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In November 2009 I was contact by director Rachel Perlmeter about collaborating on an upcoming production of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade. It’s a fascinating play about the Marquis de Sade, Jean-Paul Marat, and the French Revolution, with a fair dose of historical ideas of madness as well. Wikipedia sums it up pretty well: “a bloody and unrelenting depiction of human struggle and suffering which asks whether true revolution comes from changing society or changing oneself.”

The music is a tricky thing. It was written without a score, but with sections of the script labeled “song”. Lots of them – about 30 songs in all. Since the 1960s, the common score to use was Richard Peaslee’s. Rachel wanted to set her production in the future, with a fresh score. Certain actors are asked to play instruments in the original play. We ended up with a small ensemble in the cast: clarinet, 2 alto saxophones, a flute, and some percussion. We decided to make the majority of the score electronic, to show a more futuristic sense.

I called on my two favorite collaborators to get the job done: Noah Keesecker and Joshua Clausen. We work together from time to time under the moniker Ballet Mech, and it was a logical step to make this a Ballet Mech project.

The show ran from Feb. 26 – March 6 at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). It was a great time, and has me really interested in doing more theater.

Below is a promo video that Noah Keesecker made. It shows some of the intensity of our production, as well as our score.