There are Dinosaurs in the Park

There are Dinosaurs in the Park? The Name has Changed! Please click on the link below to go to the new home page of the musical theatre work, recently called There are Dinosaurs in the Park! to the revised (and original) title: Donuts of Mass Destruction!

 

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At Times Like This

At Times Like This was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. I recorded this original choral work with a virtual choir in the spring. It is dedicated to the front line workers in the pandemic. Dr. Bonnie Henry, British Columbia’s prestigious Heath Officer, described it as “truly beautiful” and thanked me for brightening her day. The choristers and pianist recorded their parts remotely to a guide track. The tracks were sent by email and meticulously edited. Next I created the following video on the theme of friendship and support during the pandemic.

As of Jan. 2021, the video has been viewed close to 1600 times. The CBC show White Coat, Black Art featured At Times Like This on Dec. 26, in their final show of 2020: White Coat Black Art on Dec 26, 2020. The song emerges now and then up to the end of the show and works nicely to bring the show to a positive ending after such a challenging year in health care.

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Donuts of Mass Destruction!

Donuts of Mass Destruction!

Doug Jamieson’s new musical theatre show Donuts of Mass Destruction! premiered in Cottonwood Falls Park, Nelson BC Canada, in June 2022. Generous grants from the BC Arts Council and the RDCK CIP, and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance brought this exciting new show to the stage… uh, strike that!  …to  the Park!

Because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic protocol, the 6 scenes of the show were presented at five locations in the Park. The audience, in small groups, moved from scene to scene as the story unfolded. Only 2 or 3 performers were at each stage. The use of masks (theatrical, not Covid) and puppetry allowed different actors to present the same characters at the various locations. The show had a relaxed ‘street theatre’ quality. The music was mostly pre-recorded with singers performing karaoke style. Narrators with mobile PA systems on wheels, played promenade music as they led the audience from scene to scene.

Meet the characters in this brief video:

Synopsis

Scene 1 – Fossils

Lights fade up on fossils embedded in rocks. One by one, the fossils transform into living dinosaurs. The chorus sings At the Dawn of Time.

Before he exits, Bert, a hadrosaur, looks upward and says, “Strange. There’s a new star in the sky. It’s very bright. Hmmm.”


Contrary to most speculation, these dinosaurs seem to get along well. When they are not eating each other, they love to party and sing about their beloved homeland Yucatan

Soon, a T-Rex sneaks up, dons a flat straw hat, and launches into a cliché-ridden re-election speech. As usual, Premier Rex Hoodwink, will be acclaimed. (The only other candidate was recently devoured.) Poppa Tops, the mob boss, along with four thugs from the Tarsands Boys, arrive on the scene: Ugh the Thug, a nasty carnotaurus, Rip the Pterror, a pterrifying pterodactyl, Steg the Slasher, a stegosaurus moll, and the lugubrious Bron the Bruiser, a Brontosaurus heavy, introduce themselves to the audience with a raunchy blues number We are the Tarsands Boys  (no demo yet)

Poppa Tops, known as PT, tells the ‘Boys’ to work the room to make sure everyone cheers for the Premier. At the end of the speech, the Yucatanians go off for free snacks at Hoodwink Re-Election Headquarters.

Scene 2 – The Invention

During an introspective moment, Bert contemplates existence and wonders about the Rhyme and Reason for his existence. (Vocal by Doug Jamieson; violin by Terry Ball.)

Bert, tosses various things into a bowl-shaped pit, picks up a large wooden pestle and beats and mixes. Suddenly, the volcano erupts and spurts red-hot lava, some of which lands–kerplop–right in Bert’s bowl. This momentous event is highlighted by the music Also Sprach Shave-and-a-Haircut:

When the smoke clears, Bert reaches into the bowl and pulls out an enormous honey-glazed donut, a dinosaur-sized honey-dip donut. The smell was fantastic. When Bert gave the Yucatanians samples, they went nuts! Immediately, Bert was a hero, an instant celebrity. But all too soon… organized crime got involved.

PT, puffing on his trademark stogie, watched the critters go crazy for this new thing. “Hunks of dough that drive them nuts! I love it! Bert, give me the recipe for this… this ‘donut’ and I’ll make a million of these suckers!”

Imagining a glorious future with millions of donuts, the crowd carries off the hapless hero Bert singing All hail the Donut!

At the Gravel Pit, four bulb-headed pachycephalosaurs are busting up rocks into gravel with their heads. They take turns telling terrible dinosaur jokes as they sing T-T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur:

Their dance is interrupted by the arrival of  PT and his assistant Spinner. They change the sign from Bust ‘Em Up” Gravel Corp. – Powered by Dino-mite! to Chow Down Corp. — Donuts to Die For! PT tells the pachycephalosaurs to rest their heads, because tomorrow they start head-butting ovens in the volcano for the donut factory. PT sings a stirring anthem about a glorious future, where his donut shops are on every street: Location, Location, Location:


Poppa Tops and his entourage go off to The Big Bang Club, to launch the Chow Down brand!

Scene 3 – On the Rocks

Steg the moll of the Tarsands Boys arrives and sings her signature song (performed in this demo by Marion Hawley) about how guys inevitably dance to her tune: Steggy’s Tango

Step the Slasher

Steg has set her sights upon Bert, who arrives during her song. Bert sits on the end of a log that has fallen across another. He is surprised that the opposite end goes up. Steg watched Bert scramble from one end to the other in a kind of ‘lever schtick’. Every time he pushes one end down, the other pops up. Bert sneaks up on the opposite end, leaps on it, only to see the other end go up. The frustrated Bert collapses on the ground.

When Steg offers to help, Bert gets her to sit on one end while he pushes the other end down. Instead, it functions like a teeter totter. Steg suggests that they both sit on the same end. Nothing happens, though Steg doesn’t mind trying it longer. Next, Bert gets the bright idea of dropping a heavy rock on the other end. He pulls a vine wrapped around a rock, it hits the other end of the log and Steg and Bert go flying. They end up in a heap exactly when Betty arrives. “So this is what you’ve been up to? Experimenting? Huh! It’s over! Extinct!”

During their altercation, Poppa Tops, Spinner and Bron arrive to pick up the recipe. PT offers Betty a job singing at The Big Bang Club. Against Bert’s wishes, she takes it. PT chews out Bert for not inventing anything new. In his defence, Bert mentions his new invention that makes things fly.
PT stops dead in his tracks. “Did you say ‘Fly’?” He sees himself as a solid hardworking triceratops, stuck on the ground, watching the “smug, beaky grins” of all those pterodactyls flying above him. He insists on trying Bert’s invention. Bert tries to caution him, but PT will have none of it. For his flight, he is going to drop something really heavy on the other side: Bron. Ignoring Bert’s protestations, PT gets Bron to jump from a nearby cliff. PT does go flying, but ends up stuck in the top of a tree.

When PT shouts “Get me down!”, Bron  takes a run—a very slow run—and knocks down the tree. There is a scream and a crash. An angry PT, with branches  embedded in his horns,  fires Bert and exits.

Meanwhile, in a forest, a group of herbivores are contentedly munching on leaves. Ugh and Rip enter, start their dino-saws and cut down all the trees to make way for the new donut factory.
The terrified herbivores seek the help of Premier Hoodwink. He gives them some bafflegab advice in Can’t See the Forest for the Trees and appeases them with free donuts at Re-election Headquarters. (Vocal by Michael Calladine; trumpet by Michael Perkins)

Bert arrives at the devastated forest and feels devastated himself. He lost Betty and his clever invention is causing nothing but environmental problems. But something sparks within him and Bert goes off to the Big Bang Club, determined to bring Betty home!


Scene 4 – Egging On

Bert arrives at the notorious Big Bang Club, where too many dinosaurs tragically O.D. on donuts. Spinner, the emcee,  introduces Betty, now known by her stage name Bomboloni. She comes on stage in a ton of makeup: bright red lipstick and large eyelashes, and she is decked out in a costume resembling a donut with pink icing and sprinkles. The crowd goes wild as she launches into her disco hit: Chow Down  (performed in this demo by Amie Fries).

Towards the end of the song, Betty works the room, flirting with the customers. She is surprised to come face to face with Bert, and tells him to “Get out of here for your own good!” But Bert causes a scene, and just before the bouncers toss him out, shouts, “Betty, I love you!”

Back at home, Bert licks his wounds for failing. He  swears “I Wouldn’t Take Her Back!”

