Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Rooms Later

Two or three weeks later, I'm still going with rooms and have begun to build them. Like all ideas, it takes effort every day to keep it alive.
Here's a recent one--ten minutes ago--I like. The show opens with the flaneur. I debated about dropping him, until I noticed the tv listing for the Brier wildcard game and decided to keep the flaneur as wild card.
So he comes out of the darkness first. He apologizes in advance for his shortcomings while implying that everything that is about to occur is somehow, as time's agent, his doing.
As he nears the end of his opening song, he introduces Patty and her situation briefly. She takes over, he fades,

Thursday, 22 February 2018

16 Rooms

The story would come from the place first, then the people. In either case, a series of rooms: the suites, hallway, boiler room, patio, parking lot, park downtown, storage room, vestibule, laundry room and, perhaps in the end, the common room. 
In every room, a song, and anywhere from one to six people to sing it. 
The figure of the flaneur, if he's still around, will cue us from one room to the next. Of course, the rooms would have to be sequenced to hook their audience into the cumulative story.
Yes, with the place comes the song, and the voices leading to and from. As before, the passage of time would be highly fluid, as I suppose it always is.
My room, her room, their room, our room.
In the random city.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Lin Manuel-Miranda, main creator of Hamilton, tells a story that goes something like this: He's written his first three songs and sketched a few more. He asks John Weidman, well-known librettist, for advice. What he, LM-M, wonders is whether new songs should  fill out the narrative (re Alexander Hamilton and the first thirty or so years of the U.S.A.) or just go where they will. Weidman advised the latter course, but I think LM-M took both. 
What this story offers me is the notion that if the songs are what I find most interesting about what I'm up to, that's the show. Let them build the story they build. Fill with a spot of flaneur, some wisecracks about aging from Patty's parents, or a twist in the life of the Nurse. And ever in reserve--a trip for two to the rooftop patio of the Oak Floors.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Number

If Patty plays Three Questions with the nurse after work (for the nurse, that is) one day, both question and replies, and any related chit-chat, would give us who they are. I can see one of them proposing the game and the other accepting, but I'm not sure how it ends. Could lead to other times and places, other characters. 
(Speaking of characters, today I thought of cutting to six--Patty, the Janitor, her Parents, the Flaneur, and the Nurse--plus a chorus/ensemble of three or four. They could do all the songs, convey all the movement, deliver the stories, create the future, love. Maybe.)
What would happen is that one of them, probably the Nurse, would get distracted and end up looking out a window. Patty should have stopped a question or two sooner.

Monday, 29 January 2018

What It Is

To review--
Darkness, light rising. It's a downtown park in summer on a work day, getting toward noon. A man has emerged from the edges. He carries an instrument (which I might ditch later) and jangles a set of keys (ditto) from his belt. This is the FLANEUR, as we will know him, who helps set the scene, then fades. 
By now the park has filled with URBANITES on lunch break--a scattered band of loungers and sun-bathers. Many check their news feeds. Street sounds--engines, calls, sirens, back-up beeps--coalesce into the vamp. "Oh-oh," someone says, reacting to a piece of news, and away we go into a news-that-bugs-me funk piece which, if built right, will bring down the house. 
As that ends, everyone heads back to work. The FLANEUR strolls along and runs into PATTY, who has locked herself out of her heritage apartment. "Love, Damn," she sings at this point, though even the FLANEUR, apologizing for his lack of omniscience, isn't sure what love is doing here.
Such a synopsis for a moment offers the following tack: just follow Patty. Keep track of what she wants . . .
Sure, but if I do, she might not ever get inside her heritage apartment and interact there with the food truck guy, the nurse, her parents, the actor, and the janitor. She might not read those memos and drink all that wine . . .
And whom would she sing with in the end?

Monday, 15 January 2018

Oak Floors, Flaneurity

He's still in the show, this flaneur. He speaks first, emerging from darkness as we all do. "It's getting toward noon," he says, as the light rises. "It's summer, a glorious summer." He carries on, pointing out a bench or two, a tree or two, a sidewalk, lawn, which appear as he mentions them. Urbanites are gathering for a break at noon hour, relaxing, checking their news feeds. A vamp builds out of the downtown noise-track--the engines, sirens, back-up beeps--and away we go with "Song to Sing," the opening number, a catalogue of things that bug us in this world. If I have my way (and whose other way would I have), this opener will bring the house down, and we just started! The flaneur, meanwhile, has faded to the edge of the scene, stepping forward again after the button to guide us into the next scene--Patty locked out of her apartment.
All very neat when I put it that way. Need I remind you, dear reader, of the obvious pitfalls of this enterprise? Nah.
But today's immediate matter is whether the flaneur speaks in prose or verse. So far, it's both. I think I have to go one way or the other. 

Friday, 12 January 2018

Oak Floors, More About The Flaneur

I call him, now, the flaneur (with that tent accent over the a), this figure who hovers before and after scenes, taking us around. Only we can see or hear him, though he's willing to chat with whoever comes along.
As flaneur, he walks, of course. The hallways of the Oak Floors are perfect for that. He's freer from time than the rest of us. He takes his job seriously, for a nut.
I must resist the temptation, however, to make this figure the hero of the piece. He's about audience only. What they need to stay with the show.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Oak Floors, The Musical

Every time I see a rehearsal, I learn something. Today I was able to catch the run for lights of Around the World in 80 Days, opening in two weeks at Globe Theatre. 
There's a narrator, at times. His/Her voice fulfills the simple task of letting us know what world we're living in, in this play. 
In recent days I've been think about inserting such a function into my musical (which is now known by the title of this blog entry). This Balladeer, as I call him, will guide us into and through the world of the piece without, I hope, getting in the way. Until these last few days, a young woman named Patty had the job of animating the transitions from scene to scene. I rather liked the hallway dance she did, and how just by cocking an ear toward a door as she passed she could get us into a scene inside. Now the Balladeer (a name I like less every time I use it) will do it.
As with every choice I make with this work, the pitfalls are plenty. But so far, so good. Patty, I think, will turn out to be more interesting when she's less responsible for moving things along. 
As long as this B. voice doesn't say too much. 
Closing note about one of the characters, whom I'd dubbed Paleo Joey, also the name of his food truck business: His real name is Paolo, from Portugal, and he's heading for a fado session with the nurse, Evelyn.