The thing that turns out to be Harold’s most formidable opponent appears harmless at first – a funny little old lady. In a matter of moments, however, she transforms herself magically into a monstrous evil witch. Harold outwits the witch, finally, by using his purple crayon, drawing a box around her to contain her. As the box grows smaller and smaller, the witch disappears and is transformed into a harmless jack-in-the-box.
The music for this Witch Battle is another item from the trunk – I wrote it as the nightmare that originally ended the first act of Gemini the Musical, where Francis Geminiani is tormented by his friends and family, all dressed as garbage collectors from hell. Are you surprised that idea didn’t make it past the first preview?
I’m struck by how much Harold and the Purple Crayon has with my earlier work, A Is For Anything. Both works rely on a relatively bare stage that can transform in an instant from one locale to another. Both works celebrate the power of the imagination, and in both, the audience is called upon to supply its imagination and see things that aren’t really there. In Harold, though, that idea of imaginative transformation is taken to a further extreme, supported by the technical innovation of the animated scenery. The work is remarkable dense and detailed in its inventiveness. I watched an archival video of the piece while creating these posts, and found myself amazed time and time again by the ingenuity of our collective creation. I’m eager to see it on stage again on April 12 at the Merriam Theater.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that I’ve completed the first draft of the score for the newest Enchantment Theater work, The Brave Little Tailor. It sounds very, very different than Harold: I’ve traded the jazzy chamber music palette of Harold for a more urban sound, using electric guitar, drumset and the musical idioms of rock and funk. You can count on hearing some excerpts from my newest work in the days to come!