Friday, January 23, 2015

LIST OF WORKS INCLUDED


USTheater, Opera, and Performance

TABLE OF CONTENTS
(alphabetical by playwright)

John Adams and Peter Sellars (USA)

Aeschylus (Ancient Greece)

Ilse Aichinger (Austria)


Eleanor Antin (USA)
"On Credit" (on Before the Revolution) by Douglas Messerli

Julie Archer and Lee Breuer (USA)
"The Locked Windows" (on Archer's and Breuer's Peter and Wendy) by Douglas Messerli

John Arden (England/Ireland)
"Pulling Down the Roof" (on Serjeant Musgrave's Dance) by Douglas Messerli

Back to Back Theatre (Australia)
"Playing the Play" (on Ganesh Versus the Third Reich) by Douglas Messerli
Béla Balázs  see Béla Bartok

Joey Arias and Basil Twist (USA)
"This Is It" (on Arias with a Twist and Michael Jackson) by Douglas Messerli

Amiri Baraka (USA)
"Essential Dichotomies" (on Baraka's "The Toilet" and on his life and poetry) by Douglas Messerli 

Djuna Barnes (USA)
"Freeling Family" (on Djuna Barnes' Biography of Julie van Bartmann) by Douglas Messerli
Three from the Earth
"The Days on Jig Cook" (on George Cram Cook and the Provincetown Players)
"Djuna Barnes' Roots," (on the short plays of Djuna Barnes) by Douglas Messerli

"The Songs of Synge"
The Antiphon

J. M. Barrie (b. Scotland/England)
"The Old Lady Shows Her Medals" (printed play)
"The Old Lady Shows Her Medals" (radio play with the Barrymores)
"Bond of Age" (on Barrie's "Rosalind" and "The Old Lady Shows Her Medals") by Douglas Messerli
"The Locked Windows" (on Archer's and Breuer's Peter and Wendy, based on a novel by J. M. Barrie) by Douglas Messerli

Béla Bartok (Hungary)
"Locking Up Being" (on Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle) by Douglas Messerli

Tina Bausch (Germany)
"You Know What I Mean" (on Bausch's Ten Chi and Richard Foreman's Deep Trance Behavior in Potatoland) by Douglas Messerli

Samuel Beckett (Ireland/France)
"Nell's Death" (on Beckett's Endgame) by Douglas Messerli
"Talking the Tears Away" (on Beckett's Happy Days) by Douglas Messerli
"Be Again" (on Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape)
"Sweating It: Three Mid-Century Tragi-Comedies) (on Beckett's Waiting for Godot) by Douglas Messerli (New York Production)
"Living in the Details" (on Beckett's Waiting for Godot) by Douglas Messerli (Los Angeles Production)
Interview with and performance of Krapp's Last Tape by Harold Pinter

Belarus Free Theatre (Belarus)
"Sunday, Bloody, Sunday (2)" (on the company's Being Harold Pinter) by Douglas Messerli

David Belasco (USA)
The Return of Peter Grimm

Hans Bellmer (Germany)
"Notes on the Ball Joint"

Shelley Berc (USA)
A Girl's Guide to the Divine Comedy

Hector Berlioz (France)
"Delusion and Dream" (on Berlioz' Les troyens) by Douglas Messerli

Leonard Bernstein (USA)
"Three Bernstein New Yorks" (on Bernstein's On the Town, Wonderful Town, and West Side Story) by Douglas Messerli
"Spiritual Uplift" (on Bernstein's Trouble in Tahiti)

Susan Birkenhead (USA)
see Bob Martin

Jens Bjørneboe (Norway)
The Bird Lovers
 "Cataloging Evil" (on Bjørneboe's The Bird Lovers and Semmelweis) by Douglas Messerli

Jerry Bock (USA)
"On the Side of the Angels" (on the deaths of Bock, Joseph Stein, and Tom Bosley) by Douglas Messerli 
"Writing Tenderly" (on Jerry Bock's, Sheldon Harnick's and Joe Masteroff's She Loves Me) by Douglas Messerli

Maxwell Bodenheim and Ben Hecht (USA)
The Master Poisoner

Tom Bosley (USA)
"On the Side of the Angels" (on the deaths of Bock, Joseph Stein, and Tom Bosley) by Douglas Messerli