Suddenly, Betty returns, expresses her love, and Bert abruptly changes his tune. They resolve to to get hitched and, in a tender duet, Betty expresses that she wants to have eggs with the smitten Bert, who wants to fertilize them too: Bert and Betty

TIME PASSES…Bert reads the paper, smokes his pipe; Betty knits. One day, Betty presents Bert with a bundle. He is excited, but a little confused when he looks in the bundle and sees a large egg. Betty points to the egg, to Bert’s butt and to his easy chair.

MORE TIME PASSES… Bert sits on the egg, reads the paper, smokes his pipe; Betty holds up her knitting. It is a miniature Maple Leaf hockey shirt. Bert comments that “It does seem like 65 million years since they won the cup.”

EVEN MORE TIME PASSES… Suddenly, Bert puts down his paper & pipe. “Oh! Oh! Betty! I think it’s going to hatch!” Betty exclaims, “Bert, this is so exciting!”

When the egg hatches, Bert is perplexed. Why does his son have wings and feathers, like an archaeopteryx? Betty assures Bert that “everything will turn out fine” and both sing: Evolution Gets It Right (demo features Doug Jamieson and Linda Hendry)

Scene 5 – Nefarious Plans

At Chow Down Head Office, Poppa Tops, and his VP’s hold a board meeting. Good news: market share reached 95%! Bad news: profits down 95%! It turns out that hoards of dinosaurs are dying because they no longer have nutritious leaves in their diet.
PT sums up: If they replant the forests, there will be more dinosaurs, but they won’t be able to manufacture as many donuts, and they’ll lose customers. If they don’t replant the land, they can continue making millions of donuts, but there won’t be any dinosaurs to eat them and they’ll lose customers.
“Well gentlemen, the choice is clear.” says PT. “We give our esteemed directors a generous bonus, liquidate the company, and declare bankruptcy!” PT leads the board members in an inspirational anthem: Owed to Bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, outside these halls of power, there is chaos and unrest. The volcano is heating up and the sky is darkened by storm clouds. Nonetheless, Premier Hoodwink continues to deny that anything is wrong and insists that things can only get better, singing It Can’t Get Any Worse! The Yucatanians disagree.


Poppa Tops tells Hoodwink to stop campaigning. He has already won. The Tarsands Boys gave him a landslide. PT instructs Hoodwink to issue a proclamation that no creatures are allowed to leave Yucatan. Poppa Tops is especially interested in keeping the feathered ones around for his  new company: Yucatan-Fried Archaeopteryx! Betty overhears the plans and is shocked. She knows that their child and all the archaeopteryx children have to get out of Yucatan right away. Bert and Betty spread the word about Poppa Tops’ nefarious business plans. A time is set when all of the Archaeopteryx children will fly away, beyond the mountain range, out of the reach of PT’s thugs.

Scene 6 – Epilogue

Before Betty and Bert’s child Teryxie flies off, she sings a song of farewell: Written in the Stars. The other children and denizens join in.

Betty and Bert watch as the young ones fly off. When they see the group go beyond the mountain range, they know they will be OK.

Soon, life ended for all non-avian dinosaurs when an asteroid struck the Yucatan. The Chicxulub asteroid, which only had a diameter between 11 and 81 kilometres, struck 65 million years ago, with an explosion 100 million times stronger than any nuclear bomb. 75% of all life on our planet was destroyed. The only surviving dinosaurs were those which had evolved into birds.

During the Epilogue music, dinosaurs moved into their original fossil positions.

Years later—65 million to be exact—a family visited a museum. They were fascinated by the display of fossils. It was getting late and the museum security guard came into the room.
“It’s closing time here at the museum, folks.”
He adds: “Can we turn things around so it won’t be closing time for the rest of us?”

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Bach and Beyond Radio Shows

The following are episodes of my show Bach and Beyond on CJCL Kootenay Co-op Radio

Mahler 4 by François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles – Aug 30, 2022

 

Lynne Gangbar: Elegy and more – May 31, 2022

 

Emma Rush Interview – April 12, 2022

 

Ravel Bolero Analysis & Left Hand Concerto – April 5, 2022

 

Love Songs – by Jamieson & Some Classics – February 15, 2022

 

Donuts of Mass Destruction and More by Doug Jamieson – January 25, 2022

 

Music of Sid Robinovitch – January 11, 2022

 

Orgasms in Classical Music – November 23, 2021

 

The Music of Patrick Godfrey – November 16, 2021

 

Road by the Winter Consort – February 09, 2021

 

Daniel Taylor and Ave Maria – January 26, 2021

 

In Memory of Marty Horswill – November 17, 2020

 

Andrew Wan, Beethoven and Dinosaurs – November 3, 2020

 

Fawn Fritzen Interview – October 06, 2020

 

Stravinsky L’Histoire du Soldat – August 11, 2020

 

Mozart and Bruch Violin Concertos – July 28, 2020

 

Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto – July 14, 2020

 

Prokofiev Violin Concerto – June 30, 2020

 

For the New World – June 16, 2020

 

Quartet For the End of Time – June 2, 2020

 

Doug Jamieson – DMD and Choral Music – May 19, 2020

 

Toronto Symphony At Home and More – May 5, 2020

 

Paganini Variations – April 21, 2020

 

Stay-At-Home Performances — April 7, 2020

 

Two Late Works by Ravel — March 24, 2020

 

Andre Laplante plays Ravel — March 10, 2020

 

Music to Die For, Part 3 — February 25, 2020

 

Music to Die For, Part 2 — February 11, 2020

 

Music to Die For, Part 1 — January 28, 2020

 

Mike Rud — January 14, 2020

 

David Restivo — November 19, 2019

 

Joe Trio — November 05, 2019

 

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Donuts of Mass Destruction – Scenes 5 & 6

Scene 5
A Rocky Patch – continued (Bert’s place)

Bert is standing beside his lever. Occasionally he looks upwards and shakes his head. He covers his eyes. He knows he’s going to be in for it. Betty can hardly keep from laughing. Bron is staring at the other end of the lever, sometimes looking under it, very confused. Spinner taps Bron on the shoulder and points upwards. From offstage, PT shouts.

PT: Help!
Spin: Don’t worry, boss. We’ll get you down.
Bron: Where are you, Boss?

Bron still can’t see PT, so Spinner leans Bron back on his tail and points him up. The curtain now reveals PT’s legs swinging.

Bron: Oh yeah. Ha. There he is. Way up there.
PT: Help! Get me down!
Bron: He really did fly.
Spin: Hang in there, PT. We’ll figure something out.

Spinner looks at Bert, who shrugs.

Bron: Wow. All three of his horns got stuck! Ha-ha.
Spin: I’d better go for help.

Spinner exits in a hurry.

PT: Get me down from here, you bozos!
Bron: Spinner’s gone for help. We’ll get you down soon, Boss.
PT: I want down now!
Bron: OK. I’ll see what I can do.

Bron moves back and takes a very slow run at the tree trunk. He crashes against the trunk and pushes with his shoulder, but all he does is make it shake.

PT: Woah-h-h-h-h! Stop! Bron! Stop!
Bron: Maybe I should take a better run at it?
PT: No! No! Stop! Wait for Spinner.

Spinner arrives with Rip and Ugh, who are equipped with dino-saws.

Ugh: Don’t worry boss. We’ll get you down!
Rip: How are we going to do this?
Spin: We got to get that tree out of the way.
Ugh: Yeah. If we cut down the tree, he’ll have to come down.
PT: Get me down!
Rip: Good thinking! Better cut it down.
Ugh: Here goes.

Ugh pulls the starter cord on his dino-saw and goes to the base of the tree. Soon, the air is filled with the chomping of the little wood-chewing lizard. PT tries to stop him, but the noise drowns him out.

PT: What are you trying to do?
Ugh: What did you say?
PT: Stop! Stop! Don’t cut this thing down!
Ugh: What?
PT: I said, “Don’t cu— Whoa! Whoa! Ahh!

There is a loud crash and a scream, as Ugh fells the tree, followed by silence.

Rip: Well, Ugh got him down.
Bron: Yeah! Pretty fast.
Spin: But the boss don’t look happy.

PT enters limping and bruised, with his horns stuck in a broken-off tree branch.

PT: Arghhh! You fool! Your stupid invention nearly killed me!
Bert: I was trying to tell-
PT: You’re fired! Grrrr! Let’s get out of here!

Poppa Tops and the Tarsands Boys exit. Betty bursts into laughter.

