August 25, 2004

The Wall, pt 1

As any regular or casual visitor has noticed, my usual prolific, and doggone sparkling, posting has been reduced to a trickle in the past week.
It's not that I haven't wanted to post -- or actively looked for subjects to write about. It's that, for the past two weeks straight, I've had Pink Floyd's The Wall running through my head... all day every day.

Why? I've been working up a stageplay, and I think I may be into something good.
My cousin has theater connections (just as I did back in college, 20 years ago...), and this might be something that we can do!

Mind you, this is pretty much all that's occupied my waking hours for the past week or so, but I'd still like to know if my ideas are any good.

It involves actors and musicians, of course, but also some films throughout -- played against the white structure of a wall made of large-laundry-bin-sized bricks.
It omits a few of the songs from the album, but includes a few tracks from the follow-up album The Final Cut, and one earlier song, "If", from the early Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother (interesting title, that).

So, without further ado, I present my musings for a stageplay of The Wall:


The house lights go down and the room is black. A piano pounds the first chords of "The Gunner's Dream" (from The Final Cut) in the darkness and we hear a disembodied voice:

The burning in my heart
smolders on and on
with the Gunner's dying words
on the intercom

A film plays of black-and-white footage of vintage aircraft dogfights culminating in a plane's-eye-view of a crash into a green field as the lyric sings:

Floating down, through the clouds, memories come rushing up to meet me now. Between the spaces of the heavens, and the corner of some foreign field, I had a dream.

A uniformed man (perhaps representing Pink's father) stands in a spotllight while the images look like memories. The continuing darkness of the set is meant to show that the play has started yet it hasn't yet started. This is what we're REALLY gonna talk about even though you don't know it yet....

The song continues:

Good-bye Max, goodbye Ma,
After the service when you're walking slowly o the car
and the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
you'll hear the tolling bell,
shine the silk of your lapel,

and as the teardrops rise to meet the comfort of the band
take her frail hand

Images of everyone whose everyone who spoke out for freedom will flash before the audience's eyes, from JFK and MLK and Jefferson and Reagan and Washington and Lincoln and FDR and everyone else across the board.
We're still in minimalist mode, and we then relax into the final verse (the dream):

A place to stay, enough to eat, somewhere old heroes shuffles safely down the street where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears and what's more, no one ever disappears, you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door

You can relax on both sides of the tracks
and maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control.
And everyone has recourse to the Law
and no one kills the children anymore.

The image I have in mind for this moment is one that Misha has displayed a few times, of an injured two-year-old, or so, surrounded by willfull but helpless protectors. (Sorry, no link to the photo.)

The song continues intensely:

Night after night, swimmin' 'round and 'round my brain
this dream is driving me insane......

The disembodied voice returns:
In the corner of some foreign field the Gunner sleeps tonight.
What's done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene...
Believe in the dream.

After that quiet moment the play begins with the strong chords of the album's welcome. There's a lot to work with here, and maybe, just maybe, this might make for some interesting posting.

Lord knows nothing else, recently, has made for interesting posting lately.

Side note: My only "problem" with The Wall was that it always seemed kinda self-consciously cryptic. Almost as if the frickin' point of it all was less important than hiding the frickin' point of it all. I want to make the album show it's true glory, even if it's author didn't fully understand his moment of glory. Or how he reached it. Or how he tried to hide it. Or something.

Part 2 of the virtual stage-show will happen tomorrow. