Tuesday, November 24, 2015


USTheater, Opera, and Performance

(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
Robert Ashley (USA)
"An American Original" (on the death of Ashley and a concert in 2015 at Redcat in Los Angeles)

Back to Back Theatre (Australia)
"Playing the Play" (on Ganesh Versus the Third Reich) by Douglas Messerli
Béla Balázs  see Béla Bartok
Joe Arias (USA)
"Strange Fruit" on Arias' Billie Holiday Centennial Concert) 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

Béla Bartok (Hungary)
"Locking Up Being" (on Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle) by Douglas Messerli
"What's Love Got To Do with It?" (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
Alban Berg (Germany)
"Desire Severed from Award" (on Berg's Lulu as performed at the MET Opera) by Douglas Messerli

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

Lily Blau (USA)
"Differential Equations" (on Blau's The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll) 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

Lucinda Childs (USA)
"Unaltered Images of Movement" (on Childs', Adams', and Gehry's Available Light) 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)
Barbara Cook (USA)
"Getting to Know Her" (on Cook singing at the Wallis Annenberg Theatre) by Douglas Messerli

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
Stan Daniels (USA) see Joseph Stein

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 Firbank (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
"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)
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
Philip Kan Gotanda (USA)
"Mixed Messages" (on Gotanda's Remember the I-Hotel) 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

Jake Heggie (USA)
"The Face of God" (On Heggie's and Terrence MacNally's Dead Man Walking) by Douglas Messerli
"Embracing the Cannibal" (on Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick) by Douglas Messerli

Matthew S. Hinton (USA)
Drake Disappears
Billie Holliday (USA)
"Stormy Weather" sung by Billie Holliday (1952) [link]
Hotel Modern (and Arthur Sauer)
"Toy Soldiers" (on their production of The Great War) by Douglas Messerli

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)

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
B. B. King (USA)
"The Thrill" (on a performance and King's death) 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

Terrence MacNally (USA) see Jake Heggie

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)
Missy Mazzoli (USA)
"Glimpses of a Vaster Landscape" (on Mazzoli's opera Song from the Uproar) by Douglas Messerli

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

Tim Miller (USA)
"Tokyo Tim"
Jelly Roll Morton (USA)
"An American Epic" (on Poor Dog Group's production of The Murder Ballad [1938]) by Douglas Messerli

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
Jacques Offenbach (Germany/France) (with Jules Barbier and Michael Carre. based on E.T.A.Hoffmann)
"Love and Tears" (on Offenbach's Tales of Hoffmann) by Douglas Messerli

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

Eugene O'Neill (USA)
"Standing in the Moonlight" (on O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!) by Douglas Messerli
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 (Italy)
"Facing the Cold" (on La Boheme) by Douglas Messerli
"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
Philippe Quesne (France)
"Elemental Theater" (on Quesne's La Mélancolie des dragons) 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
Gioachino Rossini (Italy)
"Hidden in Plain Sight" (on Rossini's La donna del lago) 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
Sean San Jose (USA)
 "Mixed Messages" (on San Jose's Presenting....the Monstress!) by Douglas Messerli

Aram Saroyan (USA)
Gertrude and Lew: A Double Bill
Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik [USA] [see Frank Wedekind]
Gene Scheer (see Jake Heggie)

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
"An Endless Dance" (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
Martin Sherman (USA)
"Talking Sex" (on Sherman's Bent) 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

Joseph Stein (USA)
"Moving on Down" (on Stein and Stan Rice's Enter Laughing) by Douglas Messerli
"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)
"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)
Nahum Tate  see Henry Purcell

Ronald Tavel (USA)
Andy Warhol's Horse
Lives and Loves of Hedy Lamar
Modest Tchaikovsky (see Peter Tchaikovsky)
Peter Tchaikovsky
"What's Love Got To Do with It?" (on Tchaikovsky's Iolanta) by Douglas Messerli

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
Royce Vavrek (Canada) [see Missy Mazzoli]

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
"Living in a Glass House without Being Able to See In or Out" (on Bioto's and Verdi's Otello,
    based on the play by Shakespeare) 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]
Frank Wedekind (Germany) [see also Steven Sater and Duncan Shiek (USA)]
"An Audience of the Deaf and Blind" (on Spring Awakening, the musical)
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
"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

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
Miwa Yanagi (Japan)
"Can You Hear My Voice?" (on Miwa Yanagi's Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose's Last Tape) by Douglas Messerli

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 | "Desire Severed from Reward" (on Alban Berg's Lulu as presented by the MET Opera)

desire severed from reward

by Douglas Messerli

Alban Berg ( libretto, based on Frank Wedekind’s Der Erdgeist and Die Büche der Pandora; and composer) Lulu / live H.D. broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera in New York / the production I saw was in Los Angles at the Century City theaters with Howard N. Fox and Pablo Capra on November 21, 2015

The plays of Frank Wedekind, in their combination of naturalist issues and Expressionistic methods—despite their often somewhat clumsy plots and confusing character delineation—seem to be continually ahead of their times, finding major re-adaption within later theatrical conventions. The recent musical adaptions of his Frühlings Erwachen (Spring Awakening) of 1891, for example, reveal that the social-sexual issues of young adolescents at the turn of the 20th century have much in common with the problems of today’s 21st century youths (see above).
      Similarly, composer Alban Berg found the perverse sexual and social actions of Wedekind’s two Lulu plays, Der Erdgeist (1895) and Die Büche der Pandora (1903) quite perfectly summed up the outrageous mores and extravagant behaviors of his Weimar Republic.