Betty: You are clever.
Bert: I tried to tell him.
Betty: He did look funny up there swinging his legs.
Bert: Betty, I don’t want you hanging around Poppa Tops and his gang. They’re a rough bunch.
Betty: And who are you to tell me what to do?
Bert: It’s for your own good. Those guys are trouble.
Betty: If Poppa Tops is so bad, why were you working for him? Mind your own business.
Bert: I – I – uh–

[music starts]

Bert: I thought you were my girl!
Betty: Well, you better think again!
Bert: Can’t you give me another chance? I just need a little more time. I promise I won’t screw up again.
Betty: Huh!

Better Think Again
Betty & Bert

Betty: If you think I want to be with you
Every now and then
While you go out on a date or two
Better think again

Bert: Oh my darling, I’ve been true
Things are not the way they seem
Oh my darling, it’s just you
You are the dino of my dreams

Betty: Tell me what you’ve ever done for me
Every now and then.
If you think you are the one for me
Better think again

Bert: Oh my darling, won’t you stay?
And I say this as a friend
There is so much danger there
I’m asking you to think again!

Both: Tell me now; oh, tell me how
I can make you see
Oh, tell me now; won’t you tell me how
It means so much to me?
It means so much to me.

Betty: If you think I want to be with you
Every now and then
While you go out on a date or two
Better think again!
I am not your darling
Not one more time
I said I’m not your darling
And you’re not mine
Why don’t you get it?

Bert: [in counterpoint]
Oh my darling
I think you better think again
Oh my darling
You better think again!
Oh my darling, I been true
I just need a little time
Oh my darling, some day soon
I am going to make you mine

Both: Tell me why you never see the light
Every now and then
If you think it’s going to be alright
I’m telling you; I’m telling you; I’m telling you
Better think again!!

Betty: I’m leaving!
Bert: Where are you going?
Betty: That way!
Bert: I was going to go that way.
Betty: Then I’m going this way!
Bert: Well if you’re going be like that then, just go!
Betty: The same to you!
Bert: I am going!
Betty: Me too!
Bert: So, what’s keeping you?
Betty: Yeah? What’s keeping you?

After a short hesitation, both groan out of frustration and exit in opposite directions.

Scene 6
Clear Cutting – The edge of the woods)

A group of herbivores are contentedly munching on foliage in the woods. They chant in rhythm with just a drum set accompaniment.

Yum, Crunch [no demo yet]
Denizens

Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Mmm! These do taste good!
Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Like good leaves should!
Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Mmm! All that we please!
Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Long live the trees!

Poppa Tops arrives with the Tarsands boys and the Premier. The TBs are equipped with dino-saws. PT gesticulates, giving instructions to clear the area. He indicates that the Premier is to smooth things over. He then exits. The herbivores repeat their rhythmic speech and the Tarsands boys chant overtop.

Tarsands: C’mon boys, let’s make some noise
We’re gonna… saw wood
C’mon boys, these ain’t no toys
Let’s cut ‘em… down for good!

C’mon boys, let’s do some stuff
There’s gonna be… no trees
C’mon boys, show you’re tough
Let’s build them factories

Denizens [in counterpoint]: Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Mmm! These do taste good!
Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Like good leaves should!

Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Mmm! All that we please!
Yum, crunch, chew, munch
Long live the trees!

Tarsands: Ok, boys (and girl), it’s damage time!! Start your dino-saws!

The Tarsands Boys start their dino-saws and the woods are filled with the growling and chomping of little wood-chewing lizards. They start cutting down trees to make way for the new donut factory. The terrified herbivores panic and seek the help of the Premier. The TBs saw their way off stage.

Dinos: Mr. Premier, help us! Something terrible is happening. Our forest! They’re destroying it. Etc.
Hoodwink: Good herbivores, listen to me. There is no need to panic.
Dino_3: But the forest!
Dino_2: All the trees!
Dino_4: Premier Hoodwink, you’ve got to stop them!
Dino_1: Yeah! They’ve got no right to do that to our trees!
Hoodwink: Now, now, good denizens of Yucatan, listen to me. It may be loud and scary. And, at first glance, it looks like you are losing a favourite place to graze.
Dino_3: We are! They’re destroying our forest!
Dinos: Yeah!
Hoodwink: Ah, but what looks to you like destruction, to a true visionary?such as myself?looks like progress!
Dino_4: What’s that?
Hoodwink: Your problem is that you can’t see the big picture.
Dino_2: We can and it looks bad!
Hoodwink: No, no. It’s the little picture that looks bad. Why, the big picture looks fantastic!
Dino_1: I don’t get it.
Hoodwink: No, that’s because you can’t see the forest for the trees [Music begins]
Dino_3: But there are no trees!
Hoodwink: You miss the point. Listen carefully!

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees [no vocal recorded yet]
Premier Hoodwink

Now you may see a lake
That’s half empty to you
But what you see is what you take
For it is half full too!
Now you may see some land
And think the trees are gone
But what you fail to understand
Is nothing… has gone wrong.

You can’t judge a Rex by the cover
Cause beauty is deeper than skin
You can’t tell a good egg from another
When thick shells are keeping it in. [taps their heads]
You can’t tell a rock from a hard place
When you’re just shooting the breeze
So don’t bite your snout off just to spite your face
When you can’t see the forest for the trees

Dinos: What trees? I don’t see any trees. etc. [interjections]

Know what makes the heart grow fonder?
It’s absence, don’t you know?
So if you have no trees to ponder
Just think how your love will grow!

Dinos: Never thought of it that way. What’s he talking about? Gosh. etc.

You fall in a hole? Better climb out!
Don’t dig deeper instead!
Or your little brain will need some time out
Just as sure as the lump on your head [taps heads]
Now trust me, I know just what you got
Is short-sighted social disease
So maybe you are not the sharpest claw on the paw
When you can’t see the forest for the trees, my friend
When you can’t see the forest for the trees

Dinos: I still don’t see any trees. I don’t get it. etc.

Hoodwink: Now you understand!
Dinos: No. Not really. Uh-uh. Etc.
Hoodwink: Then, let me explain it this way, my good denizens of Yucatan. In the short term, you’ll lose a few worthless trees. In the long term, what you’ll be gaining is this!! [He holds up a cardboard donut box.]
Dinos: “What’s that?” “Ah look.” “I wonder what’s in there!” “Is that what I think it is?” Etc.
Hoodwink: This, my friends, is a box of the most glorious, chewy, sweet and mouth-watering creations on the face of this fair planet!
Dinos: [They gasp and salivate and smack their lips.] Do you think maybe it’s…
Hoodwink: When these few insignificant shrubs are cleared away, Poppa Tops, that leading citizen, will build a state-of-the-art factory to manufacture millions and millions of DONUTS!
Dinos: “Oh, it is.” “Yummy.” Etc.
Hoodwink: Here. Have some! You lucky creatures will never have to eat boring old leaves again!
Dinos: “Hurrah!” “Oh happy day!” “No more yucky leaves.” Etc.
Hoodwink: And I have more good news. Everyone in the Premier Hoodwink re-election team is invited to party headquarters for?you guessed it?more free donuts!!
Dinos: [More gasping and salivating and lip-smacking.]
Hoodwink: So who’s for joining Team Hoodwink?
Dinos: “I am!” “Count me in!” “Oh yes!” Etc.
Hoodwink: Ha-ha. Then let’s go!

All exit. One dinosaur, Betty’s Mom, hesitates. She looks a little apprehensive. Then her appetite gets the better of her and she smacks her lips and runs after the crowd to join them.

BM: I’m not so sure about this. But… they are very yummy…
Wait for me. I’m coming too!

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Donuts of Mass Destruction – Scenes 3 & 4

Scene 3
Gravel Pit

Four pachycephalosaurs (bulb-headed creatures) obviously dumb, are busting up rock into gravel with their heads. A sign big sign says: “Bust ‘Em Up Gravel Corp. – Powered by Dino-mite!”


T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
Four pachycephalosaurs


Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re big and dumb and obsolete
Ugh! [head-butt rocks on the ‘ugh’]
Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you make a mess just moving your feet

And when you go out shopping
The jaws will all be dropping
When you hit some city street
Ahhhh! (feigning terror)
Oh well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re big and dumb and obsolete

A basic drum beat continues. D4 blows a whistle.

D4: Joke break!
D3: Why did the Brontosaurus devour an entire factory?
D2: I don’t know. Why?
D3: Because she was a plant eater! [all laugh except D2]
D2: I don’t get it!
D1: What do you give a brachiosaurus with an upset tummy?
D2: Hey! You told that yesterday! It was my turn!
D1: Oh, alright.
D2: What do you give a brachiosaurus with an upset tummy?
D1: Plenty of room!
D2: Hey! That’s my line! You’re supposed to say “I don’t know. What?” And then I say—
D4: OK, guys, joke break’s over.

Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re dancin’ and you feel the heat
Ooo!
Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When they know that you got four left feet!

Ouch!
Cause when you start to boogie
It’s Godzilla in the movie
And that ain’t dancin’ in the street!
Ahhhh!
Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re dancin’ and you feel the heat

D3: OK guys, let’s dance! [instrumental break with ‘You Can Dance’ rhythm]

They do a clumsy, collision-laden, heat-butting dance routine punctuated by the occasional ‘Ugh!’ Then back to more stupid jokes:

D4: Joke break!
D1: Oh! Oh! I got one for you!
Knock, knock.
D2: Who’s there?
D1: T. Rex-Rex
D2: T. Rex-Rex who?
D1: T. Rex wrecks you!

The others growl and pretend to bare their teeth and claws at D2

D2: Hey! That’s not funny!
D3: Oh! How about this one!
Did you hear about the herbivore who sat on a volcano?
D4: No.
D3: ‘Had-a-sore-ass! [all laugh except D2]
D2: I don’t get it!
D4: Oh, we’re bustin’ ‘em up tonight, boys! Joke break’s over.

Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re big and dumb and obsolete
Ugh!
Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re trying hard to be discreet

Cause when you go out dining
Oh they really start a-whining
When it’s one price for all-you-can-eat!
Yummm!!!
Well it’s T-T-T-Tough to be a Dinosaur
When you’re big and dumb and ab–
And big and dumb and ab–
And big and dumb and
Absolutely obsolete!!
Cha-cha-cha!

D3: Guys! Guys! I just had a thought!
D1: Whoa! You are using your head today!
D2: What is it? What is it?
D3: Why don’t we smash some more rocks?
D4: Great idea!
D1: That’s using the old noggin!
D2: I can hardly wait!
D4: You go first. [to D2]

They get back to work and are having a great time. They yell ‘yippee’ and run headfirst at the wall of solid rock. But presently, some ominous music signals the entrance of the Tarsands Boys. They come on one at a time: Rip, Ugh, Steggy and eventually Bron.

D3: Oh, oh guys. Looks who’s here!
D2: Yikes!
D4: Try to look busy!
D1: Maybe they’ll go away.
Ugh: You boys working hard?
D3: Oh yeah, oh yeah!
D4: We been busting our, uh, little brains all day long.
D2: Yeah! Just look at all the gravel we made!
Rip: Well don’t let us stop you.
Ugh: C’mon Bron.

Bron the Bruiser

Bron slowly enters to the terror of the workers..

Bron: Who do I squash? Huh?
Steg: Keep busting it up, boys, while we remind you who we are!

A slow & raunchy blues starts.

The Tarsands Boys
Rip, Ugh, Steggy and Bron


All: We are the Tarsands Boys
Steg: (and girl)
All: Don’t go and mess with the mob
Yeah we are the Tarsands Boys
Steg: (and girl)
All: Don’t go and mess with the mob
Cause if you cross the Tarsands
You’re gonna take a little stroll… in the bog!

Rip the Pterror

Bron: Now I’m Big Bron the Bruiser
I’m a heavy, yeah a heavy, just as heavy as a heavy can be [dumbly]
Rip: And they call me Rip the Tearer
I can tear off a strip of your hide so easily
Bron: And it’s like we Tarsands guys always say, uh… uh…
Rip: You’re in a mess if you mess with me!
Bron: Oh yeah. That’s it! That’s what we always say.

Ugh the Thug

Ugh : Now they call me Ugh the Thug
I got jaws and claws to positively make you yell
Steg: And me, I’m Steg the Slasher
And you don’t want to know the tail that I tell [brandishes tail]
Ugh: Cause if you cross the Tarsands
Both: You can kiss it all a fond farewell!

Ugh: Smash those rocks you dodos! [workers head butt rocks at accents]

All: We can crush, we can tear, we can claw you [Stop Time Chorus:]
We got teeth as sharp as a knife
If you try to mess with the Tarsands
You’ll be oo-oo-oo-oozing life!
Cause we’re the Tarsands Boys (and girl)
And we ain’t takin’ no jive
Cause if you cross the Tarsands
There won’t be nothin’ left to revive!

Bron: So what are we here for? Who do I squash? One of those guys?
D1-4: Ahh! [cowering]
Ugh: Nah! The boss just said to meet him at the pit.
Rip: And when Poppa Tops says to meet him, you meet him.
Steg: Something big must be up.
Ugh: Yeah! Something really big!
Bron: I like big.
Ugh: Size matters.
Rip: Hey, here’s the Boss now!
Steg: Yeah, and Spinner’s with him.

Poppa Tops and Spinner enter. Spinner is carrying a new sign.

PT: Well boys, we’re into a whole new line of business. Gravel? It’s the pits. Bust ‘Em Up Gravel Corporation has gone bust. We’re moving into the fast food lane. Put up the sign, Spinner.

Spinner replaces the sign with: “Chow Down Corporation ~ Donuts of Ex-stink-shun!”

Rip: “Chow Down Corporation ~ Donuts of Ex-stink-shun!” What’s that mean?
PT: “Extinction”? You idiot! That’s supposed to be “Dis”-tinction!
Spin: Sorry PT. I’ll fix it right away. [Corrects the sign with a big marker.]
PT: Why am I surrounded by idiots? Don’t answer that.
Bron: Hey Boss, what’s a donut?
PT: A donut? Ah, a donut is a glorious thing. It is round, chewy and sweet. No food value, cheap to make, highly addictive and, boys and girl, donuts are going to make me – ah, us – a fortune! [Music begins and he sings with all the charm of John Ashcroft.] A donut is so glorious, in fact, I can feel a song coming on. Boys, I can see a beautiful future out there just waiting for Chow Down Corporation:

Location, Location, Location
Poppa Tops

I see field after field of tall, waving wheat
And mountains of honeycomb
I see shop after shop on each city street
So conveniently close to home
Location, Location, Location!
[Spoken:] Can’t you just smell those donuts baking boys?” [They look confused.]

I see armies of workers who harvest and grind
I see legions that mix the dough
I see thousands of ovens that bake all the time
From the heat of a volcano
Location, Location, Location!

Far as the eye can see
Will all belong to me
And every creature great and small
Forever at my beck and call

I see millions of customers eager to buy
And all craving something sweet
I see one glorious day when my product line
Is all that there is to eat
Location, Location, Location!

The pachycephalosaurs do one big gravel-busting head butt on the final chord.

PT: Thanks you. Thank you. Now, you bulb-headed pachycephalosaurs, go home. Tomorrow report to the volcano and where you can start head-butting some holes for the ovens.

Gravel pit workers exit saying things like: “Oo that sounds like fun.”, “Hot, hot, hot!”, “We’ll be there!”, “Always getting ahead – ho-ho-ho.” etc. PT shakes his head in disbelief.

PT: C’mon boys (and girl). I got my eye on a cool cave in the City. We’re going to open a night club: The Big Bang Club!
Spin: Just the place to launch the Chow Down brand!
PT: And you geniuses can help negotiate the selling price, if you know what I mean.

[Lots of ignorant laughter as all exit]

Scene 4A
Rocky Patch (Bert’s place)

Bert is working away, trying to invent something. He takes a break to muse.

Rhyme and Reason
Bert

What gives the rhyme a reason?
What makes a new star in the sky?
What brings a changing season?
What makes me stop and wonder why?

All around
The yearning for life runs deep
When the sun goes down
We come to the night to sleep

And to dream again
Of some day to understand
The rhyme and the reason
For such joy and pain
Again and again
But then…

What gives the rhyme a reason?
Why should a seed begin to grow?
How can I let it be when
There is so much I do not know?

All around
The melodies rise and fall
When we hear the sound
We answer the song, the call

And I dream again
Of some day to understand
The rhyme and the reason
For such joy and pain
Again and again

The rhyme and the reason
For our joy and pain
Again and again
And again
But then…

Bert continues mucking about, a log falls across another log, rock like a teeter totter. Bert sits on one end of the tree and is surprised when the other end goes up. (Possibly use of the Also Sprach Shave-and-a-Haircut music.) He scrambles to the other end, sits on it and observes that the first end now goes up. He continues moving from end to end trying to get both ends down. For Bert, it is like whack-a-mole in an amusement park. He is getting frustrated and in a slapstick way tries sneaking up on one end only to see the first one go up. Enter Steg, the moll of the Tarsands Boys. Steg is followed by several males. She sings her Tango while Bert takes a break from his unsuccessful exercise. As she dances and sings, she slaps the row of males in succession to exemplify her power.

Steggy’s Tango
Steg

Steg the Slasher

There is no rhyme or reason
For what you call indecent
It’s never out of season
What the male considers love
And just can’t get enough!

