- Date: Monday, 14 May 2012, 8pm
- Venue: Provincetown Playhouse (NY) — - 133 Macdougal Street, New York, United States Tickets: This is a free event
In 2008 I bought a copy of Australian children's author and illustrator Shaun Tan's latest series of short stories, Tales from Outer Suburbia. I, like many people, had been a fan of Shaun Tan's work for years. The author from Perth has a real gift for bittersweet storytelling, accompanied by bizarre yet comforting illustrations, and his work has rightfully been lauded as powerful, unique, and universal.
Tales from Outer Suburbia was just as awesome as his previous works, but one work in particular struck a real chord with me. Distant Rain poses a hypothetical situation in which the amateur poems that we all write down but never show anyone find their way out into the world. Unseen, they congolmerate together and form a ball, which grows larger and larger, before eventually taking up into the air and floating above the city. This beautiful tale asks the reader, 'why are we inclined to be embarrassed by our own creativity?', an issue that I think is particularly relevant in Australia, and one that I personally struggled with for many years in my early days as a composer. Anyway, ever since I read this story I've been determined to create a theatrical performance based on its message.
When I first moved to New York in 2010, I decided that this was the time to do it, and planned to adapt Distant Rain into a fifteen-minute choral work. But much like the ball of poetry in the story, the work took on a life of its own, and now, almost two years after I first started work on this project, the piece has developed into an hour-long chamber opera for four voices.
The imagery in Tan's original work is so powerful that it seemed a crime not to extend the work out into a longer piece, and it has certainly been one of the most satisfying projects I've ever worked on. I'm thrilled to announce that on May 14, Distant Rain will have a 'stools and stands' premiere at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York. Even more exciting, the work will be led by the amazing Toby Twining and accompanied by brilliant pianist David Broome. The concert is completely free, and if you're in town, I would love to see you there.
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