Letting go of the music

April 1, 2008

sugcane.jpg

Composers, on hearing their new work taking shape, are like expectant fathers. There is a point where where they can only sit and listen: it is in the hands of the performers. Every mistake is amplified a hundred-fold (but you must NOT let on that you know it, because often times only the composer and the performers know), every moment that is beautiful is amplified a hundred-fold. Time becomes non-linear and warps.

Last night I met the cast and crew of HOMER IN CYBERSPACE. I arrived to find the entire group in a perfect circle, seated with Mel and Lindsey at the main table, and a chair for me. I missed Mel’s opening remarks, but heard him warning the cast to not be upset if lines are cut. “It isn’t personal.” We then saw a terrific model and computerized representation of the sets — just thrilling (can’t let too much out of the bag). We then saw some amazing renderings and sketches for some of the visual elements in the show that involve a team of artists from the film school as well as the computer science department. The costume designer then blew us away with the brilliant array of costumes for all the cast. The choreographer shared his vision of the dancing elements in broad strokes. All of the elements just mentioned tap into the ancient (Homer) and the modern world (Cyberspace). The juxtapositions are thrilling. I am so honored to be a part of this production.

Then it was the Mel and Roger show. Mel set up the scene and I would then sing the number. I sang 23 of the 25 numbers to the circle, walking around — addressing some songs to individuals. I was shameless. I don’t have a great voice, but I think I sold it.

I looked around the room and I didn’t sense I was losing anyone, and it went on till 10:30. So I’ll take that as a sign that they liked it. I mentioned this to Kevin (who is playing O) and he replied “they were with you because you were into it” which I think he meant dramatically — I “didn’t just la la the song.” [Composers take note.]

After I finished singing the music, I told them “I’m tired of hearing myself sing, now it’s time for you to take this and make it your own.” And as I drove home thinking about the evening, I realized I had given up my child to the people who will bring it to life. I now have to let go of the music.

The umbilical cord has been severed and it stings a little bit.

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[Photo by Roger Bourland of sugar factory in Maui]

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