Jane Bowles (USA)
"A Necessary Remedy" (on Bowles' In the Summer House) by Douglas Messerli

Bertolt Brecht (Germany)
"Moon of Alabama" from The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
Selected Audio Works

Stephan Brecht (b. Germany/USA)
"Stage and Street" (on the theater writings of Brecht) by Douglas Messerli

Lee Breuer (USA)
Porto Morco
"Barnyard Philosophers" (on Breuer's Summa Dramatica and Porco Morto) by Douglas Messerli 


Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell (USA)
"You Great Big Beautiful Doll" (on Mabou Mines Dollhouse) by Douglas Messerli
Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice, Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe (USA)
"Everybody Leaves" (on Brickman's, Elice's, Gaudio's, and Crewe's Jersey Boys) by Douglas Messerli

Benjamin Britten (England)
"Celebrating Liberation" (on Eric Crozier's and Britten's Albert Herring) by Douglas Messerli
"The Darkness Understands and Suffer" (on E. M. Forster, Eric Crozier, and Britton's Billy Budd) by Douglas Messerli
"The Piper's Son" (on Myfanwy Piper's and Britten's The Turn of the Screw) by Douglas Messerli

Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert, and Frank Loesser (USA)
"The Company Way" (on How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying) by Douglas Messerli

Jez Butterworth (England)
"Sunday, Blood Sunday" (on Butterworth's Jerusalem) by Douglas Messerli

John Cage (USA)
"Nothing on a Lecture (on Robert Wilson's performance of Cage's Lecture on Nothing) by Douglas Messerli

Karel Čapek (Czechoslavakia/now Czech Republic)
R. U. R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)

Al Carmines (based on Gertrude Stein) (USA)
In Circles
Promenade (with Maria Irene Fornes)

Aimé Césaire (Martinique)
"Trying to Be Everything" (on Césaire's Une Saison Au Congo) by Douglas Messerli

Anton Chekhov (Russia)
"The Dogs Howl" (on Chekhov's The Seagull) by Douglas Messerli
Moose Charlap (music) (with Irene Mecchi (teleplay, based on the play by J. M. Barrie), Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green (lyrics, with additional lyrics by Amanda Green) and Jule Styne (music) (USA)
"Walkin' the Plank (on Peter Pan Live! [TV production, 2014]) by Douglas Messrli

Marissa Chibas (with Erik Ehn and Travis Preston) (USA)
Listening (on Chibas', Ehns', and Preston's Brewsie and Willie) by Douglas Messerli

Julia Cho (USA)
"Dead Languagaes" (on Cho's The Language Archive) by Douglas Messerli

Jean Cocteau (France)
Complete recordings of theater, performances and other works (link with UBUWeb)

George Cram Cook (USA)
"The Days of Jig Cook" (on Cook and the Provincetown Players) by Djuna Barnes

George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell (USA)
Suppressed Desires
"Celebration of Suppression" (on Cook's and Glaspell's Suppressed Desires) by Douglas Messerli

Noël Coward (England)
"Breaking Away" (on Coward's Blithe Spirit) by Douglas Messerli

Eric Crosier (England) see Benjamin Britten
Bob Crewe see Marshall Brickman

Tim Crouch (England)
"The Miracle of Art" (on Crouch's An Oak Tree) by Douglas Messerli

Shelagh Delaney (England)
"Thieves of Love" (on Delaney's A Taste of Honey) by Douglas Messerli

Gaetano Donizetti (Italy)
"Battling Divas" (on Giuseppe Bardari's and Gaetano Donizetti's Maria Stuarda) by Douglas Messerli
Elevator Repair Service (USA)
"Problems with the Text" (on Elevator Repair Services' Arguendo) by Douglas Messerli

Rick Elice (USA)
"Wasted on Youth" (on Elice's Peter and the Starcatcher) by Douglas Messerli
see also Marshall Brickman
Everly Brothers (USA)
"Bye Bye Love" (on the Everly Brothers and Phil Everly's death) by Douglas Messerli

Cy Feuer (USA)
"The Brotherhood" (on Cy Feuer and his death) by Douglas Messerli

William Finn and James Lapine (USA)
"Something Bad Is Happening" (on Finn's and Lapine's Falsettos) by Douglas Messerli
Ronald Firban (England)
"The Princess Zoubaroff"

