Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Friday, 7 November 2014
Sunday, 13 July 2014
Introducing Wake Not The Dead and the Rock Opera Orchestra.
What is Wake Not The Dead
Let start at.....well...at the start.
Ok. I know that was not very original. Rule number one in writing songs is to never use cliches, and that was a shocking cliche.
The one thing we can however promise you, is that Wake Not The Dead is not a cliche. It promise to be something very different from what you have ever seen or heard.
Wake Not The Dead is a new and exciting rock opera with book by Anne Lombard and music and lyrics by Eric Swardt. Based on Johann Tiek's story, this tale of horror, bravery and love that never die, will take you on a journey through a fantasy world of dark cemeteries, castles, and medieval towns to be remembered for many years.
The rock opera tells the story of Dominic (Michael Shane Brownhill), a baron who wakes Brunhilda (Anne Lombard), his childhood lover, from the grave with the assistance of Batista (Tedd Croukamp), a wandering sorcerer, while back home, Swanhilda (also played by Anne Lombard), his wife and mother of his children is trying to keep things sane.
In the next few weeks we will keep you up to date with all the news you want to know about Wake Not The Dead.
The Rock Opera Orchestra
More importantly, we will tell you all about the people who are bringing Wake Not The Dead to life.
(Was that pun a bit better?)
You are most likely receiving this newsletter because you know somebody who are in the Rock Opera Orchestra, or maybe you are in the orchestra yourself. Whichever, in the newsletters over the next weeks we will tell you all about these wonderful people.
In short, the Rock Opera Orchestra is exactly what the name implies. It is the orchestra who will perform our rock opera. The members are:
Michael Shane Brownhill - singer
Tedd Croucamp - singer
Anne Lombard - singer
Gideon Meintjies - drummer
Andre Liebenberg - bass guitar
Nathan Lowe - keyboards
Werner Benade - guitars
Gideon Jones - guitars
When and where?
Ah. This is the important question.
Everybody wants to know when and where they can come and see the Rock Opera Orchestra performing.
Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and twitter to make sure you do not miss us.
What we can tell you at this stage is that the Rock Opera Orchestra are rehearsing in all earnest and are almost ready to go out and play. We are also in process of recording a concept album. We are talking weeks - not months.
Make sure you are the first to know when and where we will perform and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Even more important, please forward this email to your friends, mothers, family and foes. In fact, please forward it to anybody you think might be interested. Ask them - no insist - to join us.
Keep in touch and we promise you a time of fun and love.
Are you signed up for our email list?
Do not miss the news!
Sunday, 3 November 2013
And the body hurts.
Protea Stage Production's production of Aladdin and his magic lantern had a very successful run of total 11 shows. After the last show we had the traditional after show party. I got home at three O'clock in the morning and got up again at seven to be back at the hall for the strike. For those who don't know, 'strike' in theatre has nothing to do with no-work-no-pay. It means hard work for no pay. It is when the set is broken down and taken back to the warehouse for storage.
I love offering my skills for theatre. Hard labor is not one of my skills. Unfortunately, it is something that must be done. It does not matter how many hours of sleep we had.
Enough about my pain. We had a great review in the local paper. The reviews from the judges are in. I have a copy of only one of the reviews, and will therefore only talk about this one. I will only comment about the parts where I had a role to play. For the rest, it is sufficient to say that the judge review was great. He loved the show. Now we will wait for Februarry '14 to see if we get any nominations for the annual SANCTA awards. Hold thumbs please!!
Even though I was involved with a lot of areas, let me start to talk about the parts of the review that talks about the music. That is where I played the greatest part (pun intended). Although many of the songs get mentions, it is more in the context of the acting and choreography. Not often that the music get any mention at all, so I will saviour the mentions we did get.
In short, he loved the music, especially, the African songs that opened act 1 and act 2. Woot!
He commented about Storm's performance as Aladdin and offer the opinion that she got the role more for her beautifull singing voice than her acting ability. I agree with him that Storm has a beautifull voice and sings really well in this show. She had some opera training and it paid off. I do not think that her acting abilities lacked at all. I see absolutely no problem with giving some importance to singing abilities when casting roles. I have suffered through many musicals where actors who can not sing two notes got a role because of their superior acting ability (Les Mis, the movie being a good example). Me, being a musician / songwriter myself might be a bit biased.
