The Nonsense Company, from San Diego, California, now based in Brooklyn, New York, performs new and innovative works of contemporary music and theater, with an emphasis on the musical use of speech in estranged contexts and the application in theater of techniques more commonly associated with music. The Company's name is borrowed from Franz Schubert’s ensemble, die Unsinn Gesellschaft, who with radically spare resources spawned a revolution in the music and poetry of the nineteenth century.
The company’s current members, Rick Burkhardt, Andy Gricevich, and Ryan Higgins, have worked and studied with composers and performers such as Steve Schick, Chaya Czernowin, Red Fish Blue Fish, John Fonville, Herbert Brün, The Performers’ Workshop Ensemble, Ed Harkins, and Brian Ferneyhough, as well as with theater directors Rachel Chaivkin, Matt Wilder, David Wheeler, and Stefan Novinski. Their programs emphasizing the works of startling emerging composers have received repeated invitations to theater and music festivals throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe.
Rick Burkhardt is an Obie-award-winning playwright, performer, composer, and songwriter with degrees in Music Composition from the University of California San Diego and the University of Illinois. His chamber music, theater, and text pieces have been commissioned and performed throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia by groups such as the Ensemble Surplus, Ensemble Ascolta, Ensemble Chronophonie, the La Jolla Symphony, sfSound, Toca Loca, the (past)modern duo, the NOISE quartet, Watts Village Theater Company, and the Olympia Chamber Orchestra. With Andy Gricevich he tours the US in the cabaret duo The Prince Myshkins, whose original songs have been performed and recorded by folk musicians across the country. He also performs with Brooklyn theater companies Hoi Polloi and Banana Bag and Bodice.
Andy Gricevich is a guitarist, singer, poet, actor and composer of music for tape, and perhaps the world’s foremost avant-garde autoharpist. With Rick Burkhardt, he founded the Utopia Train Theater collective in Urbana, IL and San Diego, CA, as well as the political cabaret duo The Prince Myshkins, who for ten years have travelled the country performing for everyone from long-time activists and unionists to theatergoers, high school students, philosophy departments, clowns and nuns. His poems and essays have appeared in various journals of innovative writing. Andy edits CANNOT EXIST, a small poetry press and print quarterly published in Madison, Wisconsin, and co-hosts the "_____-Shaped" reading series.
Ryan Higgins is a writer, actor, and musician who graduated from UC San Diego’s theater program. A founding member of the acclaimed San Diego / Los Angeles theater company Blebbings, he has created roles in dozens of theatrical, musical, and choreographic works composed for him by Nick Olney, Lisa Fay, and Rick Burkhardt. Working frequently with Los Angeles theater directors Matt Wilder and Stefan Novinksi, he has performed major roles in plays by Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Marguerite Duras, and Wallace Shawn, and in contemporary adaptations from the Noh theater.