Glass, Confetti and Funny Faces


Ira Glass, center, with Anna Bass, left, and Monica Bill Barnes in "Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host." Photo © & courtesy of Adrianne Mathiowetz.

Ira Glass, center, with Anna Bass, left, and Monica Bill Barnes in “Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.” Photo © & courtesy of Adrianne Mathiowetz.

By Steve Sucato

Fortune smiled on Monica Bill Barnes when she met Ira Glass, host of public radio’s This American Life, in 2012. She and her 18-year-old New York-based dance troupe, Monica Bill Barnes & Company Productions, have since enjoyed life-altering success, teaming with Glass for Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.

In its second year of touring, the 90-minute, intermissionless extravaganza blends music, radio interviews restaged as dance, and stories from the lives of performers Glass, Barnes and Anna Bass. Choreographed by Barnes — whose work is known for its potent mix of funny faces and heartache — the show is packed with humor, sight gags, confetti and Glass’ own insights and charm. Stories include one about a group of Riverdance performers who are certain they’ll win the lottery if they just dance hard enough, and Bass’ experience dancing with strong-willed partner Barnes. “Chemically, we are similar movers,” Barnes says of Bass, by phone from New York.

“On stage she is a more generous performer than I am. I tend to be more reactive. Side-by-side it adds up to a perfect mixed message for audiences.”

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host  will be performed 8 p.m. Byham Theater, 101 Sixth St., Downtown. $25-65. 412-456-6666 or www.trustarts.org

This article originally appeared in Pittsburgh City Paper  on February 25, 2015. Copyright Steve Sucato.

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