For when I spy my quarry
It’s all the same sad story
They never once feel sorry
‘Til they’re in it good and deep
And they are mine to keep!

They lose their grip
And try to trip
The light fandango
But all too soon
I change the tune
And they dance Steggy’s Tango

These stupid brutes
Love low-hung fruit
Like a firm, but juicy mango
But everyone
When I get done
Is dancing Steggy’s Tango!

Olé!

Steg sends the males away, so she can focus on her next quarry.

Steg: Hi Bert.
Bert: Oh, hi Steggy.
Steg: What are you doing?
Bert: Uh, another experiment. I’m trying to get this thing to stay down.
Steg: Can I help?
Bert: Hmm. Yes, you could.
Steg: OK. What do I do?
Bert: You sit on that end and keep it down while I sit on the other end.
Steg: OK.

Steg does so but her end goes up in the air.

Steg: Sorry, my end went up.
Bert: Too bad. I’ll let you down. Hmm… [He lets her down a bit.]
Steg: Hey, now you just went up.
Bert: You’re right. Let me try again.
Steg: Wee! This is fun.
Bert: [They go up and down a few times.] It’s no use. The other end always comes up.
Steg: Maybe that’s because it’s the same piece of wood?
Bert: What? Oh, uh, maybe so…
Steg: Bert, why don’t we see what happens when we both sit on the same end?
Bert: That’s worth a try.

They sit together and wait. Nothing happens, but Steg enjoys it.

Bert: The other end’s not moving. This doesn’t seem to work.
Steg: Maybe we need to wait a little longer?

They wait a little longer.

Bert: I’ve got an idea.
Steg: Me too.
Bert: We’ll sit at this end and drop a boulder on the other and see what happens. With us both on this end, I’m sure we can keep this thing down.
Steg: That sounds like fun.

Bert positions the boulder. He props it up with a small stick. Then he sits with Steg at the other end. They wait…

Bert: Get ready! [They wait…]
Steg: How are you going to pull the stick?
Bert: Oh, right.
Steg: Maybe you could use that vine?
Bert: To… uh?
Steg: To pull the stick?
Bert: Right. I was just going to try that.

Bert loops a vine around the stick. He goes back to the other end of the teeter totter with Steg. He’s holding the vine.

Bert: Are you ready?
Steg: Oh I’m ready.
Bert: OK. Here goes!

Bert pulls the vine, the stick moves and the rock falls. Bert and Steg go flying and land in a heap together. Enter Betty.

Steg: Wow! Bert, that was like flying!
Bert: That was exciting! Are you OK?
Steg: Oh I feel good!
Betty: What is going on here?
Bert: Oh, hi Betty. Steg was helping me with an experiment.
Betty: An experiment? So this is what you do when you’re experimenting!
Bert: No. No. It’s not what you think.
Steg: We were just trying out something Bert invented. When I went down, he went up and when I went up, he went down. Then it was like we were flying!
Bert: It was kinda fun.
Betty: I bet it was!
Bert: No, no Betty, it’s not what you think.
Betty: [to Steg] You, you… you get out of here before I forget I just like plants!
Steg: Ah Betty, can’t you let your lover boy have a little fun now and then?
Betty: Fun! Grr….
Steg: Alright I’ll leave. Hope to see you later Bertie.

Exit Steg.

Betty: Oh! That loose lizard! Always egging on some guy!
Bert: Really Betty, it was just a good clean fun.
Betty: If I hear ‘fun’ one more time, I swear I will…
Bert: But… but…
Betty: And where were you today?
Bert: I was right here; I thought that was part of the problem?
Betty: We were supposed to go out!
Bert: That was today? I forgot.
Betty: And what else is new?
Bert: Maybe we could do something now?
Betty: I have had it! Waiting eons for you – and then I catch you with that, that, creature!
Bert: But… but…
Betty: It’s over! Finished! Extinct! K-T!

While they argue, Poppa Tops and his gang enter. They are on their way to the City.

PT: Sorry to interrupt you two love-lizards. I’ve come for the recipe, Brain-osaurus.
Bert: Oh, here it is. [Bert hands PT a little recording lizard. PT taps the head of the lizard and it speaks.]
Lizard: “Set your volcano oven for 350. In a cauldron, mix I honeycomb, I dino-egg, and?”
PT: Alright, alright. By the way, have you come up with any new food ideas lately?
Bert: Not yet.
PT: Well, get that over-sized brain of your working! How about something herbivore-flavoured? (No offence Bert.)
Bert: I’ll see what I can do.
PT: Bert, you got to think food for mass consumption. Seems to me that after inventing the donut, you’ve been a dud.
Betty: Dud is right!
PT: See if you can get your boyfriend to think up with something useful.
Betty: He’s not my boyfriend. Not anymore!
PT: [to Betty] Hmm. That so? I like your attitude. Ever thought of moving to the City? I’m starting a new club and could use a creature with your, uh, talents.
Betty: I’d love to!
Bert: Betty!
PT: Good. Just drop in at the Big Bang Club and you got yourself a job. [to Bert:] And you: I want something brilliant or else! I don’t keep you on the payroll to play with sticks and stones.
Bert: But I did invent something new. Look. When this side goes down, the other goes up.
PT: Oh, very interesting. Humph! Let’s go boys. [starting to leave]
Bert: And I can use it to make things fly!
PT: Wait a minute! Did you say ‘Fly’? Now, that is interesting. How does it work?
Bert: Well, if you drop something heavy on this end, then whatever is on the other end will go flying.
PT: I’ve always wished I could fly. All those idiotic pterodactyls – no offence Rip – flapping around in the sky like they owned the place; and all of us good solid hardworking triceratops stuck here on the ground, having to watch their smug, beaky grins… Oo that just burns me up! Bert, I’ll give your invention a try.
Bert: Well, I’m not sure if?
PT: So, do I stand here?
Bert: Well, yeah, but…
PT: And what do you drop on the other end?
Bert: I use this rock.
PT: That little rock? That’s not heavy! If Poppa Tops is going to fly, he’s going to fly! Forget that piddly little stone. We need something heavy!

All heads slowly turn to look at Bron.

Bron: I’m a heavy…as heavy as a heavy can be.
PT: Bron, you go to the top of that cliff and jump, and land on the other end.
Bert: Mr. Tops, sir, I’m not sure if that is such a good idea
PT: You said heavy and Bron is heavy.
Bron: OK, PT. I’m on my way. [Sings: “Call me irresistible, dum dum dum deedum deedum…” as he goes off stage right.]
Bert: But… But…
PT: Boys, you’re about to witness the first flying triceratops.
Bert: But… Uh…
PT: What’s wrong? This thing works, don’t it? I’m going to go flying, right?
Bert: Yeah, you’ll go flying. It’s just?
PT: Let’s get started. Ready, Bron?
Bron: Ready, PT.
PT: On the count of three, Bron, you jump.
Bron: What’s a count?
PT: When you hear me say “three”, you jump off that cliff and land on that end of the log.
Bron: OK. What’s a three?
PT: It doesn’t matter! When you hear me say the word “three”, you just jump. OK?
Bron: Okeedokee!
PT: One!
Bert: What I was trying to say was…
PT: Two!
Bert: …that after you go flying, I don’t know how you’re going to…
PT: Three!
Bron: Was that the “three” I was waiting for?
PT: Not the sharpest claw on the paw. OK you pea-brain, just jump!
Bert: But I don’t know how you’re going to land!!!
Bron: Here goes!!!!

We see Bron’s feet below the proscenium as he leaps off the cliff. His feet stop in mid-air, suspended, like a freeze frame. But we must leave it there because it is:

Intermission

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Fastlane to Paradise Synopsis

Presented by

Fastlane to Paradise, Doug Jamieson’s new musical theatre work, premiered on October 31, 2019, at the Capitol Theatre in Nelson, BC Canada. Thanks to grants from the BC Arts Council and the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, the writing of Fastlane to Paradise was finished, demos were recorded, and the show was workshopped. Directors of the Kootenay Musical Theatre Society worked hard to raise the final funds needed to bring this exciting show to the stage.

