ORPHEUS RISES FROM THE COUCH
So one night we are watching this film.
Post HAiR, tired as can be, taking a mental vacation, and there it is.
It’s an old story, one of my favorites from child hood actually. But there it was in Technicolor no less staring us in the face. The film was Black Orpheus, with the amazing music of Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfá and suddenly, Christian jumps up from the couch and starts writing ….
We had been searching for an archetypical story to build a musical around to no avail. Not being play writes we had no idea if there was some form of divination we needed to learn in order to get a good idea but then it showed up, as all good things seem to do for us.
The basic idea of the Orpheus story involving a musician spoke to us immediately.
And after writing a few drafts of our own script now, we have managed to create something uniquely our own. Although our first act resembles Faust and the second act resembles Orpheus and Eurydice all you have to do is add some screaming guitars, killer vocals, platform shoes and you’ll get the idea of where we are headed. Some of the musical approaches we find inspiring are Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Jesus Christ Superstar, and The Shaming of The True, to name a few.
Now, not being the usual odd duck, I have found that even among the odd ducks of the world I am, well…odd. Most song writers enjoy writing endlessly about themselves and the repetitive love lives they suffer through. I was never too comfortable with that, although I have a few, I’ve always preferred homage and story telling that has less to do with me personally. Ya see where I’m going here? Kind of a good match, I thought.
So I says to myself, writing for a character should be a cinch. Well it’s not.
When writing lyrics you have to consider the language of your character and what the scene calls for, and these are just a few things to keep in mind. And as the great Sondheim implies in his wonderful book Finishing The Hat it’s embarrassing when your lyricist shows up more than the characters do. Kind of like an ill fitting slip under a waltz of black taffeta. Oops.
But I love a challenge, and so far I have found that these new boundaries have been a pleasure to work within and I know Christian has too.
Working with Christian Nesmith, the genius, on anything is a pleasure, if you ask me.
And we have been lucky to build a great rapport with one another over the years as collaborators.
Where I meander he always has a way to bring me back. And where he stalls I have the will to push him up the hill again and again.
So there it is, now you know how it all started. The journey has begun….