The Child & the Spells | Trouble in Tahiti

The Child & The Spells

 

Directed by Bruce Cain

Music Direction by Kristin Roach

Conductor and Chorus Master: Kristin Roach

Offstage Conductor: Allan Armstrong

Collaborative Pianist: Joachim Reinhuber

The Child ---  Blayke Drury

Mother, The Chinese Cup, The Dragonfly --- Lacey Cornell

The Fire, The Princess, The Nightingale --- Tee Crincoli

The Armchair, The Tree -- Andrew Daunais

The Louis XV Chair, The Owl --- Lauren Slagowski

The Grandfather Clock --- Mark Hockenberry

The Teapot, The Frog, The Little Old Man -- Zachary Newman

The Female Cat, the Squirrel, A Shepherd --- Jaimie Lowe

The Male Cat --- Paul Nix

A Shepherdess --- Hannah Young

The Bat --- Alexandrea Nessi

 

CHORUS:

Sopranos: Anna Balan, Lee Scarborough Chappell,Tee Crincoli, Micah Esau, Charissa Memrick, Alexandrea Nessi, Emily Schrader, Lauren Slagowski, Meng-Jung Tsai, Hannah Young, Luz Zamora

Altos: Lacey Cornell, Jaimie Lowe, Courtney Nagel

Tenors: Trinidad Agosto, Evan Brown, Zachary Newman, Pedro Valdez

Basses: Andrew Daunais, Mark Hockenberry, Kyle Lopez, Paul Nix, Wei-Shu Tsai, Jordan Van de Vere

SYNOPSIS:

 

The Child has been sent to his room for misbehavior and told to do his homework, which he does not wish to do. He petulantly lists the naughty things he would prefer to be doing. His Mother, coming to check on him, is annoyed to find that he has been dawdling and has spilled ink on the carpet. He sticks out his tongue and is punished with more isolation and nothing but dry bread and sugarless tea for a snack.

 

Left alone, the angry Child acts out. He knocks the Teapot and Chinese Cup off the table. He pricks the caged Squirrel with his pen nib. He pulls the Tom Cat's tail. He pokes the Fire and kicks the kettle over. He breaks the pendulum of the Grandfather Clock. He tears up his books. He rips off a piece of wallpaper decorated with figures of shepherds and their flocks. But as he prepares to fling himself into the Armchair, it hobbles away.

 

Now the room comes alive. As the Child watches, the Armchair joins with the Chair, both demanding their freedom from him. The Grandfather Clock complains at the damage done to him. The Teapot and Chinese Cup threaten revenge and dance off. Feeling cold, the Child approaches the Fire, who tells him that he warms the good but burns the bad. The Child has offended the household gods that protect him. He begins to feel afraid.

 

The wallpaper figures, including the Shepherd and Shepherdess, mourn their destruction. The Child weeps. Out of one of his torn books rises the Princess, complaining that he has wrecked the story she was in; he is too weak to rescue her from her enchanter and she sinks underground. Arithmetic, a little old man, arrives and he and his Numbers bombard the Child with questions.

 

The Tom Cat, emerging from beneath the Armchair, spits at him and joins with the female Cat in drawing the Child into the garden. A Tree groans at the wound the Child inflicted on him the day before. Feeling pity, the Child lays his cheek against it. The garden begins to teem with life. The Dragonfly searches for his mate, whom the Child regretfully admits he caught and pinned to the wall. The Bat tells him he has killed the mother of his children. The Squirrel warns the Frog against the cage the Child will put him in. He realizes that the animals love each other, but not him. He calls for his mother.

 

The Animals and Trees unite in a desire for revenge. They throw themselves upon him. A Squirrel is injured. The Child binds his paw with a ribbon. The animals notice that he, too, has been hurt. Concerned, they surround and tend him. They call out for his mother.

 

As a light goes on in the house, the animals withdraw, praising the Child's newfound wisdom and kindness. Holding out his arms, the Child calls for his mother.

 

Trouble in Tahiti

 

Directed by Samuel J. Mungo

Music Direction by Kristin Roach

Conductor: Kristin Roach

Collaborative Pianist: Joachim Reinhuber

Dinah --- Jaimie Lowe

Sam -- Wei-Shu Tsai

Trio: Charissa Memrick, Zachary Newman, Andrew Daunais

SYNOPSIS:

 

Prelude – A smiling jazz Trio sings of perfect life in Suburbia, with its little white houses and happy, loving families.

 

Scene I – Sam and Dinah talk over breakfast, alternating between habitual bickering and lyrical moments of longing for kindness. Dinah accuses Sam of having an affair with his secretary, which he denies. She also reminds Sam that their son Junior's play is that afternoon, but Sam insists that his handball tournament at the gym is more important. They continue to argue until Sam leaves for the office.

 

Scene II – At work, Sam exudes confidence as he deftly handles business by telephone and promises to lend money to a friend. The Trio extols Sam's virtues.

 

Scene III – In her analyst's office, Dinah recalls a dream of an untended garden, choked with weeds ("I was standing in a garden"). In the dream, she hears a voice calling to her, describing a beautiful garden, a place of love and harmony, and she tries desperately to find it. Meanwhile, at Sam's office, he questions his secretary about their relationship, and when reminded of an incident, he insists that it was an accident and that she forget it ever happened.

 

Scene IV – Sam and Dinah accidentally run into each other on the street. Uncomfortable, each makes up an excuse so they won't have to have lunch together. After parting, they privately reflect in duet on the confusing and painful course their relationship has taken, and yearn for their lost happiness.

 

Interlude – Inside the house, the Trio sings of lovely life in Suburbia, detailing the comforts of the American dream.

 

Scene V – At the gym, Sam has just won the handball tournament. He sings triumphantly about the nature of men ("There's a law")— how some try with all their might to rise to the top, but will never win; while others, like him, are born winners and will always succeed.

 

Scene VI – Dinah has spent the afternoon at the cinema watching a South Sea romance movie called "Trouble in Tahiti." At first she dismisses it as sentimental drivel. But as she recounts the story and its theme song "Island Magic," backed by the Trio ("What a movie!"), she gets caught up in the escapist fantasy of love. Suddenly self-conscious, she stops herself, and prepares dinner. On his way home, Sam sings of another law of men— that even the winner must pay for what he gets—as he reluctantly returns to the discomfort of his home.

 

Scene VII – The Trio sings of evenings of domestic bliss in Suburbia. Sam and Dinah try half-heartedly to talk about their relationship, but their effort turns into yet another argument that devolves into uncomfortable silence. Neither of them has gone to Junior's play. Sam suggests they go to the movies, to see a new film about Tahiti; Dinah consents. As they leave, they each long for quiet and communion, but not knowing if it's possible to rediscover their love for one another, they opt for the "bought-and-paid-for magic" of the silver screen. The Trio makes its final ironic comment, echoing the movie's "Island Magic" theme song.

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