Monday, January 25, 2010

Making music in EL NUMERO UNO

Here's Cathy Nosaty, our brilliant composer, conductor, sound designer and music maker, who featured in Jahworld's post of January 22.

Here's a great quote from Frank Zappa.

"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best."

Zappa was an American composer, electric guitarist, record producer, and film director who died in 1993 at the age of fifty three. A versatile self-taught composer and perfomer, he wrote rock, jazz, electronic, and classical works. He penned the lyrics to all his songs and was an iconoclast who frequently used humour to criticize the status quo.

As a person for whom words are life and livelihood, this capitulating to music isn't easy, but there's a certain inexorability about Zappa's logic. I'm not entirely sure how songs found their way into EL NUMERO UNO, nor what prompted me to think I could write both lyrics and music for Uno's signature tune. But willy-nilly the songs came and melodies insinuated themselves, some traditional, some that would need to be written for the purpose. The play that has emerged would not be what it is without them.

Watching and listening to Cathy work with the cast of EL NUMERO UNO to make the music happen is riveting. She weaves instruments and voices, separately and together, lays bedtracks, discovers sound trails, conjures with these elements – because it is conjuring, it is magic, this thing that cements words and actions, marries players and audience and moves them into an other space, beyond conflict and contention, that is at once full of sound and joyfully quiet.

Music is indeed the best and Cathy is indeed a consummate music maker.

6 comments: said...

Pam, what an exciting project!
Congratulations, again, my friend.

Rethabile said...

Great. And I must say that Zappa isn't wrong.

clarabella said...

Hi Geoff: First, thanks so much for hanging up the interviews! You are a prime candidate for wings. And yes, it's exciting, but not so much in a thump-thump-my-heart way. The talent and commitment of actors, director, dramaturg, sound designer, set and costume designer, lighting designer, stage management – the entire creative and production teams led by artistic director Allen MacInnes is overwhelming. Says she who try her best not to tell no lie! No fuss, no fights, no pique, just work and work and work... That is really breathtaking. I give thanks. 1luv, pam

clarabella said...

Rethabile: You whom I owe so many thanks and responses. I am very caught up in this project, visits to rehearsals (which the director generously permits), rewrites (all pretty small, but still) the promo, and so on. Still, I got as far as finding out that some evil thing called Boxbe had hijacked over a hundred of my e-mails, one or two of which were very important. I pried them out, though I haven't got myself out of Boxbe's clutches yet. Indeed I read on someone's blog that it's impossible. We'll see. As ever, thanks for the support. And yes, Zappa's got a good argument. Must be why there's all that singing in heaven. Worship beyond words! P&L pam

Rethabile said...

Dear Pam,
Being caught up in El Numero Uno can only mean that it is that good. I hope you enjoy the whole experience greatly.

You mention e-mail troubles. My last one to you had an attachment. I wonder if I should send it again.

All the best.

clarabella said...

Hi Rethabile: EL NUMERO UNO has been a great experience, and an education in how contemporary theatre works. Thanks for the reminder about my malfunctioning, misanthropic e-mail. (Search 'boxbe' and you'll see what's giving so much trouble!) I'll look in all the possible places to see whether I've had something from you. Have a good week! pam