Richard Foreman (USA)
Deep Trance Behavior in Potatoland
"The Unfortunate Truth of My Situtation" (on Foremlan's Old-Fashioned Prostitutes) by Douglas
Messerli 
"You Know What I Mean" (on Foreman's Deep Trance Behavior in Potatoland and Tina Bausch's
Ten Chi) by Douglas Messerli

Maria Irene Fornes (b. Cuba/USA)
"The Power of Desperation" (on The Conduct of Life) by Douglas Messerli
"A Very Long Walk" (on Promenade) by Douglas Messerli
"Rain of Summons" (on Fefu on and Her Friends) by Douglas Messerli

Scott Frankel (USA) see Doug Wright

Max Frisch (Switzerland)
"The Conflagration" (on Frisch's The Arsonists) by Douglas Messerli

George Furth (USA) see Stephen Sondheim

Armand Gatti (Monaco/France)
Two Plays: The 7 Possibilities from Train 713 Departing from Auschwitz and
Public Song Before Two Electric Chairs


Susan Glaspell (USA)
Trifles
see also George Cook Cram

Betty Garrett (USA)
"I'm Still Here: Two Valentines" (on performances by Garrett and Eliane Stritch) by Douglas Messerli
Bob Gaudio see Marshall Brickman

Jack Gelber (USA)
"Eye to Eye" (on Gelber's Square in the Eye and Arnold Weinstein's Red Eye of Love) by Douglas Messerli

Philip Glass, Robert Wilson, Lucinda Childs, and Christopher Knowles (USA)
"This One Is Being Very America" (on Glass, Wilson, and Child's Einstein on the Beach) by Douglas Messerli

James Goldman (USA)
"Slightly Sour" (on Goldman's and Sondheim's Follies) by Douglas Messerli

Allen Graubard (USA)
"Comment on Gellu Naum's The Taus Watch Repair Shop"

Alice Goodman, Peter Sellars, and John Adams (USA)
"Six Degrees of Insanity" (on Goodman's, Sellars', and Adams' Nixon in China) by Douglas Messerli

David Greenspan (USA)
Son of an Engineer

John Guare (USA)
"On Red Eye of Love"

Dan Guerrero (USA)
"Mariachi to Merman" (on ¡Gaytino! ) by Douglas Messerli

George Frideric Handel (England)
"Tears and Hope" (on Giulio Cesare) by Douglas Messerli

Lorraine Hansbery (USA)
"Survivors" (on A Raisin in the Sun) by Douglas Messerli

Sheldon Harnick (USA)
"Writing Tenderly" (on Harnick's, Bock's and Masteroff's She Loves Me) by Douglas Messerli

John Hawkes (USA)
"The Empty Pool" (on Hawkes' The Innocent Party) by Douglas Messerli

Matthew S. Hinton (USA)
Drake Disappears
Billie Holliday (USA)
"Stormy Weather" sung by Billie Holliday (1952) [link]

Henrik Ibsen (Norway)
"The Man Who Stands Alone" (on Ibsen's An Enemy of the People) by Douglas Messerli
When We Dead Awaken
"When We Dead Awaken" (on Ibsen's play) by C. H. A. Bjerregaard
Hedda Gabler 
"Burned Up" (on Ibsen's Hedda Gabler) by Douglas Messerli
"Ibsen's New Drama" by James Joyce

Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (Italy) see Giacomo Puccini

Eugène Ionesco (Romania/France)
"Sweating It: Three Mid-Century Tragi-Comedies" (on Ionesco's Exit the King, Waiting for Godot and West Side Story) by Douglas Messerli
"Growing Horns" (on Ionesco's Rhinoceros) by Douglas Messerli

Michael Jackson (USA)
"This Is It" (on Jackson's filmed rehearsals and Joey Arias and Basil Twist's Arias with a Twist) by Douglas Messerli

Henry James (USA)
Summersolft

Alfred Jarry (France)
Early chansons, lectures about Jarry, and a film version of Ubu Roi (link to Ubuweb)
Ubu Roi (film version by Jean-Christophe Averty)

Len Jenkin (USA)
"Heart of Darkness" (on Jenkin's Dark Ride) by Douglas Messerli
Dream Express (link with Jenkin's site)

Rajiv Joseph (USA)
"Tyger! Tyger! Burning Bright" (on Joseph's Bengal Tiger in the Baghdad Zoo) by Douglas Messerli

