Friday, March 6, 2015

My pop oratorio about Janus Manhattan's Children originates in memories of a late night, late Fifties telethon

I have blogged before about my small child confusion ,when viewing my first ever telethon over just who was alive, who was ghost and who was a ghost brought back to life for just one night to assist this charity telethon.

As an adult, I still think this memory makes the basis for a really great pop oratorio.

The setup :

Somewhere on Manhattan in the late 1950s, a TV studio is ready to go for the annual rheumatic heart disease telethon, but the cast and crew is offstage taking a break before showtime, with the auditorium seats slowly filling up with the in-studio audience.

To entertain and cue the incoming audience, silent, low quality, 1940s-era 16mm film footage of rheumatic heart disease patients and their medical staff in hospital scenes, all dressed in ghostly white, are looping away on the big screen high up in the back of the set.

Suddenly the rear doors to the auditorium fling open up dramatically --- but silently.

Then slowly some eerily silent figures, dressed head to shoes in white, (ditto their assistants) ---  identical to the ones up on the film screen, are wheeled in with wheelchairs or assisted with canes, crutches or oxygen assist, down the centre aisle and up onto the stage.

They all of them take off their white hospital clothes to reveal ordinary street clothes , circa 1940, and then they pick a variety of color-coded hospital tops and start to silently mime away in their temporarily assumed roles as patients, doctors, administrators, visitors etc for the opening scene.

The house lights go down as the offset pit music and sfx goes up .

A colored spotlight lights up, at front and centre and a figure goes under it to first talk then talk sing and sing their way into the opening number.

I intend the props and mimed action, taken together together with the action on the film screen, to give enough dates, words and images for readers of volume I of my book to understand the context of each particular scene and song.

And the end of the last scene, the stage figures put on their white hospital garb and again wheeled silently down and out the rear of the auditorium  : THE END ....

No comments:

Post a Comment