THEIR THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN
Michael Roth seems to draw on a variety of mildly crazed precursors; his piece sounds like something Hunter S. Thompson might have experienced after taking mescaline. Or, maybe, it’s the equivalent of jazz bassist Slam Stewart meeting William S. Burroughs.
THEIR THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN,
my chamber opera, libretto derived from
Burroughs-style cut-ups, for two singers,
six dancers, string quartet, and piano,
Two women, singing in a language of their own invention,
arrive in an interesting town inhabited by dancers.
They seek their places in the community,
make new acquaintances, tell stories, reminisce,
dream, and dispense advice.
Finally, after a time,
they settle down there themselves.
SYNOPSIS and NOTES:
1. In Fourteen Hundred Ninety You
(Took Him to the River)
2. Seeking a Woman to Bird Dream Car
3. Arthur Awoke to the Present Day
4. Their Thought and Back Again
6. Do the Dance of Television/Zero (finale)
1 - In Fourteen Hundred Ninety You (Took Him To the River)
2 - Seeking a Woman To Bird Dream Car
More info on cut-ups as used by David Bowie HERE, gratias & RIP
3 - Arthur Awoke To the Present Day
4 - Their Thought and Back Again
5 - Interlude
6 - Do the Dance of Television/Zero (the finale)
from AMERICAN THEATRE MAGAZINE:
BURROUGHS and CUT-UPS:
among other things, redefine and develop syntax in
his novels. He believed in and developed his
technique as much as John Cage believed in and
developed the use of chance in his music. Both of
these techniques have influenced me, certainly in
THEIR THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN.
By chance (as it were), in 1988 I was music director
BROADWAY. I coached and directed, among others,
Tony Azito, Anita Morris, and especially Madonna
Howard gave me a copy of his great documentary
BURROUGHS (1983) as a gift - the first film about
Burroughs, and Burroughs made a cameo as a butler
in BLOODHOUNDS, too. I thought of Burroughs and
Howard when John Malashock and I developed THEIR
THOUGHT AND BACK AGAIN. Looking for a method to
write a libretto that could work abstractly, re-defining
syntax and context, akin to music and dance, cut-ups
were an ideal and in some cases, beautiful solution.
As Burroughs says, "Every particle of this universe
contains the whole of the universe - well, you yourself
have the whole of the universe, I cut you up in a certain
way, I cut up the universe. If you have a prerecorded
universe, the only thing that is not pre-recorded are the
pre-recordings themselves, so with my cut-ups I was
attempting to tamper with the basic pre-recordings,
and I think I have succeeded, to a certain extent."
Here's Burroughs, below, with Allan Ginsburg, on a New
York roof top, alluding to Wittgenstein - a short
clip from and for Howard Brookner (1954-1989) - a gentle, generous, and talented soul who passed away before BLOODHOUNDS was finished - RIP.
Original cut-up for SEEKING A WOMAN TO BIRD DREAM CAR