fascinating factoids about the natural world and "Fat" delving into the precariousness of a child surviving the birth process.

The show also incorporates elements of ritual and audience participation. Abigail shares a pint of Guinness, her brother Peter's favorite drink, with audience members as a form of communion. The second half of the performance features surreal and playful moments, including Shaun's song "Crab" and a comically convulsive dance, showcasing the Bengsons' ability to find humor and light in even the darkest of times.

The Bengsons are no strangers to the Claire Tow Theater, having previously presented their work at the venue. Their return with The Keep Going Songs marks another milestone in their career, as they continue to captivate audiences with their unique blend of music, storytelling, and raw emotional honesty. The show has already sparked awe and admiration among theatergoers, with many praising its charisma, weirdness, and originality.

The show draws to a close, Abigail and Shaun lead the audience in a powerful refrain: "I want you to want to live!" This simple yet profound message encapsulates the heart of The Keep Going Songs – a celebration of life's joys and sorrows, and a beacon that even in our darkest moments, hope and love can light the way forward. The Keep Going Songs runs through May 26 at the Claire Tow Theater, offering a unique and deeply moving theatrical experience.

Key Takeaways

  • The Keep Going Songs premieres at Lincoln Center Theater's LCT3 program.
  • The show explores themes of loss, grief, and hope through music and storytelling.
  • Abigail and Shaun Bengson's unique blend of music genres creates an intimate atmosphere.
  • The show incorporates ritual and audience participation, finding humor in dark times.
  • The Keep Going Songs runs through May 26 at the Claire Tow Theater.