OCTOBER 21, 2020 Postmodern Prometheus

“…disembodied voices intoned excerpts from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein …a whole crew of assistants produced sound effects‐‐ the effect was perfect…a real ear‐cleanser..”

‐‐ Kansas City Star

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POSTMODERN PROMETHEUS (after Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein)

for actor, live and prepared video projections, voices, Foley artists, guitar, 8‐channel sound

“Two eyes stared and blinked on big projection screens, and a hand scratched away at the words of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Fore and aft, left and right, disembodied voices intoned excerpts of the book. At the sides a whole crew of assistants produced sound effects with a truckload of props: a creaking gate (real), boots on gravel (ditto), thunder (gravel in a big balloon) and rain (a garden sprinkler emptied into a tub of water). In the darkened Victorian gothic nave of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, the effect was perfect… real ear‐cleanser..”

‐‐Scott Cantrell, Kansas City Star

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein, or a Modern Prometheus” is utilized as the score for this work. Sounds mentioned in the novel are performed by Foley artists/musicians in the sequence they occur in the novel. Voices from the novel and supplementary texts are presented through multichannel sound projection.

An actor performs the role of Captain Walton, whose letters to his sister in England comprise the entire “Frankenstein” novel. Walton’s pen is amplified by a contact microphone as he writes. These three chronologies of information are disembodied from being in time‐sync with each other, then reattached and animated by the performance.

The video projections chronicle the awakening of the creature, the writing of the letters by Captain Walton, and the creature’s self immolation. The church space is transformed into the creature’s body—the alter becomes the head, the audience sits within the body, and the Foley artists/musicians (on each side of the audience) are the creature’s limbs. The activities of the limbs are not documented in the video, but are seen by the audience and heard on the audio tracks presented here in this edited form of the performance.

Disembodied Voices—

Mary Wollstonecraft (Sarah Montague)

Percy Shelly (William Easton)

Mary Shelley (Susie Ersahin)

The Creature (Arnold Young)

Victor Frankenstein (William Dye)

Live Performers—

Captain Walton (Craig Grando)

Foley Artists (Mark Lowry, Patrick Conway, Arnold Young, Marc Deckard)

Guitar (Jim Cottingham)

Soprano (Pamela Bathurst)

The Creature’s Eyes (Tony Allard)

Audio Mixage (Virgil Rhames, Michael Henry, Dwight Frizzell, Ann Suelentrop, Nathan Fox, Willie


Video Mixage (Richard Romanchuk, Rhondda Francis)

Electrician (Marc Deckard)

Sound Design (Dwight Frizzell, Greg Mackender, Mark Steven Brooks)

Sound Production Facilities—

KCUR‐FM, Harvestworks, Inc. (NYC), Kansas City Art Institute and Resounders

Postmodern Prometheus was performed by the newEar contemporary chamber ensemble February 26, 1995 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Kansas City, MO.

This production was made possible by support from the New Music Institute of Kansas City, an artist‐in‐residence grant from Harvestworks, Inc./Studio Pass, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

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