     Alas, because of the Nationalist Socialist rise and Berg’s early death, the opera was left unfinished at the time of his death in 1935, and would not receive its full three-act version, completed by Friedrich Cerha, until 1979.  But that fact, along with Berg’s innovative use of the musical twelve-tone system, has perhaps helped to make Berg’s version appear far more modern and ahead of its time than even  G. W. Pabst’s credible and quite shocking Weimer- period film, Pandora’s Box, of 1928, with the very memorable Louise Brooks (see My Year 2001).
      Today, with the India-ink projected images by artist William Kentridge and the consummate singing and acting skills of Marlis Petersen as Lulu (who has declared this as the last of her Lulu performances), the Metropolitan Opera production which my companion Howard and my designer Pablo Capra, saw with me in a high definition live production this past Saturday—even while placing the work very much establishing this work as part of the years just prior to Hitler’s rise—seemed fresher than ever, as if Wedekind’s dialogue might be playing out in the headlines of today’s tabloids.
      Berg’s Brechtian prologue, his reorientation of the work to balance Lulu’s lesbian encounters with the series of male lovers whom she destroys, and his emphasis on the play’s clearly feminist themes (Pabst omits most of Lulu’s later relationship with Countess Gerschwitz [Susan Graham], and, according, cuts her declaration that she will return to school and fight for women’s rights), along with his closer loyalty to the original plays throughout, which, although sometimes clutters up the landscape, nonetheless further modernizes the work, revealing the utter audacity of Wedekind’s originals.

      Berg, far more than Pabst, convinces us of Lulu’s immoral madness, revealing her unfeeling consummation of her lovers: her physician husband; her painter companion (Paul Groves); the newspaper owner Dr. Schön (Johan Reuter)— the only man she personally kills, and perhaps the only man she truly loves—Schön’s son Alwa (Daniel Brenna), and Countess Gerschwitz. Yet he also, more successfully than Pabst, shows us how Lulu out of true love through the limited views of each of her lovers and is manipulated by them. The tragedy of this work, much as in Berlin Alexanderplatz, emanates from the reality of  how much these figures use each other purely for for their needs, ending in a necessary bloodbath—which, on a far larger scale, is precisely what happened, of course to the whole of Germany under Hitler’s control. The only major figure of this opera to survive is the man who may have fathered her and more definitely “created” her—through his lessons on how to survive as a prostitute-courtesan—is Schigolch (Franz Grundheber), who like Alexanderplatz’s Franz Bieberkopf survives, perhaps, only because he has become, by work’s end, utterly insignificant.
     Indeed, both Berg and Wedekind, more than Pabst, reveal that everyone in this tragedy, including Lulu, by the time of her death, has become meaningless. Each of them simply desires—revealed in Kentridge’s expressionist emblems by Lulu’s and other characters’ donning of outsized white gloves—without offering much in return. Lulu’s world is one in which nearly everyone is seeking love, money, and fame without sacrificing themselves. In the end, only two characters actually are willing to give of themselves, and both of them are women.
     Countess Gerschwitz allows herself to be imprisoned in Lulu’s stead, and attempts to raise money to help her friend-lover to survive and to escape. And even after she is rejected endlessly by the object of her desire, she returns to Lulu’s hovel, only to be killed by the Jack the Ripper-like figure who destroys her after killing Lulu.
     Lulu, strangely enough, offers up not only her body, but is willing, at least in Schön’s case, to give up her heart; and ultimately, she prostitutes to save the starving Alwa and Schigolch.    
     Although the males of the tale strut the stage and destroy themselves out of what they describe as Lulu’s betrayals, they give nothing in return except financial support, which is always proffered as a transaction instead of presented as an outright gift. Although Lulu may pretend that some of her relationships have nothing to do with prostitution, in the society that Berg and Wedekind present, all human relationships seem to be built on transactional involvements. Even Gerschwitz hopes that her money might buy her love.

     In such a world, everything ends where it has begun, with someone demanding something from or swindling something from the other.  Berg emphasizes this in not only through the predetermined musical structures of his twelve-tone system, but in the palindromic system of the work’s structural events. Not only to characters intentionally asked to portray others—Schön becomes Jack the Ripper, the Painter is the African Prince, etc.—but everything happens again and again. As if they were hamsters on a treadmill, the men Lulu encounters destroy themselves and each other, like late 19th century dualists who fight for something that they do not truly control, but rather controls them. So Berg makes clear is the society in which he lives—extending back even to Wedekind’s pre-World War drama—is doomed to destruction.
     If by opera’s end, Lulu has become a hag, of so little value in the thinking of her murderer, that she is better off dead,  Lulu, unlike any other figure in the work—except perhaps for Gerschwitz—finally is willing to offer herself freely, without financial, societal, or even sexual ties. Human needs and desire have finally been severed from reward.

Los Angeles, November 24, 2015