music

 

Live music and sound are an integral component of my work. Since 2005 I have collaborated closely with composer Cormac Bluestone. Cormac’s compositions from our productions have been nominated for two New York Innovative Theater Awards for Outstanding Original Score, won the award in 2012 for The Caucasian Chalk Circle at Theater for the New City, and have been performed in Turkey, Australia and Russia, as well as around the US.

Below are samples of Cormac’s music from our productions. All music was performed live by the cast.

12th Night

The Wind and the Rain

-In our version of Feste the Fool’s final song, we used the sound of a music box to evoke simultaneous strains of innocence and world-weariness, wonder and melancholy.

Come Away, Death

-Our Feste the Fool, on ukulele, was accompanied by Orsino’s court musicians on violin, piano and guitar. The song provides an atmosphere of longing and sadness which encourages the listeners- Viola and Duke Orsino- to fall into a more intimate friendship.

The Caucasian Chalk Circle

Opening

-This song begins the Once-upon-a-time play-within-a-play in Brecht’s socialist fairy tale. Our cast performed the score live every night, playing 12 instruments, including piano, accordion, viola, mandolin, banjo, snare drum, harp and trumpet.

As She Was Standing

-The Singer tells us of Grusha’s inner struggle in the moment that she is about to run away from Michael, the abandoned royal child. Helping the child could cost her her life.

So Many Words are Said, There was Yearning but there was no Waiting


-These two songs comprise a duet of inner monologues: the Narrator sings the thoughts of Simon and Grusha as they stand gazing at each other from across a riverbank, mourning the impossibility of their union and unable to tell each other what they have suffered during the revolution.

There was civil war in the land

-The Singer and his Chorus tell us how the chaos of war allows our unlikely hero- Azdak- to become Judge. This is the first in a set of four songs celebrating Azdak’s strange but just reign.

Romeo and Juliet

Aria

-The lyrics of this song are from a cutting I did of Shakespeare Sonnet 145. This song was played on mandolin and piano as a piece of entertainment at the Capulet Ball, and acted as a backdrop to Romeo’s attempt to seek out his first private meeting with Juliet.

The Lusty Waltz

– This instrumental mandolin duet served as a launching point for Juliet’s sexually urgent “Gallop Apace” soliloquy, and is an example of the nearly all-mandolin score of our Romeo and Juliet.

American Sojourns: Three Plays by Thornton Wilder

Pullman Car Berths Thinking

-In this short play about the interconnectedness of humankind, the Stage Manager takes us on board a night train bound for Chicago. In this moment, he gives us a glimpse of what the passengers are thinking, alone and separate in their train compartments.

Pullman Car Earth’s Sound

-When one of the train passengers dies onboard, the Stage Manager calls upon the planets and all the people of earth to make their sounds, revealing the universal harmony that is the larger context of every moment of human life.

photography by Ahron R. Foster

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