James Joyce (Ireland)
"Ibsen's New Drama"

Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin (England)
"Loud and Quiet" (on Kelly's and Minchin's Matilda) by Douglas Messerli

Robert Kelly (USA)
"Monologues for Orpheus: A Dance Play"

Adrienne Kennedy (USA)
"Herselves: A Chamber Piece" (on Kennedy's Funnyhhouse of a Negro) by Douglas Messerli

Oscar Kokoschka (Austria)
Murderer the Women's Hope

Bernard-Marie Koltès (France)
"Men in the Streets" (on the Zeromski Theatre's production of In the Solitude of Cotton Fields) by Douglas Messerli

Michael Korie (USA) see Doug Wright

Alfred Kreymborg (USA)
Jack's House (A Cubic-Play)
Lima Beans
"Food for Love" (on Kreymborg's Lima Beans) by Douglas Messerli


Tony Kushner (USA)
"Crashing Through the Ceiling of Despair" (on Kushner's Angels in America: Millennium Approaches) by Douglas Messerli

Tom La Farge (USA)
Talking While Shaving

Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek (USA)
"No One's Home" (on Lane's and Yazbek's Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) by Douglas Messerli
James Lapine (USA)
"Out of the Woods" (on Lapine's and Sondheim's Into the Woods) by Douglas Messerli

Miklos Laszlo (Hungary/USA)
"Working Against Love" (on Laszlo's Parfumerie) by Douglas Messerli 

Arthur Laurents (USA)
"Three Bernstein New Yorks" (on West Side Story and two other Bernstein musicals) by Douglas Messerli
"Sweating It: Three Mid-Century Tragi-Comedies" (on West Side Story and plays by Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco) by Douglas Messerli
"The Coward's Hand" (on Laurents' Home of the Brave) by Douglas Messerli
"A Necessary Vacuum" (on Laurents' Gypsy) by Douglas Messerli

Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (USA)
"The Gang's Still Here" (on Lawrence's and Lee's The Gang's All Here) by Douglas Messerli
"My Broadway Hit" (on a celebration for Jerome Lawrence) by Douglas Messerli


Stacey Levine (USA)
"The Good House" (in Levine's Susan Moneymaker, Large and Small) by Douglas Messerli
Susan Moneymaker, Large and Small: A Ten Minute Play

Kirk Lynn (USA)
"Approaching the Real" (on Lynn's The Method Gun) by Douglas Messerli

Tracy Letts (USA)
"Muddy Boots" (on Letts' August: Osage County) by Douglas Messerli

Joshua Logan (USA) see Oscar Hammerstein II

Maurice Maeterlinck (Belgium)
The Intruder

Claudio Magris (Italy)
To Have Been
Voices: Three Plays

F. T. Marinetti (and others) (Italy)
"The Futurist Synthetic Theater"

Bob Martin (USA)
"Warm Up" (on Martin's, Charles Strouse's, and Susan Birkenhead's Minsky's) by Douglas Messerli
Jules Massenet (France)
"Between Duty and the Devil" (on Massenet's Werther) by Douglas Messerli

Joe Masteroff (USA)
'Writing Tenderly" (on Masteroff's, Harnick's and Bock's She Loves Me) by Douglas Messerli

Vladimir Mayakovsky (Russia)
Vladimir Mayakovsky: Tragedy in Two Acts with a Prologue and an Epilogue
The Bathtub (adapted by Paul Schmidt)

Arthur Miller (USA)
"Whatever Happend to Willy Loman?" (on Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman) by Douglas Messerli

Tim Miller (USA)
"Tokyo Tim"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Germany)
Douglas Messerli Bad Day on the Seville Streets (on Lorenzo da Ponte's and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts's Don Giovanni)
Douglas Messerli Terrifying Twists (on Lorenzo da Ponte's and Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro)
Douglas Messerli Emblems of Love (on Emanuel Schikaneder's and Mozart's The Magic Flute)

Gellu Naum (Romania)
The Taus Watch Repair Shop

John O'Keefe (USA)
Reapers
"What Have We Reaped?" (on O'Keefe's Reapers)


Eugene O'Neill (USA)
The Hairy Ape
"In Control" (on O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night) by Douglas Messerli
"The Endless Voyage" (on O'Neill's Glencairn Plays) by Douglas Messerli
The Moon of the Caribees