Shannon's vocal skills in the role of the pink genie also got a deserved mention. In this case her acting ability matched.
Ok, here is the most important part in the whole review. "The band was superb. The musical directors and musicians need a huge pat on the back. Any play with live music is better than a recording and I felt that this particular musical ensemble was definitely an asset." Thank you Mr Judge. I accept and agree with every word.
Later on: "The songs were brilliant choices and ones that the audience enjoyed singing along to." Thank you! The songs were Cameron's choice, and the sing-a-long was co-written by Cam and myself. It had every single audience member on their feet clapping and singing in every single show.
Ok. It is not much out of 5 pages of review, but I am happy with getting any mentions at all!
Once again, congratulations to Cameron for writing and directing this masterpiece.
Next time I will look at the other aspect where I was involved, including the social media marketing campaign.
Friday, 25 October 2013
Our current production is very special. I have never before met so many people who are so special. Sometimes I feel like I just do not belong in the precence of these exceptional people. The least I can hope for is that I will be able to learn a little bit from them and just a tiny bit of the genius would rub off.
The show was written and directed by Cameron Lawry. I am honored to be able to say that I worked with Cameron. When he approached Protea with the proposal to stage his show, not everybody believed he could pull it off, but Protea was willing to giving him the chance. Hooray to Protea for being so brave to give such a young man the chance. Cameron not only pulled it off. He pulled it off big time. He did not only show Protea he can do it. He showed the world that he can do it. I am sure that we will see him go on and reach great hights.
It was so great to witness the support that Cam got from his parents. Debby and Neville had to make many sacrifices to support their son over the six months period. I am so glad that it all paid off in the end. The team of Cam, Debby and Neville can really be proud of what they achieved.
Musical theatre is by far the most collaborative form of art that I know of. It is impossible to make the magic happen on your own. You need to be able to make many work together and you need many more to support you to make it happen. When it all comes together the magic of theatre happens.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
The LA rock opera company virtually copies that definition: a work of rock music that presents a dramatic story told over multiple songs in the traditional manner of opera.
free dictionary defines it as albums of rock music that aspired to the status of art; first appeared in the 1960s. Are we not blessed that we do not have to rely on dictionaries any more!
Here are just some of my observations.
Looking at videos of rock operas online, it becomes clear that the format of rock opera is fairly open ended. Some rock operas have impressive backdrops and sets. Others have none at all. Some rock operas have impressive choreography. Others have none. While many rock operas are close to musical theatre with actors acting and the band hidden in the pit (e.g. Jesus Christ Superstar), in some rock operas, the band forms an intergral part of the show (e.g. Tommy, The wall).
The one common aspect of rock opera is that all the songs together makes up a central theme or story, and usually must be performed in a specific order. There are some rock operas out there where the songs are more closely related to the directors favorites playlist, but I would place those rather in the category of juke box musicals. Most successful rock operas consist of songs written specifically for the show.
Friday, 11 October 2013
The Exile is a musical in 2 acts, with book by Edward Swardt and music and lyrics by Eric Swardt. The story starts on freedom day celebrations, ten years after the first democratic election in South Africa, when Tyler, a young man who grew up without a father, learns from his mother that his father went into exile and dedicated his life to the liberation of the country. When Tyler observes how his mother's is friend misbehaves, Tyler decides to search for his father and bring him back.
The exile can be performed by 8 actors. The lead roles are
- Tyler, a young man looking for his father
- Melissa, Tyler's friend
- Pamela, Tyler's mother
- Hugo, Tyler's father who went into exile
The supporting roles are
- Anthony, Pamela's friend
- Cathy, Hugo's friend
- Neil, Hugo's friend
- Manual, Hugo's friend
The cast of The exile can further be extended to include extra roles for a young Hugo and a young Pamela. The actors can double roles to perform in the chorus line, or a seperate chorus can include anything from 4 to 10 characters. All roles are for adult actors.
The music can ideally be performed by a 6 piece band with drums, bass, 2 guitars, piano and keyboards, but depending on the available budget, the keyboard parts can be performed by a larger orchestra, including up to 24+ String (Violins, Violas, Celi), 3 winds (Oboe, flute, clarinets) and 4 brass (Trumpets, trombones)