It’s the last Transition from the opera The Boats. So let the pigeons loose! Outrageous French Accents. Yet another explanation of ‘Transitions’. The Crying Indian reference. We need a montage. Team America.
Roger CortonLast time you said we were almost there. So is this really it?
JCHThis is really it, Tonto. Let the pigeons loose.
RCWell Hot Damn! What does ‘Let the pigeons loose’ even mean? You say it a lot.
JCHYa know, I’ve forgotten. I remember it from movies when I was a kid. Like The Three Musketeers. That must’ve been it.
RCThey would send out pigeons to inform everyone that freedom had returned to the land, etc.
RCWell, for future reference, it shows up exactly zero times on Google.
JCHWell, huh. Anyhoo, I’m sure your enthusiasm is because I’ve reached such a milestone in writing this thing and not because you’re sick of all these ‘transitions’.
RCYou’d be wrong, kemosabe.
JCHI’m sick of ’em too. As I’ve said so many times, there’s something truly awful about watching someone compose. And yet people seem to keep wanting to do it. There’s something kinda ‘meta’ in there somewhere.
RCI’m sure there is (snooooooore.) I have to confess, I’ve forgotten how we even got off on this particular tangent of ‘transitions’.
JCHWell, it’s quite simple really, Watson (laughs). Somewhere…
RCAbout four hundred years ago…
JCHDroll. Very droll. Anyhoo, somewhere back there you remarked that you couldn’t hear this thing as ‘opera’ because it just sounded like some ‘songs’. You accused me of being typically pretentious by insisting on calling the arias ‘arias’ and not just ‘songs’. So I explained that one conceit of this whole shebang is that there aren’t separate ‘acts’; there are only separate scenes. And there is music in between each scene which I call a ‘Transition’. While the Transition plays, the actors stay on stage and move the scenery about to get ready for the next scene.
RCIt’s all coming back to me now. Like a terrible dream (laughs).
JCHI think where we went wrong was in doing all of them.
JCHI mean the thing is, as I’ve been working on this monkey, I haven’t really known how many scenes were gonna be in the thing. I kept moving things around–adding transitions, removing transitions. It’s been constantly changing.
RCBut you think this is ‘it’.
JCHI think so. You don’t really know until you see it. What kills me about even the best Broadway shows is how much they change–even after they open. The idea of composing ‘zee great work!’ in pen and then writing FIN! on the last page is a complete joke. Eeet eeeez nehvehr FIN! Evehn wiz zeees outrageous Franch accahnt!
RCRight. So let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, shall we. Talk about this thing.
JCHWell, as you can probably tell, it’s another bit pulled from the Overture.
RCGot it. The lyric is lifted directly from that.
JCHRight. But it’s not the same character.
JCHSee that’s the tough thing about these demos. Since I’m singing all the parts, some of what I consider the best jokes get lost in translation. In the Overture, our Chorus
RCWhich is ‘you’ in real life.
JCHWhich was me in the history of this. But in this Transition, if you listen closely, you’ll hear that the phrases come in threes. It’s each of the brothers singing a line. And then they come together at the end.
RCWhich means -what-?
JCHOh man, THANK YOU. I dunno if yer just humoring me or if yer finally getting into this, but that was exactly the right question to ask.
RCI hate to disappoint you but… (laughs)
JCHRegardless, you made my day, mate. It means that they all recognize that they’re in a pickle. I wanted to have a moment in the show where they all stop, just for a second, and realize how much they’ve taken for granted.
RCWhy? You don’t describe them as being the most self-reflective men in the world.
JCHOh, for sure. I mean that’s the point. They hardly talked,at least to one another, at all. Which you might think is odd considering they worked together for so many years. But I wanted to have one moment where they all realized, like, “Oh shit, we’ve all got the same problem.”
JCHWhich is that they had all, pretty much unilaterally, decided to split. And in doing so, I’m pretty sure they all realized that in doing so they had seriously fucked up.
RCHow do you mean?
JCHThe 90’s was like this transitional…
JCHNo pun intended. Really. It was this transitional time in Ireland. There was this famous picture you’d see everywhere in Ireland of this old guy with the caption in Irish “You’ll never see the like of me again.” It was supposed to show the passing of traditional Ireland. It was huuuuuge.
JCHIt was like… remember that commercial with the crying Indian. You know he sees the pollution and a single tear drops from his eye?
RCAnd here’s another thing that was so huge I can’t find a single reference to it on Google.
JCHWell what can I say. We were unsophisticated village people. But it was just like that. (laughs)
RCFine, but I’m not getting the reference.
JCHThe guys should have talked it out with their wives or girlfriends. Their father didn’t. But they should have. They acted like reflexively. Like things were the way they had always been. Not because they were assholes. But they were smart enough to recognize that they should have.
RCAnd that conflict gets worked out a lot during the show.
JCHYou noticed! (laughs) Right. It’s one of the subplots that runs through the thing.
RCBack to the music, I think this thing sounds more ‘prog-like’. Which has me feeling good about what comes next.
JCHWow. Smooth segue. We’re not really too nostalgic are we? (laughs).
RCSorry. I do like this.
JCHIt’s not that my feelings are hurt. It’s just that I’ve still got so much work left to do on this. Not to mention the fact that I’ve got to find some way to make it pay.
RCGot to have that big harvest, son.
JCHOh yeah. Big harvest. (laughs)
RCSooo… what’s next on the way to that big harvest?
JCHWell, we talked about a montage a while ago. And I think that’s a good idea. So I’m gonna go away for a couple of weeks and put that together.
RCA montage? Like in Team America?
JCHJust like that. No, man. I’m gonna put together a FLAC or MP3 of all the snippets laid out in order. That was your suggestion!
JCHThat’s about an hour of easy listening right there. And I think when it’s all lined up together everyone will finally get a better sense of how it all fits together.
RCSounds like a plan. A very good plan.