Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, August 16 2012 First Performance:
April 5 2011
John Rubenstein, actor
Savannah Music Festival
Death Row Memoirs of an Extraterrestrial
(2010) was written simultaneously as text and music. I worked on both aspects back and forth to find the right sequence and structure for the piece.
While the character exhibits classic aspects of a paranoid schizophrenic, and one particular aspect is the sense of being inhabited by an alien being; I prefer to think of them as truly having the extraterrestrial inside.
My primary perspective was that of a non human being in a position to observe earthlings. As such, the character could present critical commentary on everything from the inadequacies of our communication and our physical frailties to more spiritual dilemmas such as our beliefs and compulsions.
The presentation of the story, which is quite simple, is interspersed with ruminations on music, love, eating habits and home.
The music serves several purposes throughout the piece. At most times it is a reflection of the emotional travels of the character offering a nonverbal layer of information. Sometimes it offers its own commentary on a situation.
Some sections have accompanying music to illustrate a particular flight of thought that the character follows. As a totality the text, acting and music are all manifestations of the same psyche and contribute equally to the effect of the piece. For this reason I like to think of this form as ‘music-theater.’
A simple story from the viewpoint of an alien, with observations and commentary on earthlings' poor communication and physical frailties, interspersed with musings on music, love, eating habits, and home.