Monday, October 20, 2014

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

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


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
"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

Marissa Chibas (with Erik Ehn and Travis Preston)
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


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)

Gaetano Donizetti (Italy)
"Battling Divas" (on Giuseppe Bardari's and Gaetano Donizetti's Maria Stuarda)

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

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

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

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

Peter Quilter
"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

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
"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

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

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]

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








Sunday, October 19, 2014

Douglas Messerli | "Casting Out the Self" (on Wagner's Die Walküre)






casting out the self


Richard Wagner Die Walküre / The Metropolitan Opera, New York, live in HD broadcast, May 14, 2011

One of the major questions of Wagner's great opera, Die Walküre, is how it is possible to cast out or renounce oneself, and a great deal of the argumentative and pleading discussion between Wotan and his warrior daughter, Brünnhilde, is precisely about this issue. She claims, rightfully, that in protecting Siegmund she has only followed the will of Wotan, even if it is no longer his stated command. She is, she argues, only a manifestation of his will, and has no other existence. On his part, Wotan must suffer the strictures of his own laws, particularly since he has himself ignored those laws in search of power and love. Fricka, who insists on his destroying Siegmund in favor of Hunding, may seem unable to comprehend love or even less, unable to forgive, but she is right: Wotan has disobeyed his own rules, and so too have his offspring, the brother and sister lovers Siegmund and Sieglinde.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ro5IWqCM8Jk/Td_ZNP5D0kI/AAAAAAAADlc/1VUACP8UpXw/s320/wgner3.jpg
      In this opera, Wotan painfully loses those whom he loves most, Siegmund and Brünnhilde, in order to obey his own proclamations. Suddenly the omnipotent god must be punished for his own sins. And, in that sense, he is, symbolically speaking, renouncing his own power; by casting out Brünnhilde from Valhalla, he is also assuring his own destruction and, ultimately the fall of the gods.Brünnhilde, now human, becomes a kind of Christ-like figure who shifts the center of reality from heaven and the underworld to earth itself.
     It is for these very reasons, I would argue, that, although there is great music and drama in the other operas of the Ring cycle, Die Walküre is the most poignant, the easiest of all to hear and love.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-rFQXzqZZCwo/Td_ZHY6aqQI/AAAAAAAADlU/bAk8ZJuDYJs/s320/Wagner.jpg     Strangely, a similar "outcasting" almost happens with the god of this new Met production, director Robert Lepage, and most of the opera's characters. The final Met live-in-HD broadcast production of the season began 45 minutes late, having suffered, we were told during the first intermission, computer difficulties of the great, galumping, set of 24 rotating planks at the center of this production.


     People patiently waited it seemed, both inside the opera house and at my movie theater, yet there was a sense, that only grew as the production got underway, that the wonderful performers— Deborah Voigt (Brünnhilde), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Stephanie Blythe (Fricka), Jonas Kaufmann (Siegmund), Bryn Terfel (Wotan), and Hans-Peter König (Hunding)—were now subject to the directorially created machine. Kaufmann was a stunning Siegmund, portraying a character with whom the audience could not help but be sympathetic, as he and the lonely wife of Hunding, Sieglinde, slowly fall in love. The planks, standing linearly to suggest a forest of trees, was quite effective, except that the image projected upon them was also reflected across the faces of singers (primarily Hunding).
     The great ride of the Valkyries was quite terrifying given the see-saw movements of Brünnhilde and her sisters, particularly after we had been told, during another intermission, that in some of the early productions dresses had been caught in the apparatus. I am afraid that I missed a few of the Valkyrie's cries simply worrying about the actors as they slid one by one down the planks to the floor.
     At one stunning moment, as Brünnhilde was left by Wotan on her burning rock, the apparatus rose to the heavens, with a body-double Brünnhilde suspended upside down over the fire, one felt that the machine had finally done something, created a kind of cinematic effect, that would have been otherwise impossible.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--CTJIozrs_c/Td_ZAz7cTQI/AAAAAAAADlM/Lw1oTyAGMr4/s320/wagner2     Yet for all that, I was, as my companion Howard had noted about Das Rheingold, under-impressed by this expensive machine (estimated at costing over forty million dollars), so heavy that the Met needed to reinforce the underpinnings of the stage itself. As some critics have suggested, it seems that the singing, excellent as it is in this production, was sacrificed to the art of staging.


     It seems to me, moreover, that the kinds of effects achieved—far tamer than the recent Archim Freyer production in Los Angeles—might have been accomplished with more standard stage devices, light, scrims, etc.
     Let us hope that in Siegfried and Götterdammerung Lepage might find a way to justify the immense cost of his device without ousting Wagner's singers from the stage!

Los Angeles, May 27, 2011


 


Douglas Messerli | "Terrifying Twists" (on Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro)


terrifying twists

Lorenzo da Ponte (libretto, after the comedy by Pierre-Auigustin Caron de Beaumarchais), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (music) Le nozze di Figaro / the performance I saw was the Metropolitan Opera live HD broadcast, October 18, 2014

Like many an opera buffa, Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro is filled with would-be lovers jumping in and out of beds; late night romantic assignations; flirtations and sexual encounters between maid(s) and master, mistress and godson (or male servant(s), or any visiting admirer); intriguing switches of amative attentions; startling revelations of heritage and birthright; as well as, quite often, temporary alterations of sex—all undertaken beneath the nose of a highly suspicious husband or another such authoritative figure who is usually the greatest transgressor of the lot.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTPT5SfpL-lR2Bv7yBs97Km_96hcG26Ac1ibxcVl1oX3euEn5Yf     Anyone who has seen this “precursor” to Rossini’s just as character-leaden and plot-stuffed

