With our premiere of this new music-theater work behind us and looking forward to our DC performances next week, here’s what our fearless collaborative creative team, Amy Kirsten and Mark DeChiazza, had to say about the process of collaboration:
The language of the piece is both musical and visual and was developed over the course of two years and six workshop periods. Once a basic framework and language of the piece was established, the method that guided us was to think of the work is as a “storybook poem” – “storybook” because of its linear structure, colorful characters, and use of imagery; and “poem” because of its associative and multifaceted relationship to meaning. In other words information about individual characters as well as the relationships between them are reinforced on many levels – from the music and text to the movement, from the set design to costumes and lighting. This method allowed us a great sense of freedom and playfulness as we made the piece and the incredibly generous number of workshop periods maximized our collective sense of discovery. “I found a true collaborator in Mark who has the rare ability to delight in the questions – those unavoidable moments mid-process where you are in the dark together, hoping that the light will come on,” says Kirsten. “We really had a terrific time building this weird and wonderful world together.”
The music of CPT plays with, among other things, the concept of musical movement. Much of the music is composed with its physicality in mind, so much so that it’s not only musical ideas that make up the fabric of the piece, but also the body movements required to play particular gestures. Inextricably linked to sound, these physical gestures are treated compositionally throughout. The music and the staging, developed in cooperation with eighth blackbird, are geared to the particular talents of the individual players. Kirsten drew inspiration from each of the instrumentalists and designed the sound world – and the characters – around an expanded palette that often merges the players’ voices with played parts, creating an amalgam of character/instrument/body/voice.
Check out the review of our Richmond premiere: