Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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The Province, Vancouver
http://www.theprovince.com/entertainmen ... story.html

Video "A visit to Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel": http://youtu.be/SymmcScMBOs
Cohen's music inspires Power
By Stuart Derdeyn, The Province February 6, 2012

Image
Leonard Cohen's musical musings are at the heart of Tracey Power's new play
Photograph by: Handout photo, The Province


All of us at times have listened to lyrics and imagined a scene playing itself out to them. Put enough of those moments together and a story is created.

Playwright and actor Tracey Power did just that, utilizing Leonard Cohen’s music to spin a yarn about a writer seeking inspiration — one visited by past muses and intent on exploring new possibilities ¬— in her new show Chelsea Hotel.

No other text is used in the performance save the acclaimed Montreal lyricist’s poetry being performed by the six-member cast, which includes Lauren Bowler and Rachel Aberle (as the sisters of mercy), Marlene Ginader (the woman), Benjamin Elliott (the bellhop), Steve Charles (the sideman) and Adrian Glynn McMorran (the writer).

Chelsea Hotel isn’t the first musically based play from Power, whose Back to You, the Life and Music of Lucille Starr looked at an iconic Canadian country singer from the 1950s.

The new work had its origins in a music and movement “period piece” without words called “The Accordion” set in Vienna in the ’20s. As it developed, Power started considering using music with lyrics in a full length project.

“I never got past Leonard Cohen when I considered that,” says Power. “His storytelling ability, his imagery, his beautiful text and his music all seemed to fit my story of the writer who has lost his voice. There are about 30 of Cohen’s songs in the show, sometimes we use three minutes, other times only 30 seconds.”

Working with cast member Charles, who arranged the music throughout, the pair set about finding the right songs to carry forward the storyline.

It proved challenging as some of the classic Cohen material just didn’t fit and they knew there would be people turning up expecting to hear certain songs in the mix. A balance between the paramount importance of the show and the audience’s desires was finally struck.

“I have been a fan of his for a decade or longer and I still found myself discovering so much material that I didn’t know previously.

“I also read all of his books and a lot of his poetry to come up with how to tell the story using entirely his own words and none of my own,” says Power.

So unlike Abba’s Mamma Mia!, Chelsea Hotel is not a jukebox musical where songs that suit the script are inserted into parts of the narrative.

If “I’m Your Man” turns up, it is for the purpose of character development. There are also aspects of silent films in the show, which is a music, dance and theatre hybrid that is “really different.”

Power has arranged everything from the actors’ voices to their instrumental skills to be “all action based interpretation.”

And as to whether Powers’ turn in the recent Vancouver Playhouse production of La Cage Aux Folles influenced any of the dance in Chelsea Hotel, she says no. Yet it’s a good bet some of the feather boa action that found its way into the work might have roots in Jean Poiret’s campy romp.

Next up for the playwright is a tour to Alberta singing and dancing in the Alberta tour of the Toronto play Ubuntu.

sderdeyn@theprovince.com

twitter.com/stuartderdeyn

--------

ON STAGE

Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of Leonard Cohen

Where: Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova St.

When: Wednesday-March 3, at 8 p.m.; Weekend matinees at 2 p.m., Wednesday matinees at 1 p.m.

Tickets: $31 at firehallartscentre.ca or 604-689-0926
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Thanks Roman
I posted about this show awhile back but can't find it anymore. I saw this article last night...
Planning to go visit my hometown to see this show and will give a report.
Leslie 8)
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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viewtopic.php?f=8&t=31118

Oh, Leslie. Hope I'm not losing my skills, it's all because of fatigue :roll:
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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http://www.straight.com/article-596306/ ... songs-life
Chelsea Hotel brings Leonard Cohen songs to life
By Colin Thomas, February 2, 2012

[photo that is too big for this page]

Sitting in the lobby of the Firehall Arts Centre, which is producing the show, Power makes it clear: even though the script features a character called the Writer who examines his many mistakes in love, and even though the show explores the Writer’s relationships through Cohen’s songs, this is not a show about Cohen’s fabled love life. “He’d probably despise the idea of a musical biography,” Power states. “We’re not presenting Cohen facts.”

Instead, The Chelsea Hotel tells a fictional story in an impressionistic way; the whole thing takes place inside the Writer’s head. “He wonders why he’s alone in this rundown hotel, unable to write,” Power explains. So the Writer sorts through his memories.

Power conceived of this project. She is also directing and choreographing it. In the story she has invented, Marianne of “So Long, Marianne” is an upper-class girl playing at being an artist; Suzanne, who takes you down to her place by the river, is an activist; and so on.

Asked what viewers will get out of hearing these songs in the context of an overarching narrative that they wouldn’t get in a concert, Power replies, “I want the audience to get attached to these characters, to wonder if the Writer will find his voice, if he’ll be able to forgive himself.”

To make The Chelsea Hotel work theatrically, Power and her collaborators, including musical director Steve Charles, will shake up our expectations of many much-loved tunes. “All of the arrangements are specific to this show,” she says, “and, because we’re creating an illusionary world—because it’s all memory, it’s got kind of a carny feel to it. We’ve varied the instruments, and, because Cohen’s stuff can be kind of slow and steady—which is beautiful when he does it, but might not be very interesting in a whole show—we’ve varied a lot of the tempos.”

Although she’s telling a story, Power is determined not to diminish the associative power of Cohen’s lyrics by presenting them in too literal a manner. “I’ve always wanted this to be a fusion of music, theatre, and dance,” she explains. So the storytelling will be minimalist as well as surreal.

In Power’s staging of “Take This Waltz”, for instance, the Writer meets a woman named Nancy in Vienna. “She’s kind of a diva and he falls in love with her confidence, her sense of self,” Power relates. “And she falls in love with his scruffiness and boyish charm. But then, throughout the relationship, she wants him to clean up and become almost a reflection of her—to take on the materialistic sense that she has. He ends up realizing that he’s not being true to himself.” According to Power, telling the story of this affair in three minutes is “all about making simple choices—like, if she puts a tie on him or fixes his hair, we know, ‘Oh, she wants him to change.’”

Power continues: “I also really want the audience to be surprised.” Sometimes, that surprise will come from the mix of forms; one performer will dance her love, while, at the same time, another sings his. And sometimes the surprise will come from concrete imagery. As Power points out, “You don’t expect someone to come on with a boat floating on their hand to tell a story.” Because the central character is a writer, Barbara Clayden’s costumes will look like they’re made out of paper with writing on it, and Marshall McMahen’s set will create a paper world.

When she’s asked what the point of the whole thing is, what lesson the Writer needs to learn, Power remains appropriately enigmatic and quotes one of Cohen’s poems: “Love is a fire/It burns everyone/It disfigures everyone/It’s the world’s excuse for being ugly.”

The Chelsea Hotel is at the Firehall Arts Centre from February 8 to March 3.
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Oh, Leslie. Hope I'm not losing my skills, it's all because of fatigue
Oh Roman your skills are amazing and so appreciated....hope the fatigue is going going gone... 8)
Cheers! Leslie
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Thank you, Leslie.

Another image from Chelsea Hotel:

Image
Photograph by: Gerry Kahrmann, PNG

This girl looks so serious. Actually, I love these images and would like to see the show. Unfortunately, I'm that far from Canada...
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Here's another review: Thanks to Arlene for this one!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/art ... nt=2332903
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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http://www.vancourier.com/entertainment ... story.html

Nostalgic Chelsea Hotel conjures up Canadian icon

Evening of Leonard Cohen full of lost lovers

BY JO LEDINGHAM, CONTRIBUTING WRITER FEBRUARY 14, 2012
STORYPHOTOS ( 1 )
Marlene Ginader and Adrian Glynn McMorran appear in Chelsea Hotel at the Firehall Arts Centre.
Photograph by: submitted, for Vancouver Courier
Chelsea Hotel

At the Firehall Arts Centre until March 3
Tickets: 604-689-0926, firehallartscentre.ca

One acoustic guitar, two electric guitars, one violin, one cello, three kazoos, one banjo, one ukulele, one bass, one accordion, one keyboard and a set of drums. Six performers. One minute Rachel Aberle and Lauren Bowler are belting out a song and the next, Aberle sits astride the cello and Bowler has moved over to the keyboard; instruments are passed back and forth between performers like canapés at a wedding reception. Conceived and directed by Tracey Power, there’s a ton of talent in this Firehall Arts Centre production of Chelsea Hotel, an evening of Leonard Cohen songs with a through-line of lovers crumpled up and tossed aside like so many first drafts.

