Last Monday, 26 September, the first rehearsal week of ‘Chut!’ and ‘Paternel’ started.
Raf De Keninck who takes over the baton for the official premiere of these pieces, the stage director Machteld Timmermans, the piano repetitor Iris De Blaere, the narrator/actress Aylin, the three singers, Laurence Servaes, Annelies Van Hijfte and Inês Madeira, all were very eager to bring to life the pieces on stage.
Philippe Blasband wrote the original play, which I -modified- set to music in 2013.
Only last year followed the prequel ‘Chut!’ based upon an only once performed monologue by the same author.
‘Chut!’ is a very moving piece, reflecting the harsh realities which we all too often witness on our screens. Although I always feel a bit like a drawing-room lion when I conceive a piece based upon real word plights (the word ‘based upon’ always rings somewhat accusingly in my mind and ears, maybe rightly so), I guess ‘Chut!’ gives an honest and totally unspectacular account of what people go through when obliged to leave home and safety and flee towards the dark unknown.
Philippe Blasband’s stroke of genius is that he found a way to let us viscerally feel in his text, that even the ‘only’ act of trying to escape fate, demands of the parents ruses, insight, intelligence, stamina and sometimes hidden empathy for the first victims of these calamities , their children, the latter finding themselves cast innocently and vulnerable in the midst of a hurricane of events, which even for the grown ups is unmanageable.
On October 13th, this short piece of about 15 minutes will be presented as a kind of prequel to Paternel, a dark comedy about three sisters and a nurse. The siblings visit the parental house in order to divide their inheritance. The three sisters have suspicions about the nurse, suspicions which slowly become the main reason why they invited her too. I assure you: it’s an opera AND a comedy, though definitely with real life undercurrents.
There’s now a one week break, and then all the musicians -which means all the musicians of the ensemble- will meet and endeavor the triathlon rush to the finish. I truly hope to see you in De Bijloke Ghent, dear reader. Let me assure you it will be worth your while, because I myself perceive the whole line up as nothing less than a dream cast…
Today (October 1st 2016) starts also what one could call a ‘new’ phase in my life.
From today I officially stop teaching in the School of Arts. And I really want to thank all my what I have to call now ‘former’-students for these many years of never ceasing sharing of creativity and creative impulses. Again and again, I’ve been allowed to witness incredible incipient talent mature in highly infectious expertise. I will miss these young minds.
Times have changed. I really think that being more than 40 years older than the average age of a fresh arrival of students becomes a gap which cannot be straddled only with experience or sheer will. Technology and its new and urgent demands, relentlessly changing esthetic paradigms, like banging shutters of a lone standing house in a violent storm, and the current sometimes extremist attitude toward ‘sound’, ‘pitch’ ‘interval’ and even ‘rhythm’ turned me into a kind of bygone pundit. A well-wishing bygone pundit 🙂
I’ve made my creative choices in the midst of the 80’s. Like every other artist, I felt these choices pointed to the only way music had to go. Like everyone else who gets the chance to live for a while, one starts to experience after a while how one’s own path slowly becomes a narrow trail, sometimes scaling down to something not much more than an overgrown rut in a utterly bewildering landscape. The chattering and screaming of the millions of vociferating creatures surrounding you often threat to drown your own voice.
Yes, there always is one big solace: in art, one never is alone. One can decide to be alone. One can decide to feel like standing on the inner rock of the Spiral Jetty. But even the Spiral Jetty rises in a l a k e. A salty lake. And salt makes all art tasty.