Il barbiere di Siviglia knows, Mozart’s work offers all of the above in great proliferation. Between Count Almaviva’s (Peter Mattei) attempts to bed nearly all of his housekeepers, and his maid Susanna’s (wonderfully elucidated by Marlis Petersen) and her soon-to-be husband Figaro’s (Ildar Abdrazakov) attempts to get even (or in Figaro’s case, to revenge) for the master’s unwelcome attentions of the lively “flower of the household,” there is hardly a moment in this heady elixir of amour and feudal abuse that isn’t jam-packed with new plot twists. 
     “Twist,” indeed, is the perfect word for the constant story fluctuations, which the Saturday HD broadcast host, Renée Fleming (who has performed in her share of Figaro productions) characterized as “a perpetual turning of the tables.” So many epistles have been written and posted through the pockets of Figaro that, at one point, when cornered by the Count, he admits that he even he cannot keep track of the would-be comings and goings of figures, as three notes of assignation simultaneously fall from his pockets. Fortuitously, Rob Howell’s well-oiled swing of the settings and Sir Richard Eyre’s precisely-timed fluidity of direction keep the production moving, even if, at moments, the audience and characters lag behind in comprehension.

     But the “twists” of this busy-bee work lay not only in the turning down of bedsheets by the Count, but in the twisted relationships of various characters, most notably Marcellina (the housekeeper to the pompous Dr. Bartolo) who long-hankering after Figaro, has long-ago loaned him money attached to a contract stating that if he does not pay her back, he must marry her. Bartolo, who like the much younger Count, at one time clearly employed house staff in roles beyond their job descriptions, is more than delighted to now have the opportunity to get rid of “old cow,” while also revenging himself for Figaro’s involvement in preventing him (incidents represented in Rossini’s operatic version) from obtaining Rosina, now the Count’s lovely wife. Suddenly in act III we discover that the man Marcellina would marry is her long-lost son, Rafello, fathered by her employer, Bartolo. In short, she, who the Count was determined just minutes before to declare Figaro’s wife would have lured him in a horrific coupling, like Oedipus and Jocasta, of mother and son. In the context of Mozart’s pre-Freudian world, such a marriage does not represent a psychological condition but rather serves as a hovering omen over the machinations of the Count, threatening to transform the comic “pranks” of Lorenzo da Ponte’s and Mozart’s work into a tragedy of epic proportions like Oedipus Rex. The potential parallel between the Count’s and Bartolo’s actions cannot be missed by the man who has just sung a song (Vedrò, mentr'io sospiro) expressing his jealousy of his own servant.

   Similarly, throughout their opera da Ponte and Mozart feature a newly created figure, not in the original Beaumarchais play, Cherubino—who the great Kierkegaard described as a figure “drunk with love”—who twists and turns his way throughout this play in stupor that would dizzy even the most sure-footed angel. Yes, Cherubino, obviously, is a kind of angel, a man so beautiful that—as the writers insist in their script—he must be played always by a beautiful young woman (in this case, the lovely and musically gifted Isabel Leonard). Cherubino is a sort of shadow to the Count, a being who aspires to the same status as his master, which also explains why, discovering the young sex-fiend wherever he goes, the Count can only seek his destruction. But Cherubino also has significant qualities that the Count is missing: beauty and youth. Accordingly, like a twisted, fun-house looking glass, the stare of Cherubino, which the Count seems to encounter everywhere, can only remind him that he will soon be an old and ugly fornicator, like Bartolo, who also once challenged him for his wife!
      Unlike the often clumsy and blundering Almaviva (a long-living soul, or one who learns through the long-time experiences of life), always behind his nemesis, the cherub can literally “fly,” as he proves through his escape from the balcony window of his godmother’s bedroom. Using the former castrati role as a tranvesti character to perfect effect, Mozart and his  librettist require that not only every woman in the play be sexually charmed by the young man but must attempt to make every man equally so; except for perhaps Rossini’s Le Comte Ory, opera has never before used transvestitism to such wonderful effects. Not only do the Countess and Susanna spend long moments in joyfully dressing up their youthful lothario as a lovely woman whom they hope will satisfy the sexual longings of the Count, but another of the Count’s conquests, Barbarina hides him, when Cherubino has deserted from his military service, by dressing him up as a provincial beauty. Time and again, the woman turn-the-tables, so to speak, on this would-be molester by rendering him neuter, by turning him into one of their own kind.
     Still, the rapscallion Cherubino nearly destroys the day for the penultimate “twist” of the story, wherein the Countess, having transformed herself into Susanna through her dress (while Susanna hiding her eager desire for Figaro’s embracement within the Countesses’ gown), prepares to receive her unrepentant husband. Cherubino’s unwanted attentions reiterate not only the pains the Countess has had so suffer for his husband’s philandering, but suggests what Barbarina may have to suffer later in her life.
     For the moment, however, the day is saved, and, the final “twist” is played out in all its grand ironic display, the Count unconsciously playing lover to his own wife.

     Suddenly realizing that he has become the fool in front of everyone, the Count, at least momentarily, is forced to realize the errors of his way, asking for forgiveness not just from his wife (“Contessa perdono!), but to everyone in hearing range, including the audience whom he has so entertained. The Countess’ proclamation that she is kinder than her husband in forgiving him, results in a beautiful choral work that expresses joy while reminding everyone of the “terrible twists” of reality that they have almost accidentally escaped. As I whispered to Howard a few moments later: “That is the saddest aria to a happily-ending opera that I have ever witnessed.”

Los Angeles, October 19, 2014