MUSIC FROM STREET ANGEL DIARIES
MARY LOU NEWMARK, CREATOR
As an architect of sound, I build sonic structures from street noise, poetry, instrumental motives, birds, clocks, electronic instruments, out of tune autoharps, pot lids and pans - virtually anything I can bring into my studio and play or record from my environment. I use effects processing to alter or emphasize certain qualities of the sound and then record it into my Pro Tools System. For me, technology must serve expression; otherwise it is just a cool toy. I begin anew with every composition, rarely using the same materials twice. Exploring the gray areas between words, their inherent musical quality, context, meaning and pure music gives me the opportunity to bring my poetry and music into a tight symbiotic relationship. I enjoy blurring the lines that divide the different arts without each losing their own respective integrity.
Last year I had the opportunity to bring three years of work to fruition in a full theatrical production of my multimedia work about the homeless, “Street Angel Diaries.” I was plunged into the unknown world of professional theater, participating as creator, writer, collaborator and performer. I had a wonderful team of professionals helping me realize my vision, and I was involved in nearly all aspects of the production. It was the most intense creative experience of my life. The following essay is from the program notes of the production.
“Street Angel Diaries” is not a play, nor is it a musical. It is New Music Theater, a Theater of the Soul. The words, music, visual art and dance/movement play equally important roles. Each separate element intertwines with and augments the power of the other elements - sometimes as support, sometimes as foreground, sometimes as independent, but simultaneous tracks. The aggregate produces a collage of life which illuminates for the audience:
The Melody of personality
The Rhythm of Space
in the context of Time suspended, extended beyond the clock
into a Polyphony of music, visual art, poetry and dance.
“Street Angel Diaries” looks at homelessness from the perspective of the lives of homeless people themselves. The stories you are about to experience are first hand accounts from current or formerly homeless people. There is an epidemic of homelessness – a homelessness of the spirit that seems pervasive in contemporary life. We have more ways to communicate than ever, yet disconnection and interrupted discourse is the norm. Maybe the homeless are a flesh and blood symbol of our society’s sense of isolation, broken-ness. The disconnection we hide is made manifest in their existence. They are the parts of ourselves we can’t face. We don’t want to look at them because we might see ourselves – we are not so different from them. We are a lot closer to falling apart than we are willing to admit. Creating this work has moved me in ways I never imagined, and I have met many beautiful souls in the process. Like the path of the people who wander the landscape, come with me – take a journey of the heart.
“Street Angel Diaries” was produced by Zebulon Projects and premiered on December 7, 2006 at the Boston Court Main Stage in Pasadena, California. Please visit www.streetangeldiaries.com for video, images and text from the original production.
The music of this CD is not a recreation of the show, but a suite of pieces from the production, as well as new works created from the soundscapes used during the performances.
Cover Painting by Robert M. Fisher.