Adrian Glynn McMorran is The Writer, hunched over his desk in his Chelsea Hotel room that set designer Marshall McMahen almost obliterates with scrunched up paper. It’s probably “four in the morning/the end of December,” as the song goes, when The Writer, working at his notebook with a bottle of scotch at hand, is visited by muses: two Sisters of Mercy (Aberle and Bowler) and three whiteface, clown- like yet slightly sinister characters: The Bellhop (Benjamin Elliott), The Woman (beguiling Marlene Ginader) and Sideman (Steve Charles).

Ex-lovers drift through Cohen’s songs that come thick and fast in a continuous stream. Some songs are “rocked out” and at least one (“I’m Your Man”) pokes fun at Cohen by being sung by women.

I was sent hurtling back to my 30s when I, like many women in Canada, fell in love with Leonard Cohen. An almost overwhelming nostalgia for time past grabbed me but was sent packing by Bowler’s bracing call-to-arms, “First We Take Manhattan,” which, according to Cohen, he doesn’t really understand either but, as he said, “It sounds good.”

Chelsea Hotel doesn’t just sound good; it sounds—and looks—great.

joled@telus.net

© Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier















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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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CHELSEA HOTEL FEATURING THE SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN AT THE FIREHALL ARTS CENTRE SEPT 28-NOV 3
by SHAWN CONNER in ENTERTAINMENT on September 27, 2012

Inside Vancouver
http://www.insidevancouver.ca/2012/09/2 ... -firehall/
Image
Rachel Aberle, Steve Charles, Benjamin Elliott, Marlene Ginader and Lauren Bowler. Photo credit – David Cooper

Leonard Cohen casts a big shadow in Canada. Novelist, poet, singer, survivor and sex symbol, the craggy old Montrealer is the country’s Dylan.

The master is back on tour for a new album, Old Ideas, with a Vancouver show Nov 12 at Rogers Arena. However, for those who can’t wait, the Firehall Arts Centre is bringing back its hit show Chelsea Hotel, which features a number of Cohen’s best-known songs interpreted by a cast of talented musicians/actors.

But there’s a story, too.

Haunted by memories of his tumultuous love life, a writer (Glynn), desperate to find the words and inspiration for his next song, is haunted by muses and relationships from his past. Reluctantly, he comes face to face with his present love, whom he wishes he could not just forget, but erase from his memory. Ah, if only life were that easy!

Chelsea Hotel mixes music, dance, theatre and Cohen’s famous melancholy. Songs include classics like “Take This Waltz,” “I’m Your Man” (which cast member Lauren Bowler sings as a sexy kewpie-doll) and “Suzanne.”

Image
Adrian Glynn McMorran, Marlene Ginader and Steve Charles in Chelsea Hotel. Photo credit: David Cooper.

For this return engagement, Glynn, Bowler, Rachel Aberle, Steve Charles, Benjamin Elliott and Marlene Ginader reprise their roles.

In its first go-round earlier this year, Chelsea Hotel was nominated for three local theatre awards, including one for Outstanding Production, and played to sold-out houses. Even Colin Thomas, the notoriously hard-to-please theatre critic at the Vancouver news and entertainment weekly the Georgia Straight, called the show “a knockout.” The cast, he wrote, is “freakishly talented… Everybody on-stage is a star.”

The Firehall (280 East Cordova Street), celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, presents Chelsea Hotel from Oct 3 – Nov 3, with half-priced previews Sept 28 to October 2.

Tickets are available through the Firehall Box Office by phone at 604.689.0926 or online at http://www.firehallartscentre.ca.
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Chelsea Hotel - The Songs of Leonard Cohen on Novus TV

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXN05HmTSiw
We’re at the Vancouver Firehall Arts Centre with host Meredith Geddes to check out ‘Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen’. Sold out to audiences across Canada, if you love Leonard Cohen, you’ll love Chelsea Hotel!
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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This January (7-11) Chelsea Hotel was played at Theatre Calgary, accompanied by an exhibition of Elizabeth Laishley's paintings (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=32467).

