is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Composer and Sound Designer Rob Thomas Brings His Own Style to Caligula (259-2754 reservations)

"For the music to be truly impossible the pianos would have to be in separate places yet somehow still playing together.  This is the sound of wanting the moon." -- Rob Thomas, Composer and Sound Designer for Balagula's Caligula

After observing theatre in our area for the last few years, it seems to me the most fascinating element to a show's success is the artistic collaboration, the diligence, the dedication, the give and take that exists before, during and after the show goes from page to stage.  

Award winning Balagula Theatre's upcoming Caligula is no different, with notable actors, artists, costumers, set designers, stage managers, directors all working together every day to ensure every word, movement, light, costume, and much much more that we don't see all culminate just in time for opening night, when the show's curtain rises and the magic begins.  WIth a top notch cast and crew with whom to work and Natasha Williams at the directorial helm, Balagula audiences are certain to enjoy a thought provoking and insightful work and be thoroughly entertained for the evening. 

Serving in his fifth role as Balagula's Composer and Sound Designer, Rob Thomas tells me why he had to consider the piano as the lone voice crying in the chaos of Caligula.  "The music for Caligula is conceptually based on Caligula's stated desire to possess the moon, or the 'impossible.'  I chose the piano as the play's sole voice because of the image in my head of a solitary figure at the keys, trying to work some meaning with his little notes into the absurd nature of life.  Here's the catch:  Caligula would want impossible piano music as his own. "

 He could easily demand twenty piano players to play twenty pianos at once for him anytime he pleases, but this would just be the merely possible for an Emperor.  For the music to be truly impossible, the pianos would have to be in separate places yet somehow still playing together.  This is the sound of wanting the moon ... but even achieving this musical impossibility brings problems for Caligula, and the impossible pianos, while impossibly playing together from different places, mock him by refusing to be in tune with each other, or by moving around in their own spaces and constantly changing positions against his will.  It's a fun irony for me to compose, perform, and record this 'impossible' music on modern machinery that makes it all very possible."
Rob Thomas, Greg Jones and Ed Desiato
( the holy trinity of theatrical mischief  and merriment :)

Thomas is also pleased  to be collaborating on this presentation with an esteemed virtuoso who studies nearby.  "With this production I'm honored to have an intern from Transylvania University, Joseph Perkins, working with me as co-composer.  Joseph is contributing music for the intermission.  Of all the Lexington theatre groups Joseph could have chosen for his internship he chose Balagula.  I take his choice very seriously."

A native of Louisville, Rob went to Youth Performing Arts School (trombone and piano), studied Music Theory and Composition at Morehead.  He then "toured with George Tomes as music director for three years, discovered I didn't like touring, began writing and recording with anyone who wanted to make music just for the sake of making music, worked at Melody Hill Studio as Staff Engineer, moved around the country a bit, all the time still writing and recording, landed in Lexington in 2005 and finally found my true calling doing music and sound design for theatre and the occasional indie film."


When: June 3-6, 10-13
Price: $15 ($10 Students)
Where: Balagula Theatre / Natasha's Bistro & Bar / 112 Esplanade, Lexington KY 40507

Reservations: 859-259-2754 or online

Dinner / Show: 6pm-7pm
Show Only: 8pm

The last in the Balagula’s Season 2011-12, “Caligula” by Albert Camus is the theatre’s return to the theme of “Existential and Absurd”. Though factually accurate and intellectually challenging, “Caligula”, according to Camus’ persistent denial, is neither a historical drama , nor a philosophical play. Rather it is a “Myth of the Absurd”.

In the play Caligula, a “perfect” ruler, suffers a tragic loss that causes his “insanity”- a lucid insight into the absurdity of life: “ The truth is that men die, and they are not happy.” Ordinary people discover Caligula’s truth all the time. Camus creates a world -- a myth -- in which ordinary people can imagine what might happen if they confronted the absurdity of life but rebelled against it from a position of absolute power. In Camus’ own words :” For the dramatist the passion for the impossible is just as valid a subject for study as avarice or adultery. Showing it in all its frenzy, illustrating the havoc it wreaks, bringing out its failure -- such was my intention.”

Community Partnerships:
June 4th - Hosted by and Benefiting ???
June 5th - Hosted by and Benefiting TUSKA HOUSE
June 6th - Hosted by and Benefiting BOOMSLANG

Directed by: Natasha Williams
Ryan Case - Caligula
Laurie Genet-Preston - Caesonia
Randy Hall - Helicon
Tim Hull - Scipio
Robert Parks Johnson - Cherea
Sydney Shaw - Patrician
Jerry Moody - Mereia
Edmund Desiato - Octavius
Ronald Shull - Cassius
Art Herman - Lucius
Daniel Morgan - Intendant

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