Principal Performers:

  • Stelio Calagias as Morris Phist
  • Michael Calladine as Edward Darnell
  • Lindsay Clague as Gretchen Wilder
  • Bessie Wapp as Peg Kofferdam and Wally & Ethel Darnell
  • Aryn Sheriff as Michaela Archer

Chorus:

  • Shawna Cummings
  • Gavin Deane
  • Amie Fries
  • Bryce Harrison
  • Emily Jamieson
  • Angela Lacroix
  • Vaughn Preninger
  • Marot Sammartino
  • Cindy Spratt
  • Alethia Stafford

Band:

  • Stephen Brockley                              Drums 
  • Jesse Lee                                             Bass
  • Darren Mahe                                      Guitar
  • Michael Perkins                                 Trumpet
  • David Restivo                                     Piano
  • Clinton Swanson                               Flute & Saxophone

Production Team:

  • Stage Director:                                   Avi Phillips
  • Music Director:                                  Doug Jamieson
  • Choreographer:                                  Stelio Calagias
  • Set & Graphics Designer:                  Murray Kimber
  • Lighting Designer:                              Dave Ingraham
  • Stage Manager:                                  Janet Cook
  • Producer:                                             Richard Rowberry
  • Assistant Music Director:                Mike Perkins
  • Communications Director:               Eden DuPont
  • Costume Designer:                             Leona LeBel
  • Make-Up:                                             Sherry Perry

This 4-1/2 minute promo was created before the premiere of Fastlane to Paradise:

This following Synopsis also was posted before the premiere. Illustrations are by Set Designer Murray Kimber, from his work The Highwayman. Murray also designed the poster and graphics.  Visit www.murraykimber.com to see more of his work.

Various singers perform on the following demos: Noémi Kiss, Emma Chart, Shadell Permanand, Eva McKimm, Doug Jamieson and Marshall Warkentin.

Synopsis – Act 1

Stelio Calagias as Mister Phist

Morris Phist, aka the Devil, slides down the side of a gigantic clock. He gives the pendulum a swing and explains that – for him – music does not require melody or lyrics; a tick and a tock are sufficient. In Time Passing, Phist tells us he adores the inexorable passage of time, because it provides him with countless opportunities to capture souls!

Dancers mechanically present Phist’s vision of the futility of life. Michaela Archer, a paramedic and part-time guardian angel, watches briefly; with an ironic smile, she shakes her head and exits.

Phist invites the audience to visit his rock club, The Devil’s Club, to witness the tragedy of Edward Darnell, his next client.


Outside the Devil’s Club, the company performs Out of Here, during which Edward busks a song called Knife-Edge about always living a hair’s breadth away from death.


An ambulance arrives and Michaela and her team take a stretcher into the Club.

Gretchen Wilder, an attractive journalist, is on assignment, at the Devil’s Club, to review Fastlane, a band she finds crude and untalented. Gretchen and Edward are taken aback when Michaela’s team brings out the stretcher. On it is a girl who overdosed. The ambulance departs and Edward resumes busking his song. Gretchen tells him she likes it and reluctantly goes into the Club and do her review. Edward sings the last two lines of his song:

A split second overdue or a heartbeat in advance
And you’ll be kicking up your heels to join the Devil’s dance.

Edward packs up his guitar and follows Gretchen into the Club.


Illustration from The Highwayman by Set Designer Murray Kimber

Illustration from The Highwayman by Set Designer Murray Kimber

Inside the Club, it is loud! The place is scary and there are some nasty-looking people circulating around the room. Freddie Hyde, lead singer of Fastlane, is a shadow of his former self. He tries to perform Let’s Go Down to Hell Now Baby, but messes up badly. Peg, Freddie’s backup singer and girlfriend, tries to help him with the words, but to no avail.:

 

Morris Phist, Freddie’s manager, is fed up with his client. There are few things sacred to Phist, but the market is a little piece of heaven even the Devil understands, and Phist cannot abide what Freddie is doing to the Fastlane brand. Before Freddie leaves the stage, Phist places a curse upon Freddie, imparting self-destructive thoughts into poor Freddie’s brain. Phist resolves to replace Freddie as soon as possible. He circulates around the room, searching for his next client.  Edward enters and Phist knows he has found the one he wants.

Edward sets his guitar down and hesitantly moves toward Gretchen’s table. Before he gets there, though, she starts an animated conversation with a male visitor. Edward returns to his table to wait for a better opportunity, but finds that a couple of drunks have taken his guitar. He gets in a fight to get it back. Meanwhile, Gretchen has heard enough of the band. She leaves to go outside and listen to the busker, not realizing that Edward has come inside looking for her.

The bouncer takes the side of the drunks and shows Edward the door. Phist wants to get to work on Edward right away. He closes the Club and sends everyone away.


Edward goes to the Strickland Bridge. He sits on a railing and sings None of the Above.:


Edward wanders off the bridge as Peg and Freddie arrive amidst a shouting match. When Peg tries to help the stumbling singer, he pushes her away and hurls abuse. She goes to get help.

Freddie climbs onto the railing of the bridge, holding his aching head. He is about to leap to his death, but stumbles backwards onto the bridge. Phist arrives and again imparts a subliminal command to Freddie. Freddie climbs back onto the railing. Edward returns and realizes that Freddie is about to leap. Before he can intervene, Phist tells him to save his breath and freezes Freddie in mid-lunge.

Mister Phist with Oscar and Bessie Wapp as Wally and Ethel Darnell

Phist gets right to work on Edward. First, he calls up a vision of Bob Guttman, Edward’s boss,  who boasts about his plans to ‘trim the fat’ and fire Edward.

Next Phist presents Edward’s parents. Perched upon Ethel Darnell’s, lap, like a ventriloquist’s dummy, is Edward’s late father, Wally, now a skeleton in a fedora. They rant about Edward being Such a Disappointment.

 

 

Phist offers Edward the Deal of a Lifetime! In exchange for his soul, he can take over Freddie’s life, and become a rock star and an instant celebrity. Edward turns down the Deal. Then Phist adds a 15-minute soul-back guarantee. When Edward asks for an escape clause, Phist tells him that the day he, Morris Phist, sings with a country gospel band, the Deal is null and void. Edward still won’t bite. Then, Phist slyly tells him journalists will be clamoring to interview him, including the one he just met outside the Club. Edward thinks of Gretchen, and agrees to try the Deal but just for 15 minutes!

Phist’s team converges from out of a portal. They do an extreme makeover on Edward, at blazing speed, until he looks just like Freddie. Phist approves their work, snaps his fingers, and Freddie completes his leap. Edward is shocked, but Phist explains that there was nothing anyone could do to stop him.

Rosa Celeste by Gustave Doré with Red Gibson

Rosa Celeste by Gustave Doré with Red Gibson

Phist quickly diverts Edward and captures his attention with the appearance of a Mystical Electric Guitar. It rises majestically from out of a portal. “This is a Hell-Caster! It’s got VOLTAGE!” he shouts.

 

Phist sings Two and a Half Billion Heartbeats and gets Edward to play some killer solos.

Edward quickly gets sucked into the power of the Hell-Caster. When the fifteen-minute soul-back guarantee is up, the intoxicated Edward throws all caution to the wind and takes the Deal. The fine print doesn’t faze him. He now must answer only to the name ‘Freddie’ and keep the Deal secret or go straight to Hell! Edward sings the last verse, while Phist and his crew exit. After a brilliant cadenza, Edward collapses in a heap.

When Peg and Rick arrive, they help the disoriented Edward (now inhabiting Freddie’s body) to find his way home.


Peg and Freddie drift farther and farther apart. One evening, as Peg watches Edward learning  – of all things! – a Chopin prelude on the piano. She wonders Who is This Stranger That I Love?


Later, Fastlane is rehearsing an intricate arrangement of Knife-Edge (only a portion will be used for the scene).

Phist is annoyed that Freddie invited a journalist to a rehearsal without first consulting him. Freddie is intransigent and the band continues to rehearse while Gretchen listens.

During the interview, Edward is evasive when Gretchen asks why details of his past are so contradictory. Then she suddenly remembers that she heard Knife-Edge played by a street musician outside the Devil’s Club. Freddie is thunderstruck to learn that more than once she went back hoping to hear him. “Oh God! She fell for a busker!… Me!” he laments, stunned to realize that he didn’t need to sell his soul to get to her.


Edward and Gretchen begin to fall in love. We see a series of wordless Vignettes. They meet for lunch; talk at a reception; walk down a street. We also see Gretchen interviewing Peg and Freddie rehearsing with his bass player.

Later, both Edward and Gretchen make simultaneous phone calls to respective friends. They tell them about their new romances. They end their concurrent calls, concurring that they must be in love.

Edward and Gretchen sing Like This (adapted from a poem by Rumi). They lie together. Fade to black.

Phist makes a cynical comment about the blossoming love affair and assures the audience that things will change… right after Intermission.

Synopsis – ACT 2

Edward writes a note and slips away from Gretchen’s apartment. Soon, Gretchen wakes and reads the note. She sings Cloud Nine and Seventh Heaven and joyfully dances around her apartment.