The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners (USA)
"Shouts, Screams, Shrieks, Wails and Hoots" (on Luigi Rusolo and The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners) by Douglas Messerli
Joe Orton (England)
"Identity in Dashes" (on Orton's What the Butler Saw) by Douglas Messerli

Eric Overmyer (USA)
"The Fire Within" (on Overmyer's Dark Rapture) by Douglas Messerli
"Past Present Future Tense" (on Overymer's On the Verge) by Douglas Messerli

Kier Peters (Douglas Messerli) (USA)
A Dog Tries to Kiss the Sky
The Rumble
The Confirmation
"Confirming Reality" (on Peters' The Confirmation) by Douglas Messerli
"Kier's Secret German Audience" (on Peters' The Confirmation) by Douglas Messerli
The Wonder

Francesco Mari Piave (Italy) see Giuseppe Verdi

Harold Pinter (England)
"The Homecoming Gift" (on Pinter's The Homecoming) by Douglas Messerli
"Talk" (on Pinter's The Collection) by Douglas Messerli
"The Wasps" (on Pinter's A Slight Ache) by Douglas Messerli

"Service" (on Pinter's The Dumb Waiter) by Douglas Messerli
Interview with and performance of Krapp's Last Tape

Cole Porter (USA) [with P. G. Wodehouse, Guy Bolton, Howard Lindsay, Russell Crouse, Timothy Crouse and John Weidman
"Pure Poetry" (on Porter's Anything Goes) by Douglas Messerli

Francis Poulenc (France)
"Fanatical Martyrs" (on Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites) by Douglas Messerli

Giacomo Puccini (music), Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa (libretto, based on a  play by Belasco from a story by John Luther Long)
"The Blindfold" (on Madama Butterfly, MET production) by Douglas Messerli
"Fin de siecle" (on Madama Butterfly, LAOpera production) by Douglas Messerli
Henry Purcell (England)
"Hello, I Must Be Going" (on Purcell and Nahum Tate's Dido and Aeneas) by Douglas Messerli

Peter Quilter (England)
"An Incautious Overdose of Life" (on Quilter's End of the Rainbow) by Douglas Messerli

Nina Raines (England)
"Moonlight" (on Raines' Tribes) by Douglas Messerli

Maurice Ravel (composer) and Colette (libretto)
"Bad Manners" (on Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges (The Child and the Sorceries) by Douglas Messerli

Elmer Rice (USA)
The Adding Machine
"More Than Zero?" (on the musical version of Rice's The Adding Machine) by Douglas Messerli


Jack Richardson (USA)
"Locked Up" (on Richardson's Gallows Humor) by Douglas Messerli

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II (USA)
"Confused by Paradise" (on Rodgers' and Hammerstein's South Pacific) by Douglas Messerli

Lugi Russolo (Italy)
The Art of Noises
"Shouts, Screams, Shrieks, Wails and Hoots" (on Lugi Russolo and The Orchestra of Futurist Noise Intoners) by Douglas Messerli 

Aram Saroyan (USA)
Gertrude and Lew: A Double Bill

Roland Schimmelpfennig (Germany)
"Telling the Story As It Is Being Told" (on Schimmelpfennig's The Arabian Night and Woman from the Past)

Arthur Schnitzler (Austria)
Hands Around or La Ronde
"What's Love Got to Do with It?" (on Schnitzler's La Ronde) by Douglas Messerli

Peter Sellars and John Adams (USA)
"A Body Transfixed by the Noonday Sun" (on Sellars' and Adams' The Gosepl According to the Other Mary) by Douglas Messerli
"Six Degrees of Insanity" (on Goodmans', Sellars' and Adams' Nixon in China) by Douglas Messerli
William Shakespeare (England)
"Even the Fool Is Hung" (on Shakespeare's King Lear) by Douglas Messerli

George Bernard Shaw (England)
Heartbreak House
"Keeping the Homefires Burning" (on Shaw's Heartbreak House) by Douglas Messerli

Wallace Shawn (USA)
"Even the Thought" (on Shawn's A Thought in Three Parts) by Douglas Messerli

Dmitri Shostakovich (USSR)
"Shrill Charm" (on Shostakovich's Nos (The Nose) by Douglas Messerli

