Saturday, November 15, 2014

Makes my heart break every time

For some time, I've been holding on to this clip of the opera performance at Southern Methodist University earlier this year. These singers kill me. So talented.

I wrote the storyline/libretto, and the talented Charlie McCarron (Minneapolis) composed the score. We are currently working on the rest of the opera.



Here's the libretto:
Scene:

A MOBILE HOME ON CINDER BLOCKS WITH A TARP PERCHED ON TWO POLES TO FUNCTION AS A SHADED PORCH. ON THE CINDER BLOCK STAIRS, RUBIE (MID-THIRTIES) SITS WITH HER SWADDLED INFANT CLUTCHED AGAINST HER CHEST. MAMMA, A PORTLY WOMAN IN A CHEAP HOUSEDRESS IS HANGING WET CLOTHES ON A LINE, OUT OF RUBIE’S LINE OF SIGHT.

AFTER RUNNING AWAY FROM A BAD MARRIAGE, RUBIE IS STILL A DREAMER AND YEARNS FOR SOME KIND OF ESCAPE FROM POVERTY AND HER MOTHER.  

(RUBIE’s aria.)

RUBIE:
It’d be nice to have a man
A good man.
Would it, baby? 
Wouldn’t it?

It’d be nice to have a hand,
A warm hand.
Wouldn’t it?
Wouldn’t it?

A simple man, a gentle man
Not a rough one, not a tough one
Just enough one…

(to the sleeping baby)
Don’t be happy.
Don’t be calm.
This place is poison
For dreamers who stay too 
long.

How to get away…
One day?

With a good man—

(Having finished hanging the wet laundry, and with a full basket of line-dry clothes, MAMMA hears RUBIE and interrupts.)


MAMMA:
What man?

RUBIE: (embarrassed)
Nothing.

MAMMA:
Another man?
(RUBIE doesn’t answer)
Rubie, look at yourself. Look at where we at.

You’d best better not be fallin’
You’d best better not be fooled.
Cause there ain’t no love, ain’t no man,
Who’d want to take on you.

You’d best better not waste your time,
Cause time don’t waste on you.
Where you gonna run to? Ain’t no life
You’d best better learn to pay the price
A man ain’t happy with a sometime wife.

MAMMA takes the laundry into the mobile home (exit), but can still be seen through the window, folding the laundry.

RUBIE:
(to her baby )
Quiet, why are you so 
Quiet? If you’d only 
cry, I could see my 
heart in you.
Maybe I’d know what to do.

Mamma don’t know how
She don’t have no dreams
But I seen it happen…
In stories, on screens.
Love could happen…
And if it don’t, it should.

RUBIE: AND MAMMA:
It’d be nice to have a man
A good man
Couldn’t it happen?
Couldn’t it? 
Who ain’t afraid of times
‘Cause there’s hard times.

He ain’t likely to be here

He ain’t likely to be near
It’d be nice to have a man

Who won’t disappear. 
It’d be nice to win the lottery.

It’d be nice to have warm hand. 
Why not me? Why not me?
(to herself) Come to reality.
Still, it’d be nice.

Still, it’d be nice.

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