Tag Archives: Realities

Nightmare at the Edge, From Realities (Day 171)

Today’s post is short and sweet after the previous post, which seems epic, and brings this sequence from Realities to a close. To hear how the show ends, follow this link to listen to This World, the ballad that closes the show and reconciles Alex and Anna.

Cybil: Take a look at the bottom line.
We can do without Alex Inman.
Want results from your R and D?
Then give those B.L. bucks to me!

Darlene, Victor, Arnold: Your idea has real possibilities!
Real possibilities!

Miles: I set a bad example,
A black man on the make
And here is just a sample
Of what I’m going to take
Gonna take your car…

Cybil: We can take his code…

Miles: Gonna take your cash…

Cybil: We can take his concept…

Miles: Gonna take your woman!

Darlene, Victor, Arnold: Think of what it means to the bottom line!

Miles: I know you think I tricked him
But I am not a crook
He’s always been a victim
Just waiting to be took.

He thinks that he’s a hero
Because of what he’s done
But Alex is a zero
And Miles is still the one!

Edgers: One, one, zero, zero (etc.)

Arnold: One million in seed money.

Cybil: (upping the ante) One point one.

Anna: What have I gotten myself into?
What have I gotten myself into?

Hard Drive, From Realities (Day 170)

An ambitious quartet scene for the climax of Act II. The stage diretions describe a split stage, with Anna and Miles on one side, Alex at his computer with Alice on the other. The music is a reprise of “We’re Never Gonna Make It” and “Double Yellow Line” in the first section, followed by a heroic new theme for Alex, “I Have To Stand.” I love this composition, and have tried to rescue it from the trunk on several occasions; there’s even a couple of phrases of it that can be heard in the music for The Brave Little Tailor. The emotions in this music are keyed to the idea of “fac[ing] the thing I fear,” as the principal character faces a crisis of courage.

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Double Yellow Line, From Realities (Day 169)

Miles Rushmore returns to the stage of The Cutting Edge to perform this song, singing and strutting his bad self while Anna dances and Alex acts as a kind of VR DJ. It’s the debut of Body, Mind and Soul, the collaboration that was dreamed up at the end of Act I, and a group of entertainment industry executives has come to check out the show. 

Miles’s braggadocio is a little cartoonish, but there’s something enviable about his freedom from fear. So many of us – me included – are constrained by fear, and this song is an anthem of fearlessness. Forrest McClendon certainly goes all in on this one, cranking up the attitude to 11; he’s charismatic and a little bit repulsive all at once, evincing a very complex reaction. Hooray for ambivalence!

It’s funny to think about how the technology of virtual reality, which seemed so far-out when Steve and I wrote about in 1994, has quietly continued to develop. Twenty years later, it’s not exactly mainstream yet, but there’s plenty of buzz about the Oculus Rift and how VR is likely tro transform the entertainment industry. What do you think – was Realities ahead of its time? Is the world ready yet for a stage musical about a VR pioneer?

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Fuzzy Logic, from Realities (Day 167)

This is the song that got playwright Steve Hochman and me invited to a conference of artificial intelligence specialists – one of the more surreal experiences I’ve had! I love the concept of “fuzzy logic,” and it seemed especially delightful to have a computer sing about its dangers. And a chorus of dancing microchips? Like something out of Alwin Nikolais? It would be to die for! Claudia Carlsson delivers the goods on this one.

Alice: At your request I’ve studied her
And analyzed her circuits,
But though I’ve done the work, it’s
Hard to say.

I can’t construct a model
Of a system in disorder.
My data banks record her
In this way:

What is this woman?
A mass of contradictions
And inconsistent fictions
No reason, no rhyme
What is this woman?
A binary malfunction
A crazy chip
Both flop and flip
At the very same time

Sometimes she’s tender
She’s sweet and sentimental
Caring, warm and gentle
All feathers and fluff
She wants to surrender
She wants a man to guide her
But someone else inside her
Just wants to play rough!

She wants control
She wants to command
She wants to have the upper hand
She wants to be independent
Wild and free
Trust me, Alex
I know that she wants it all
She wants it now
She wants to be yin and yang somehow
By turns, she is
Fire and ice
Soft and hard
Careful, Alex
Don’t drop your guard

Fuzzy logic
Spreads like a virus through your system,
Corrupting your data,
It wrecks you in ways you can’t explain.
Fuzzy logic
Will leave you incapable of reason
Once you let a woman
Hack into your brain.

Chorus of Micro-chips: Inside any woman
There are two people.
They’re hard to figure, hard to please
A range of changing polarities

Inside any woman
There are two people
Conflicting signals and mixed desires
Scrambled circuits and tangled wires.

Alice: Who needs a woman?
You want a virtual creation,
A perfect fabrication,
The most sublime of things.

I’ll be your woman,
Your fantasy’s projection
Without the imperfection
That fuzzy logic brings.

Fuzzy logic
Spreads like a virus through your system
Corrupting your data
It wrecks you in ways you can’t explain
Fuzzy logic
Will leave you incapable of reason
Once you let a woman
Hack into your brain!