mono-opera / mono-drama for singer / actor
and chamber ensemble by Michael Schelle
Concept, Story, Text, Music and Stage Design by Michael Schelle
Text(s): by Michael Schelle (and brief excerpts of various Capone correspondences)
Commissioned by ArtsFest 2015 : Outlaws and Outsiders
World Premiere Production personnel:
AL CAPONE : Steven Stolen
Kevy Bailey, clarinet, Jay Young, bass clarinet
Heidi Radtke, tenor sax, Catherine Bringerud, piano
Jon Crabiel, percussion and electronics
Davis Brooks, violin, Kurt Fowler, cello
Vu Nguyen, orchestra conductor
Laura Glover, lighting designer
William Fisher, production director
World Premiere Production : 16 April 2015
Schrott Center for the Performing Arts
Jordan College of the Arts / Butler University
Indianapolis, IN USA
THE END OF AL CAPONE
held its own between two landmark works by Peter Maxwell Davies,
"Eight Songs for a Mad King" (1969) and "Miss Donnithorne's Maggot" (1974)."
Jay Harvey, Upstage complete review here
Set / Lighting design: claustrophobic / cheap hotel room - a large bed,
and three large pieces of furniture: (ex. dresser, bedside
table, wash stand, etc.) … Props include
1930’s table lamp, large cigars, cigar boxes, an old beat up suitcase, violin (tommygun!) case, a gangster hat, many shoes /
slippers, chewing gum. Lighting is dim and
dingy, but through the ‘window’ is a
flashing neon sign from the illegal booze bar / strip club ‘across the street'
... adding to the stress, tension and paranoia, the sign (or abstract image of the sign) flashes
/ pulses throughout the piece (even during the curtain calls) and after everyone has left the set after applause.
Disoriented, he lacks mental and physical coordination - he skips abruptly from subject to unrelated subject, babbling and mumbling as he stumbles and chatters. Physical manifestations of his disease include tremors, twitches, ticks, epilepsy - like seizures, an ‘awkward gait’, slurred (to virtually unintelligible) speech and violent explosive temper tantrums.
Rather than roots in traditional opera and music theatre, THE END OF AL CAPONE is far more influenced by the surreal, dada, abstract and expressionistic works of Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, Tristan Tzara, Luigi Pirandello, August Strindberg, Alfred Jarre, John Cage, Luciano Berio, Peter Maxwell Davies, Fritz Lang, etc.
Steven Stolen (Al Capone), near the end of THE END OF AL CAPONE (rehearsal)
Natalia Jarosiewicz, technical director