Click on a title below to watch

Resisting Stillness
Music for Witch Dance
In Time's Unfolding
Modern Love Songs
1. What a Coincidence
2. I Wouldn't Know About That
3. Someone New
4. Now You See It, Now You Don't
5. At Any Given Moment
Incitation to Desire (Tango)
Piano Sonata (excerpt)
The Viola Had Suddenly Become a Voice (excerpt)
Baby Song of the Four Winds
The Gift of Life

Tight-Rope (1985)

Music by Chester Biscardi
Libretto by Henry Butler

Full length: 90 minutes

1. "Poet's Aria", Luther Dane (end of Scene I): 11:57, 14:27
2. Duet, Sara, The Actor, Luther Dane (End of Scene III): 35:22, 38:15
3. Trio, Kathryn, Luther Dane, The Actor (end of Scene V): 54:20, 1:01:10
4. Scene IX, The Actor, Luther Dane 1:13:25, end

First performances: University of Wisconsin-Madison
School of Music and Department of Theatre and Drama
Carol Rennebohm Theater, Music Hall
5-26 October 1985
Videotaped by WHA-TV, Public Television

Luther Dane: John Reardon, baritone
The Actor: Marcus Haddock, tenor
Sara: Susan Powell, soprano
Kathryn: Adria Firestone, mezzo-soprano
The Interviewer: Mimmi Fulmer, soprano
Luther's Manager: Ilona Kombrink, soprano
Critic # 1: John Webber, tenor
Critic # 2: Samuel Jones, bass
Willie: David Hottman, bass-baritone

Music Director, Karlos Moser; Stage Director, Del Lewis; Scenic Designer, John Ezell; Lighting Designer, James Gage; Costume Designer, Karen Brown-Larimore; Stage Manager, Jean do Pico

The Story
The legend of Luther Dane, poet and cult hero, enhanced by his mysterious disappearance and presumed death, is now the subject of a film biography. On the first day of shooting, work is disrupted when the actor portraying Dane angrily insists that his lines could not be the words of the man whose life and poetry he so admires.

Left alone to sort out his feelings, the Actor is suddenly face-to-face with Luther Dane, very much alive, an unsuspected witness to the filming. Intrigued by the Actor's concern for integrity in his portrayal, the poet offers to piece together the not so well known story of his life and "death."

Through Dane's memories and actual encounters, the Actor experiences the poet's explosive career, the women and men (a brash interviewer; his seductive manager; Sara, his first love; Kathryn, a mature love; two critics - one nonsensical, the other serious; and Willie, an alcoholic) who shaped his life, and his powerful influence when he spoke to his dedicated followers. Most important, the Actor learns the truth about Dane's escape from an unbearable public image.

When the poet abruptly takes leave of him, the Actor begins to find the words and images he must use if he is to portray with honesty the life of Luther Dane . . .

Time: The present.

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