Monday, May 14, 2007

Lizzie Borden.

Here's the New York Times review of that 1994 production. Not exactly a rave, but getting in the Times was cool. The comment about the story-telling was likely true. Traditional narrative was not a goal with the Tiny Mythic folks, and that was one of the reasons I loved working with them. The creative freedom. Still, we held ourselves to some standard of being responsible for creating an experience, a journey, for an audience, and we probably failed in some way with Lizzie Borden.

That's one reason it's so exciting to get to try again. I still don't know much about this new production, whether or not Tim will direct it, or to what extent I will be involved. But I do know that Tim and I will at least have a chance to revise, to improve the material. (The husband and wife team who have approached us about a production told us they think there are problems with the structure, which they would like us to fix.)

Tim wants me to write a couple, a few more songs. In its ALR incarnation, it was a one-act, about 45 minutes long, with I think 4 songs. The last song was an epilogue -- a post-acquittal socialite hostess Golden Age Lizzie -- a radical shift in mood and style that was fun but didn't really work, cut from the later production. For the 1994 production, I wrote 5 more songs and the whole thing got more Gothic, less campy. (Less campy, which is not to say not very campy.)

By the time of this later production, Y'all was very much underway. J. and I were touring a lot. I wrote the songs, recorded guitar and vocal demos, and dropped them off. I didn't spend much time with the cast or with Tim.

This was radically different from the first production, where Tim and I and the cast spent weeks poring over the court documents and biographical material, discussing, dramaturging the thing together before Tim and I even started writing. I was listening to a lot of Lita Ford, the Runaways, and Heart that summer, and the music reflects it. (In 1994 I was listening to more Loretta Lynn, and that probably shows in the later songs, though subtly I hope.)

It's still in the germination phase, but still I'm hoping like crazy that I'll get to spend some time in New York working on the show next year. The folks who want to do the production are talking about raising real money, so I could actually get paid. What a strange and wonderful idea.

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