Stephen Sondheim (USA)
"Convincing the Soloist to Join the Band" (on Furth's and Sondheim's Company) by Douglas Messerli
"Into the Woods" (on Lapine's and Sondheim's Into the Woods) by Douglas Messerli
"Sweating It: Three Mid-Century Tragic-Comedies" (on West Side Story, Waiting for Godot and Exit the King) by Douglas Messerli
"A Necessary Vacuum" (on Laurents' and Sondheim's Gypsy) by Douglas Messerli
 "Slightly Sour" (on Goldman's and Sondheim's Follies) by Douglas Messerli

Sam Shepard (USA)
"Unburying the Dead" (on Shepard's Buried Child) by Douglas Messerli

James Strah (USA)
"Shadowing the Shadows" (on Strah's and the Wooster Group's North Atlantic) by Douglas Messerli

Gertrude Stein (USA)
Brewsie and Willie (see Marissa Chibis)
Do Let Us Go Away
a short documentary with original photographs of Stein's and Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts
In Circles (music by Al Carmines)
a recording from the Santa Fe Opera of Stein's and Virgil Thomson's opera The Mother of Us All
(UBUweb link)
What Happened: A Five Act Play
Mexico

Joseph Stein (USA)
"On the Side of the Angels" (on Stein, Jerry Bock, and Tom Bosley and their deaths) by Douglas Messerli

John Steppling (USA)
Sea of Cortez
"The Verge of Possibility" (on Steppling's Sea of Cortez) by Douglas Messerli


Richard Strauss (Germany)
"A Dance of Death" (on Strauss' Salome)

August Strindberg (Sweden)
Creditors
"Adam and Snake" (on Stridberg's Creditors) by Douglas Messerli 
Miss Julie
"The Crazy Lady" (on Strindberg's Miss Julie) by Douglas Messerli 
"Strindberg As Absurdist" (on Strindberg's The Ghost Sonata) by Douglas Messerli 

Elaine Stritch (USA)
"I'm Still Here: Two Valentines" (on performances by Stritch and Betty Garrett) by Douglas Messerli

Charles Strouse (USA) see Bob Martin

Jule Styne (USA) see Arthur Laurents or Stephen Sondheim
Jule Styne (USA) see Moose Charlap and others

John Millington Synge (Ireland)
Riders to the Sea
"The Songs of Synge" (on Synge's plays) by Djuna Barnes

Bill Talen and Savitri D (USA)
"Tigers Got to Hunt" (on Talen's and Savitri D's Reverend Bill and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir: The Earth-a-Llujah Earth-a-Llujah Revival!) by Douglas Messerli

Booth Tarkington (USA)
Clarence
Nahum Tate  see Henry Purcell

Ronald Tavel (USA)
Andy Warhol's Horse
Lives and Loves of Hedy Lamar

Fiona Templeton (b. Scotland/USA)
"The Poet's Theater of Fiona Templeton: An Enviornmental View" (on Templeton's You, the City) by James Sherry 

David Thompson, John Kander and Fred Ebb (USA)
"On the Cusp" (on Thompson's, Kander, and Ebb's The Scottsboro Boys) by Douglas Messerli

Virgil Thomson (USA) see Gertrude Stein

Aristides Vargas (Argentina)
"The Traveling Table" (on Vargas' La Razón Blindada (Armored Reason) by Douglas Messerli

Giuseppe Verdi (Italy)
"Buried Alive" (on AntonioGhislanzoni's and Giuseppe Verdi's Aida) by Douglas Messerli
"Hold My Hand" (on Joseph Méry's, Camille du Locle's and Verdi's Don Carlo)  by Douglas Meserli
"Count Down" (on Piave's and Verdi's La Traviata, based on Alexandre Dumas' La Dame aux Camelias) by Douglas Messerli
"Everybody's Fooled) (on Bioto's and Verdi's  Falstaff, based on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and King Henry IV) by Douglas Messerli

Gore Vidal (USA)
"The Compromise" (on Vidal's The Best Man) by Douglas Messerli

Richard Wagner (Germany)
"The Devil Meets His Angel" (on Wagner's The Flying Dutchman) by Douglas Messerli
"The Sacred and the Profane" (on Wagner's Parsifal) by Douglas Messerli
"Casting Out the Self" (on Wagner's Die Walküre) by Douglas Messerli