She's tweeted on this and revealed a brand new painting, A Street:
https://twitter.com/artviewconsult/stat ... 3668861952
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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The Firehall Arts Centre Presents CHELSEA HOTEL: THE SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN At The Firehall, February 3-March 3

To toast Mr. Cohen's legacy and their 342 performances of Chelsea Hotel, The Firehall is holding a special pre-show reception on Friday, February 23.

By: A.A. Cristi
Jan. 08, 2024
https://www.broadwayworld.com/vancouver ... 3-20240108
A crowd favourite when it premiered here at The Firehall in 2012 followed by a successful Canadian tour, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen returns this winter from Saturday, February 3 to Sunday, March 3, 2024. To toast Mr. Cohen's legacy and their 342 performances of Chelsea Hotel, The Firehall is holding a special pre-show reception on Friday, February 23.

Haunted by memories of his tumultuous love life, a writer checks into New York's infamous Chelsea Hotel desperate to find the words and inspiration for his next song. Wading through past relationships, he reluctantly comes face to face with the love of the present – a love he wishes he could not only forget, but erase from memory.

Leonard Cohen's powerful and inspirational music is the heartbeat for Chelsea Hotel. Through Cohen's transcendent songs and the honesty of his lyrics, audiences will be transfixed by this eclectic cabaret of loves won and lost and become witness in the search for the words to cure love's pain.

Directed by Tracey Power, with musical arrangements by Steve Charles, and produced by The Firehall's Donna Spencer, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen is an inventive fusion of music, dance, and theatre that invites its audience into the hotel room of a creative mind and takes them on a poetic musical journey. The production premiered in February of 2012 and was nicknamed ‘the make out show' as patrons were often caught kissing outside the theatre after the show. It was remounted by popular demand in autumn of that same year and went on tour to Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, and Toronto.

"When Tracey Power brought her concept to me in 2011 for what was to become Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, I didn't expect the original 2012 Firehall production to have such a long and wonderful life,” says Spencer. “Between its premiere and over the six years that followed, over 300 performances were done in theatres across Canada from Victoria to Toronto — and the amazing Ben Elliott was in all of them. When our colleagues at Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops produced the work in 2022, I was reminded how much our audiences loved Chelsea Hotel and how fabulous the creative artists involved were, so I wanted to bring it back home. And while Ben (having just completed a run of As You Like It for Bard in Washington, DC) will not be with us for this run, the production is fabulous and audiences will fall in love with it once again.”

Since its premiere, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen has played to audiences of all ages and received praise across the country for its imagination and creativity. It received Ovation Awards for “Outstanding Ensemble Production” and “Outstanding Director”, and received numerous nominations for awards including a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award, Calgary Theatre Critics' Award, and Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award. The production, a tribute to one of Canada's remarkable writers, has played to sold out houses across the country, with patrons returning again and again.

Director & Choreographer: Tracey Power
Musical Direction & Arrangements by: Steve Charles
Performers: Adrian Glynn McMorran, Jack Garton, Marlene Ginader, Michelle Bouey, Steve Charles, & Tracey Power
Associate Director: James Macdonald
Set & Costume Designer: Drew Facey
Associate Set Designer: Ted Roberts
Associate Costume Designer: Barbara Clayden
Lighting Designer: John Webber
Associate Lighting Designer: Zac Labrie
Scenic Painter: Tegan Klancnik
Stage Manager: Emma Hammond
Artistic Producer: Donna Spencer
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Re: Chelsea Hotel: The Words and Music of LC by Tracey Power

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More info -

"Chelsea Hotel" taps into Leonard Cohen's inspirational art

by Mike Usinger on February 3rd, 2024 at 1:15 PM

https://www.straight.com/arts/chelsea-h ... tional-art
Leonard Cohen was famously uninterested in dissecting his poems and songs, preferring fans to come at his work in a way that meant something to them on a personal level. That was driven home repeatedly over a career that spanned seven decades, and saw the Canadian poet revered by everyone from Elvis Costello and Lana Del Ray to Nick Cave and Kurt Cobain. To really understand Cohen's philosophy, think about the lyrics “Listen to the mind of God/Don’t listen to me”, found in one of his last works, “Listen To the Hummingbird”. The messaging is clear: take my art as inspiration, not as gospel.

