The Moon Is Electric

I started working on the idea of this small-scale project in January 2015, with my first visit to Bern to interview Richard Haynes, one of the project’s clarinet players. Interviews with Bas Wiegers, Nora Mulder, Koen Kaptijn, Miriam Overlach and Anna voor de Wind followed that year. The next round of meetings involved playing around with the instruments to find sounds both me and the musicians liked. Later on I collected all this material, read carefully the interviews, listened thoroughly to the recordings and came up with a few suggestions on how to move on, preparing for the third round of meetings with the musicians.

Meanwhile, together with Andriana Minou, a London based author and musician, we went over the texts of her newly written and unpublished book Dream-mine, and found a text that fitted my idea for the kind of piece I wanted to create. First of all, there should be five characters, meaning five solos which can each be performed alone or simultaneously together in any combination (duet, trio, quartet, quintet). Every performance of this piece can be just one of the solos or an array of their combinations. For the premiere we planned to present all the solos, a duet, a trio and the tutti version. Even more, I thought that every character can as well be multiplied; this is what I’m doing with the clarinet part, having both Anna and Richard play it as a sort of twins.

A narrator, a woman in a bathtub, an electric moon, a stalker and a passer-by are stuck in a situation that doesn’t lead anywhere. In every performance the musicians have to reinvent the way to unfold the drama.

The moon is electric. The girl takes her clothes off preparing to get in the bathtub with the electric moon. Her skin, soft and transparent, rubs against the moon’s sharp edges a little, as she’s trying to make herself comfortable. Just a tiny scratch on her thigh, it’s nothing. She floats in the water, rests her head on the tiles and shuts her eyes. The moon’s cable is fitted with a plug and the plug is hanging out of the bathtub. Someone’s watching, hiding behind the Byōbu. He’s staring at the parts of her skin that momentarily emerge from the water, deliciously ephemeral limbs. He’s watching the switched-off-electric-moontaking-a-bath-with-her. He’s watching the hanging plug and cable. He’s watching her shut eyes and peaceful mouth. He’s watching her languid arm. He’s watching the scratch on her thigh. He’s watching the water as it’s slowly cooling down. He’s watching the hanging plug and cable. He’s watching and licking, he’s licking his lips, licking his tears.  

The rehearsals before the premiere were frantic, just three tutti rehearsals and a couple of hours with each of the performers to work on their solos (the clarinet-twins always together). I did not write any score down. Only notes of ideas, sound samples, a printed graphic overview of my draft montage on Ableton Live. The process is scary, but I’ve missed having this stress. The performance, which we all co-create, puts together techniques and approaches found in both contemporary and improvised music, alongside some taste of music theatre. I feel lucky working with such musicians; they all are versatile and curious performers. A high addition to the team is Roelof Pothuis, who joined the project to take care of the performance’s light and set in a low-budget-style. Many thanks to Hugo Herrera Tobón for the great flyer (post’s featured photo).

Thanasis Deligiannis, composition and stage direction
Andriana Minou, text
Bas Wiegers, conducting
Nora Mulder, piano
Koen Kaptijn, trombone
Miriam Overlach, harp
Anna voor de Wind, Richard Haynes, clarinet
Roelof Pothuis, set and light design
Hugo Herrera Tobón, graphic design

9/4 Splendor 21:00, Amsterdam
23/4 Galerie Marzee 16:00, Nijmegen
24/4 Private house concert 20:30, Amsterdam Noord
11/6 De Ruimte 16:00, Amsterdam Noord
28/6 Zaal100 21:00, Amsterdam
29/6 Splendor 21:00 Cocktail edition, Amsterdam

 

This project is made possible with the support of the Performing Arts Fund NL and the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.

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About Thanasis Deligiannis

Composer/Performer/Coordinator