Illustration from The Highwayman by Set Designer Murray Kimber

Illustration from The Highwayman by Set Designer Murray Kimber

Unexpectedly, Peg arrives to set the record straight about Freddie. Gretchen tries to postpone the discussion, but Peg hands her three disturbing photos of Freddie. Peg found them after Freddie moved out, and thought that Gretchen should see them.

As Peg leaves, Edward returns with a bag of groceries. He can’t explain the photos, and, the more he tries, the more he obfuscates the situation. He denies that ever did such depraved things, yet admits that it is him in the photos. Gretchen tells him to get out.


Edward rehearses a melancholy jazz ballad called Slightly Fatal Bliss.


Phist tells him his fans won’t like it because they want something upbeat.


The relationship with his manager has become strained. Edward repeatedly cancels shows and Phist threatens to find a new front man. Edward says he wants to tell Gretchen everything. Phist sings Secrets, warning Edward to keep his mouth shut or he will crash and burn.


Gretchen completes the song, wondering who Freddie really is. She sends two of his notes to a handwriting analyst.

Freddie continues to deteriorate. Phist goads him for his drunkenness and cajoles him to perform that night.

Linsay Clague, Bessie Wapp, Stelio Calagias and Doug Jamieson at Workshop – May 2017

While he is getting ready, Phist resolves to end the Deal. He intercepts a message from Gretchen who now knows that Freddie’s signatures don’t match. Phist considers his move. He chuckles and rapidly edits the voicemail, making it appear that Gretchen is about to kill herself at the Stickland Bridge. He puts Plan “D” in action. When Freddie hears the edited message, he makes a Mad Dash to the Bridge:


From The Highwayman by Set Designer Murray Kimber

At the bridge, Edward tries to push Gretchen out of the path of an erratically-driven vehicle, but is struck himself. Michaela and her paramedics take Edward away in the ambulance.

 

At the hospital, Phist makes some empty statements to the press. Edward is attached to monitors that flash and beep. As Phist leaves, he bumps into Michaela and smirks.


Michaela freezes time in Edward’s room. The monitors and lights no longer beep and flash. Edward sits up, climbs out of bed, and experiences a nightmarish near-death experience. He is surrounded by Dust-Eaters, souls in limbo.

Phist informs Edward that he will join them soon. After Phist leaves, Michaela she tells Edward not to lose hope and to begin his recovery. He leaves and Michaela sings Scattered Grace:


Michaela dons a Stetson and exits the realm of the Dust-Eaters.


Activity resumes in the hospital room. Once again, nurses move and monitors beep and flash. Michaela gives Gretchen some encouragement, and then she asks Peg to sing at an event she is planning.


Questionable taste in the new art at Fastlane Productions

Phist arrives at work to see the sign being changed. ‘Fastlane! Raise a Little Hell Dude!’ is now ‘Hop on the Fastlane to Paradise… Friend’. Phist is outraged to find that he no longer controls the company, due to a hostile takeover. The Fastlane band members now wear suits and impervious smiles and his office has been redecorated with items of questionable taste. Michaela invites Morris to hear Peg, now in full country regalia, sing the title track from the band’s new CD.  The band launches into Fastlane to Paradise.

Phist hates the song and tries to get the band to do some of their past hits. He sings other tunes overtop, but soon gets drawn into the melody of the country tune. Phist performs the last line with a great gospel/blues style and everyone cheers. He basks in the glow for a split second, but snaps out of it. When Michaela thanks him for performing with the band, Phist is aghast to realize he has been duped and Edward has been freed from The Deal.

The band strikes up Happy Diabolic Trails,  as a large hand basket is wheeled in.


Phist reluctantly climbs into the hand basket and leaves in a huff and a puff of smoke, a sulfurous explosion! The band members congratulate each other for a great performance, toss their cowboy hats into a prop trunk, and exit.


Later, Edward and Gretchen are walking on the Stickland Bridge. Edward is hobbling with a crutch and one leg in a cast. They greet Michaela and Peg who walk arm-in-arm. Gretchen learns that ‘Freddie’ was just his stage name. She is worried about Edward being able to play again. He tells her that crutches should never hold you back and sings Stay Alive. Edward does an energetic, athletic dance, spinning on his crutch. Gretchen, Michaela and Peg join in.

Phist advises the audience that he’s returned to a profession where he wrote many of the details. He meets an earnest young man articling at his firm, to whom Phist is about to offer the Deal of a Lifetime.

Edward, Gretchen, Phist, Michaela, and Peg sing Life Can Go On.

The Chorus joins in as day-to-day activity returns to the Strickland Bridge. Life does go on.

Fin

Copyright Doug Jamieson © 2018

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A Chopped Up Tale

In 1987, I wrote a suite for a puppet theatre company in Toronto called the Crankee Consort. It was created and directed by Larry Lewis and Jane Low-Beer. My suite used numerous fiddle tunes and Canadian folk songs as a resource. The instrumentation was classical guitar, violin, accordion and double bass.

A guitar solo from this suite was published by the Royal Conservatory of Music in their Grade V method book. The following is a recording from the original production, featuring Larry Lewis on guitar:

La belle jarretiere verte:

 

Here are the other tunes, more or less in the order they appeared. The performers in the recordings are Larry Lewis, guitar; Joe Macerollo, accordion; Ann Lederman, violin; and a double bass player we knew as Jack.

Two woodsmen were chopping in the bitter cold. By mistake, one chops off his partner’s head. He uses snow to freeze the head back on. To take his friend’s mind off his troubles, he tells him the story of Ti-Jean.

Overture (This track is missing the guitar which was played live, like a Music Minus-One.):

 

Transition with Fiddle and Step Dancing:

 

Travelling Music, as Ti-Jean sets out on his adventure:

 

Old Man; music for the villain of the story. He has three daughters. If Ti-Jean can perform the task the Old Man sets for him, he can choose one of the daughters for his wife. If not, he will lose his head!:

 

Ti-Jean is about to leave, rather than risk his life. But… he sees the beautiful daughter known as La Belle Jarretiere Verte (The Beautiful Green Garter), and he falls in love:

 

Ti-Jean’s task is to retrieve some golden eggs that are much too high to reach. La Belle helps Ti-Jean with his task. She instructs Ti-Jean to make a ladder out her bones, after he cooks her in a pot. (We didn’t make that up. It is a whacky folk tale!) Next, Ti-Jean uses the ladder to climb up and reach the eggs. The tune was called Ladder Up:

 

Ti-Jean now must reassemble her bones to bring La Belle back to life. I used a variation on the tune Them Dry Bones to set up the dialogue that follows:

 

La Belle appears as beautiful as before, and once again, we hear her theme:

 

The Old Man is angry that Ti-Jean succeeded and furiously chases him  as he and La Belle try to get away. The Old Man transforms himself into a storm cloud, but La Belle becomes a white bird and Ti-Jean rides her to safety. Then the Old Man becomes a bird of prey, and La Belle turns her self into a wheat field, with Ti-Jean pretending to be a farmer harvesting his wheat. Then the Old Man becomes a huge red combine, a demonic harvesting machine, but La Belle becomes a lake and the combine sinks. At the end of the chase,  the Old Man emerges from the lake sputtering.:

 

After surviving the various threats, La Belle and Ti-Jean are married:

 

Later in the tale, there is a scene with a King and a Royal Fanfare was needed:

 

Eventually, the tale of Ti-Jean ends. The two Woodsmen each take a deep bow – one removing his hat, the other his head – and they exit to the music of the Finale:

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Guitar Concerto

This work dates back to the early 1980’s. It was commissioned by Eli Kassner and Lee Hepner through the Ontario Arts Council. After two performances using the piano reduction, the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra was premiered in the intended orchestral version, in Rochester NY, on Mar. 27, 1982. Domenic Ashworth was the guitar soloist and Gerald Bannerman the conductor. The performance took place at Hochstein Music School. The producer of this concert was John Wiesenthal, and he did a great job at pulling everything together.

The Guitar Concerto had its Canadian premiere on June 29, 1984, at Guitar ’84 International Festival in Toronto. Again, Domenic Ashworth was soloist. The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, was conducted by Raffi Armenian. The performance was recorded for a CBC broadcast on Sept. 24, 1984. Here are links to the broadcast recording:

Movement One:

Movement Two:

Movement Three:

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Chromatic Fantasia on the Name of Bach

Pursuit is a good word to describe what composers often do. It often starts with an innocent question: “Hey! I wonder if I could do that?”  and then, before you know it, countless hours have been gobbled up in the pursuit. When I was commissioned to write an organ solo for Douglas Haas, I thought it would be a challenge to base the work on the BACH motif.

