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  • Writer's picture New Music-Theatre

gun & powder

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

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New works of theater take a great deal of focus, and, when there is music integrated, we need to work together, it seems to me, to unpack the creators’ and interpreters’ intentions. gun & powder is just such a work. Luckily, I got to see it twice with our Live & About friends, and still I have questions. Won’t you help me by responding and help keep the conversation going -- just one or two, you don’t need to answer them all, but weigh in on something that intrigued or stumped you. Remember, there are no wrong answers as most of these questions ask for your interpretation. The last question is evaluative and is meant to take us out of the play to evaluate our own times.

Interpretive Questions about Intentions:

· - The first thing we see across the wide and shallow upstage (back of stage) at Signature is a pink curtain made up of 3-dimensional cheesecloth. How does this set function to tell you the story?

· - When the creators of the musical (writer of book and lyrics Angelica Chéri and composer Ross Baum) settled on the story of Chéri’s ancestors, what do you think they had in mind for us to understand about their creation of a chorus of eight? And how did they the chorus add to the musical?

· - According to their story, why do Martha and Mary have such different responses and goals for their lives?

· - In the scene at the train station, what do you make of Martha deciding not to go to New York with Elijah, but leaving him money without speaking to him?

· - What do you make of the final song, “In the blood,” and what is its message?

Evaluative Question:

· - Baum’s score and therefore the singing styles stretch across many music genres and time periods. What did you make of the choices and how did it affect your critical appreciation of the musical?

· - Bi-racial children are much more integrated in our own community, so should Whites or Blacks still accept the premise of “one drop of blood” means you belong to one group?

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