Fun with Ezra

On New Year’s Eve, after we finished playing our dance band set, Ezra and I shared a moment of blissed-out triumph.

“You know, Summer,” he mused, “I was thinking about my top favorite fun moments, and I realized, you’re in a lot of them.”

“Do you mean your top favorite music fun moments?” asked someone sitting near us.

“Well…they’re kind of all the same thing,” we both answered.

A brief session of “remember when?” then ensued, and I realized that Ezra and I have many more overlapping fun moments.  Therefore I am starting a new “series” of posts (a la my series of posts on good notes left around Twin Oaks) with this one.

It Came From the Dumpster, 2011

Look how awesome the sign is!

Look how awesome the sign is!

Kamikaze Theater, a concept introduced to Twin Oaks by Clementine, has a set of rules and standards we didn’t exactly follow, but our version of it looked like this: whoever wants to be involved, strap on your seatbelt and drink a shitload of coffee. At 8 pm Friday night, everyone gets together at ZK to talk about what’s going to happen. What’s the play about? Who’s going to act in it? Who will write the script? What about costumes and scenery? Decide who’s doing what, then split up and do it.

In preparation, we’d put out a 10 day input box gathering ideas from anyone in the community, and on Friday evening, we decided that anything put into the box would – nay, must – go into the play. Somehow. The script people would make that happen.

At our idea meeting, it was Ezra’s basic plot line that surfaced as the most feasible script to create: some Twin Oakers go dumpster diving and bring home suspect pork that winds up being served at a community meal. Those who eat the pork have psychedelic visions starring whatever ended up being slipped into the input box. In their vision, they discover clues of a Twin Oaks scandal afoot, and must piece together the mystery.

Meanwhile, the audience learns that the newest Twin Oaks member, Mole Rat, is actually working for Hatteras and has joined the community doing covert operations for the rival company. She is to learn to make rope, then break the machines in order to stop Twin Oaks from being able to make hammocks. Unexpectedly, she falls in love with Ethan, the rope manager, and realizes she agrees with his radical ideology.

Just when she’s about to confess and quit working for Hatteras, Mole Rat is found out by the pork visionists. She must write a mailbox letter and plead her case before the CMT/Process Team, or face expulsion at her 6 month poll.

During the initial planning stage, we decided this play would be a musical with an original score, written by (mostly) me and Ezra.  Around midnight, after sufficient procrastination, caffeinated beverages, and ice cream, we got down to it.

Four especially memorable songs were born.  The main theme of the play, sung by Twin Oaks members as they gleefully liberate items from a grocery dumpster, “If It’s Free, It’s For Me,” included the lines “that bag of fish covered in coffee grounds/will taste just fine, when you hose it down./The tub of ice cream was half melted/but you knew it was all right when you smellt it…”

All hail DumpRa!

All hail DumpRa!

As hallucinations commence, those having the bad trip sing of their visions: “the pork was a little bit green, the pork was a little bit green, the pork was a little bit green, I can’t believe what I’ve just seen./The colors swirling round in my head, the colors swirling round in my head, the colors swirling round in my head, I’m trying to understand what DumpRa said!”

Note members dressed in pig masks. Popular garb for this play.

Note dancing members with pig masks

When Mole Rat’s feelings for Ethan start developing, she sings a folksy power ballad: “Falling in love is subversive and pure,/radicals who love should all do it some more./It’s free and it’s practiced by pacifists,/so now that I love you, let’s raise our fists!”

Mole Rat and "Ethan"

Mole Rat and “Ethan”

And for the dramatic moment where Mole Rat’s secret mission has been discovered, Ezra and I decided to write a multi-part, multi-rhythm song featuring a section in 5/4: “Oh community!/Please don’t expel me!/I did what I had to do./Now I leave it up to you!”

A mailbox letter was sung

A mailbox letter was sung

Writing music in the middle of the night for a performance going up the next evening brought me to a state of prolific giddiness.  As in improv comedy, the name of the game was “yes, AND.”  Ezra and I had no time to be super picky or reject each other’s ideas without suggesting something better.  Therefore we quickly figured out what worked, had no qualms about ditching the chaff, and laughed until our eyeballs twitched.