Enda Walsh (England)
"Keeping to the Script" (on Walsh's The Walworth Farce) by Douglas Messerli
"Pool of Survivors" (on Walsh's Penelope) by Douglas Messerli
Ethel Waters (USA)
"Stormy Weather" sung by Ethel Waters (1933) [link]
Kurt Weill (Germany/USA)
Recording of Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera) Berlin, 1930 [link]

Arnold Weinstein (USA)
Red Eye of Love
"Eye to Eye" (on Weinstein's Red Eye of Love and Jack Gelber's Square in the Eye) by Douglas Messerli

Mac Wellman (USA)
Bad Penny
The Hidden Part of the US Constitution
The Offending Gesture
"Apropos of The Offending Gesture"
"Tails/Tales" (on Wellman's Bad Penny) by Douglas Messerli
"What American Abandons Abandons America" (on Wellman's Two September) by Douglas
Messerli
"Harm's Other Way: Some Notes on Mac Wellman's Theater" by Marjorie Perloff
"A Linguistic Fantasia" (on Wellman's A Murder of Crows) by Douglas Messerli
"Music from Another World" (on Wellman's The Hyacinth Macaw) by Douglas Messerli
"You Can't Go Home Again" (on Wellman's Second-Hand Smoke) by Douglas Messerli
"There Are No Such Things as Crows" (on Wellman's The Lesser Magoo) by Douglas Messerli
"Mac Wellman" (interview) by Linda Yablonsky [link]

Oscar Wilde (Ireland)
The Importance of Being Earnest
"Nothing But the Truth" (on Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest) by Douglas Messerli

Thornton Wilder (USA)
"Archetypal America" (on Thornton Wilder's Our Town) by Douglas Messerli

Tennessee Williams (USA)
"Dependent Independents" (on Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire) by Douglas Messerli
"Rise and Shine" (on Williams' The Glass Menagerie) by Douglas Messerli
"Bow Down and Be Dim" (on Williams' Vieux Carre) by Douglas Messerli
"End of the Road" (on Williams' Camino Real) by Douglas Messerli
"Medea's Last Dance" (on Williams' In Masks Outrageous and Austere) by Douglas Messerli
"The Making of Blanche DuBois (on Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale) by Douglas
Messerli

Robert Wilson (USA)
"Nothing on a Lecture (on Robert Wilson's performance of Cage's Lecture on Nothing) by Douglas Messerli

Ermano Wolf-Ferrari (composter) and Enrico Goslisciani (libretto) (Italy)
"Bad Manners" (on Wolf-Ferrari's Il segreto di susanna (Susanna's Secret) by Douglas Messerli

The Wooster Group (USA)

Elizabeth Wray (USA)

Doug Wright (USA)
"Winter in a Summer Town" (on Wright's, Scott Frankel's and Michael Korie's Grey Gardens) by Douglas Messerli 

Grzegorz Wróblewski (Poland/Denmark)
Turning Point

William Butler Yeats (Ireland)
Love and Death (manuscript version)

Stefan Zeromski Theatre (Poland)
"Men in the Streets" (on the Zeromski Theatre's production of In the Solitude of Cotton Fields) by Douglas Messerli








Douglas Messerli | "All Shook Up" (on The Wooster Group's "Early Shaker Spirituals")


all shook up
by Douglas Messerli

The Wooster Group Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interetation / the performance I saw as at Redcat (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) at Disney Hall, Los Angeles, January 22, 2015