The BACH motif is a succession of notes: B flat, A, C, B natural. In German musical nomenclature, the note B natural is written as H and the B flat as B. This allows a series of four notes to spell Johann Sebastian Bach’s family name. Hundreds of composers have paid homage to Johann Sebastian Bach by incorporating this motif in their music. I knew about Schumann’s work in this pursuit: Six Fugues on the Name of B-A-C-H and Liszt’s Fantasia and Fugue on the Theme of B-A-C-H.

The first three letters were no problem for me. The B flat and A form a major seventh, an interval I love, and throw in a C natural and it adds a major 9th or 2nd to the harmony. But what to do with the H – or you could say “What the H to do with the H?” When I tried to write a theme and a counter melody, I disliked everything I came up with.

It is second nature to me to use octatonic scales, also known as ‘diminished scales’. There are three possible octatonic scales and this chart lists them:

Bb C Db Eb E F# G A
B C D Eb F F# G# A
Bb B Db D E F G A

As you can see, if Bb is your starting note, your centre of gravity, there is no dominant, no F. In terms of the BACH motif, there also is no H (B). Then I had an insight. I realized that, if I ‘modulated’ from one octatonic scale to another when the B natural (the H) occurred, I had a meaningful language, that sounded ‘right’. Since I write by ear, it is more important that it sounds right to me; it can’t just make a logical harmonic sense.

I created a piece is one continuous movement, but in two sections. The first is Largo, very slow, and certainly owes a debt to Bartok’s Music for Strings Percussion and Celeste. The second is quite fast and since Italian is used for musical instructions, I marked this “come un pipistrello fuori dal inferno”. This translates: “like a bat out of Hell.”

What you hear in this piece is the subtle shifting of scales in a harmonic sea where there is no home key. There are the 4 notes of the BACH motif however which provide an anchor.

The Chromatic Fantasia on the Name of Bach is quite a dense piece. Traditional fugal techniques are employed, such as stretto, where the voices enter earlier and play overlapping versions of the theme. The musical palette is quite chromatic and the four voices enter at the four point of a chromatic scale marked by a diminished seventh chord.

At the ending of the piece, the harmony results from stacking the 4 notes of the motif. I started with a low A natural in the cello and added the other 3 notes, stacked a minor 9th apart. This is the sonority at quite an abrasive climax. Then the notes are inverted and the dynamics change from triple forte to pianissimo. The lowest note now is a Bb and the other 3 notes form major 7th or major 9th ‘s intervals. Emotionally, it is like going from anguish to acceptance.

The work was premiered on June 28, 2017, by the Sycamore String Quartet at a concert in Kamloops, BC, entitled Made in Canada. At the premiere, I introduced it with some insights on how the material was structured. Here is a recording of this introduction, followed by links to the two movements of the work from the premiere performance:

Introduction by Doug Jamieson

Chromatic Fantasia on the Name of BACH part one

Chromatic Fantasia on the Name of BACH part two

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Jorinda

Here are three videos of the 2015 production of Jorinda in Nelson, BC. First of all, meet the cast and characters from the show.

Here is Act One:

Here is the Second and Concluding Act:

The opera Jorinda has its own website  which you can visit by Jorinda Website.

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Love is an Art of Time

Cover Art Image at the Fontaine de MedicisLove is an Art of Time was written in 1985. It was commissioned by and dedicated to James McLean and Gianetta Baril of the now disbanded tenor-harp duo Lyracord. It was composed with the much-appreciated financial assistance of the Ontario Arts Council.

Writing these five settings was one of my most positive commissions. James and Gianetta gave excellent performances – as you can hear in the premiere performance connected to this post – and they included the work in a tour of Ontario. More importantly, they gave me a lot of valuable guidance throughout the creation of the work. Gianetta, in particular, provided a lot of help with the daunting task of writing effectively for concert harp. The following recordings are from the premiere performance on March 8, 1985 by Lyracord:

Introduction by James McLean

1. Now the starlit, moonless Spring

2. The blue-eyed grass

3. Sharp in my heart

4. Void only

5. Another spring

I had fallen in love with Kenneth Rexroth’s translations of Japanese poems, which prompted me to read Rexroth’s own poetry. When I did, I found several poems that were eminently singable. (Not all poems have that quality, to say the least, and many poems stubbornly refuse to cooperate with composers and, when set, seem to enter into a dysfunctional coupling, an unholy alliance.)

In 2012, my wife and I went to Paris, France. It was my first visit to the City of Lights and I thoroughly loved it. I felt very much at home in a place where such a high value is placed on both historic and contemporary culture. Listed in the Paris attractions was the Fontaine de Medicis in the Jardin du Luxembourg and I was reminded of the first poem I had set: “Now the moonless, starlit Spring”. Of course, we visited the Fontaine and the picture included with this post was taken by photographer wife, Elizabeth Cunningham.

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Fair Mona

An elaborate construction – first conceived in 1992 – combining classical, straight ahead pop, and science-based spoken word. This piece had its genesis while reading a nature magazine about the sex life of bugs, snakes and other creatures.

The tiny male moth who flies miles to reach a mate finds the powerful scent of her pheromones to be irresistable. Irresistable to me was the chance to tell the story of mating praying mantises accompanied by the Liebstod from Tristan and Isolde. Alternating the classically-based music – some quoted, some original – which accompany the scientific readings, are verses of a pop song telling the story of a sexually insecure young man, craving to be with the fair Mona.

This performance features the late Lister Sinclair, a true polymath and one of the most renowned voices from the golden age of the CBC, reading the text. Lister was a delight to work with. He quite got into the irreverent spirit of the song and delivered a perfect performance. We met for coffee a few months after I finished the CD. He passed away the following year on October 16, 2006 at age 85.

Other credits: lead vocal: Doug Jamieson; background vocals: Meghan McGuiness, Lesley Bouza & Linda Hendry; guitar: Paul Chapman; flute: Maria Pelletier; Sax: Scott McGuffin; midi orchestra accompaniment is partly original and partly – and greatly – indebted to Peter Tchaikovsky & Richard Wagner. Thanks also to J. Richard Hutt who mastered the recording.

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Mitotem

 

(7:09) To Stream: Mitotem

Mitotem was my first endeavour in writing for an ensemble. I was working on a film for a professor at University of Waterloo. He did not have a script, just an idea that the film would be about symmetry in nature. He was funded to make the film, but had lost all interst in the project. I was given free rein to do whatever I wanted. There was no funding to complete the film, so whatever time I spent was an opportunity to gain experience and get access to equipment.

For the ending, I wanted a dance sequence. My idea was to have dancers portray the mitosis of a human cell. I met Lenora Hume, who was a modern dance student at U of Wloo. She loved the idea and choreographed it with the help of another student,Vera Hunt. The dance was performed by the University of Waterloo Repertory Dance Company on Mar. 3 & 4, 1973 at U of Wloo and Mar. 31, 1973 at the Kitchener Public Library.

Early in the project, I tried to find existing music that I could use for the dance. This was frustrating, so in a “Hey! I can do that!” moment, I decided to write it myself. I came up with the instrumentation by listing all my musical friends. I wanted a cellist or bassist and had to expand my network to find these players: Nancy Bender played cello and Doug Wicken played bass. Among the friends in the ensemble were Tim Wynne-Jones playing percussion and Steven Naylor playing a pretty tricky piano part. I included two classical guitars, played by Evan Graham and John Constant. Klaus Gruber was one of three percussionists. Jeremy Constant (now Assistant Concertmaster with the San Francisco Symphony) and David Constant played violin and clarinet respectively.

The structure of the piece came from the scientific terms and description of the various stages of mitosis. For the introduction and the concluding sections (both entitled Interphase) , I used multi-tract recording. Three tracks plus a reference track used up all available 4 tracks. Carol Wainio sang long tones extended by a Moog synthesizer on all three tracks. The patterns were tight clusters (influenced by the Ligeti music used in the film 2001).

The second section, when the instruments enter, is called Prophase. After a pause, the Metaphase section is characterized by a series of slow, descending fifth chords. Then follows the more animated Anaphase and Telophase. The sixth part, called Cytokinesisis, is an adagio using a pizzicato canonic accompaniment. The piece ends with a return to the Interphase vocal clusters.

Raffi Armenian, then Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, heard Mitotem and gave me some advice. “You should be studying composition. I don’t know if you will be a successful composer, but you have to try. You are doing a lot of interesting things in this piece, techniques which composers were using after World War II.”

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