That made Steven Charles’ approach to Cohen’s music entirely fitting when, a decade ago, he sat down to interpret the Canadian icon’s song for the musical Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen.

“It’s a bit like something from a circus—magical, weird, all reharmonized with interesting instrumentation,” the multi-talented Vancouver music and theatre-scene veteran says. “I was actually on tour in England with a company, and there was no internet. I was staying in this little motel, kind of like the character of The Writer in Chelsea Hotel. I wrote most of the arrangements there by myself, kind of the way Chelsea Hotel is built around this writer who’s stuck in a hotel room.”

Looking back, that moment was a blessing—one of those times when artistic inspiration arrives out of nowhere like a gift to be grabbed from the cosmos.

“It was really useful—you know how you’re kind of by yourself and doing a creative thing, and it can get a little bit weird?” Charles asks. “Like there’s no interacting with people—it’s just you. That happened. I look back now and go ‘Whoa­—what was I thinking about those reharmonizations or whatever?’ But somehow it kind of all holds together.”

First mounted at the Firehall in 2012, Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen became an instant hit, eventually making its way across Canada as a touring production. Created by director-choreographer Tracey Power with musical direction by Charles, the show is set in the fabled 12-story New York City landmark that’s served as a base for creatives ranging from Bob Dylan and Arthur Miller to Sid Vicious and Patti Smith.

A character named The Writer—later seen amidst a mountain of crumpled paper—checks in during a low point, desperately hoping for a creative spark to turn the wreckage of his love life into song. What follows is a tribute to the power of art—its ability to heal and inspire, on both a micro and macro level. Anchoring things are the songs of Cohen, the production spanning the hits (“Hallelujah”, “Suzanne”, “First We Take Manhattan”) and the deep cuts (“The Guests”, “A Singer Must Die”, “Paper Thin Motel”).

Those who first saw Chelsea Hotel: The Songs of Leonard Cohen a decade ago can expect something a little different this time around, the success of the musical enabling the creative team to create a bigger set and go all-in on the costuming. The changes don’t stop there for Charles.

“We’re kind of inhabiting this world of Leonard Cohen,” he says. “As I’ve grown older I’ve realized you understand his poetry and his songs in new ways. So the show feels more informed and refined. It’s basically the same story, same world, same magic, but maybe, because we’re older now, it somehow means more.”

Like Cohen, Charles is someone whose work moves across different creative worlds. Vancouver music fans know him for projects that include throwback bluegrass revivalists Viper Central forward-thinking folk fusionists the Fugitives (whose Adrian Glynn stars in Chelsea Hotel). Theatregoers have seen his work as a musical arranger and soundscape creator in productions such as One Hour Photo and Miss Shakespeare.

For Chelsea Hotel, Charles quite rightly took the approach that the world doesn’t need another straight-up rendition of “Hallelujah”. So he set out to reimagine Cohen’s songs, sometimes speeding them up or veering off-kilter in a way that’s been praised as bohemian and carnivalesque. The show’s six performers join him on 15 instruments.

He admits that, when he first began thinking about Cohen’s body of work for Chelsea Hotel, he wasn’t necessarily a fan.

“His recordings sometimes are weird and produced in weird ways—there are stories about his recording sessions where even he didn’t like the production,” Charles says. “Some of his stuff is super-cheesy, and he’s got this voice that you have to get used to. Cohen was like that for me. I didn’t really know him or get him before I started working on this.”

The more he immersed himself in the Canadian legend’s world for Chelsea Hotel though, the more he began to understand the beauty of that world: it can be anything you want it to be.

“Inhabiting his poetry and songs and manifesting them every night, it was like you kind of started to understand his thing,” Charles says. “Now I am a fan. I’ve read a bunch of his books, his biographies and stuff. Maybe it’s prolonged exposure. It’s kind of like reading a book where you don’t quite buy the narrative voice. But then at a certain moment you start to believe it. And then you’re on board.”
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Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
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