In the Wooster Group’s new production of Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation, it appears that the company has, if not reached a kind of crossroads, has perhaps paused to reconsider their direction. Unlike many such experimentally-based theatrical companies, whose major activities included deconstructing major and minor theatrical works, the Wooster Group have generally layered their productions of “classical” works with technological elements (videos, multiple cameras, radio and phonographic soundtracks, and various other aural additions)—most apparent in productions such as Tennessee Williams Vieux Carré, Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida (retitled Cry, Trojans!), and North Atlantic—or with seemingly conflicting genres, such as the mash-up of opera and grade-B films in La Didone. Yet they have also done several productions of American classics by Eugene O’Neill, in particular, in which they have peeled away the layers of literary varnish that have accrued revealing in the early O’Neill sea plays, The Hairy Ape, and The Emperor Jones a vitality that had long been lost. And it is in this tradition, with a truly stark and unornamented “recreation” of art that Early Shaker Spirituals falls.
     But here, in a new way that is not apparent in their other works, this important American institution seems to have moved further in a direction that questions and challenges the ironic sensibility that seems present in some of their previous productions. At moments, the narration almost plays with the potential of the ironic, beginning with the male introducer (Jamie Poskin) who contextualizes the performances we are about to encounter. Nothing that the group has already “recreated” extant records, including Hula and L.S.D, the current recreation of recordings made by the Shakers in 1965, 1970, and 1976, potentially might be another “jumping off spot” for a series of reevaluations of US culture. Yet, once the quaintly dressed women singers—Cynthia Hedstrom, Elizabeth LeCompte, Frances McDormand, Bebe Miller, and Suzzy Roche—begin their series of 20 early Shaker spirituals, we recognize that whatever humor exists in the work existed already in the minds of the original creators. For the most part, these are pure creations of love and commitment to God, based on a life of “bending, reeling, winding, linking, and intertwining their human ways” with those of the Holy Spirit. 
    Yes, a DJ like figure does play, on the side and in back of the action, the record itself, snatches of which we can hear after the singers have performed and which, we quickly perceive, they themselves are listening to as they sing “along” to the original works. But these technological additions (if, in their simplicity, can even described that way) serve simply as markers and musical cues (how do you sing a capaella on pitch without a pitch pipe?) rather than representing another layer between the performers and audience. Indeed, the actors appear to be attempting to render their simple songs in the same amateur (arising from the pleasure and love of singing rather than a professional ability) manner as the original Shaker singers. This is particularly notable when Frances McDormand explains the origins of one of the songs, pausing, interrupting herself, and a retelling the story in a way that is meant to perfectly imitate the original on the recording. 
     Like the starkly simple set and their homespun costumes, the performers are clearly attempting to duplicate the original, to create a mimetic image, rather than to comment on or given greater significance to the original. If these figures occasionally exchange private glances, share brief phrases of conversation and rather formally exchange positions with each other, it is not meant as commentary as much as it is to suggest that the Shaker originals recognized themselves as apart from the community before whom they were performing. From our contemporary viewpoint, these women are quaint outsiders, slightly strange. But by bridging that gap, they are attempting, if nothing else, to communicate their values to us. Accordingly, the Wooster Group performers are in the strange position of existing on our side of reality, while attempting to project something other.

     This is made even more apparent when, in the second part of the program, the women gather to dance to some of the very same songs which they have just sung. One of the major elements of Shaker religious ceremonies, and part of the reason why they were described as “shakers,” their dances are highly formalized combinations of hand gestures and movements of their feet, which, given the beautiful lyrics and the rhythms of the songs, completely transform and help to reveal that what we have aurally experienced in Elder Joseph’s beautiful anthem to simplicity as it is completely transformed by dance, when suddenly the “coming down,” the “bow and the bend,” and the “turning, turning” is literalized:

                            'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
                               'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
                             And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
                                'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

                            When true simplicity is gain'd,
                               To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
                            To turn, turn will be our delight,
                                Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

 
In this second portion, moreover, the Shaker past is reintegrated with our present, as the male dancers, dressed in modern costume, move in an outer ring which, although continues to segregate them from the women of the past, still brings them together through and space, the “you” being joined with the “I,” or the “them” with the “us”—as it necessarily must be since, presumably, the dances are a respectful “re-creation,” a stylized imaginative “reconstruction” of actual Shaker dancers, rather than, like the songs, a faithful imitation.
     In short, in presenting Early Shaker Spirituals the group is no longer attempting to reconceive a theatrical event of the past, nor even to revitalize it, but to respectfully reiterate it, exploring the songs and dances for what they originally offered rather than reimagining how they might now mean for us. 
    The quietude of the audience throughout these songs and dances suggests not only a certain awe of the beautiful simplicity of the works but represents a recognition of the distance between ourselves and the art we are encountering. But it is just that distance, that awe of something slightly removed from ourselves that, when we ultimately perceive it as still having so much meaning, results in the final release of joyful applause. If the Shakers saw it as a religious experience, today we describe that, more often, as art.
     Given the various directions the Wooster Group has moved over its glorious existence since 1975, it would be absurd to attempt to describe what might be expected in their future works; but it is clear that at least some of their members have found new meaning in the original art without needing to overlay it with contemporary innovations and irony.

Los Angeles, Januaary 21, 2015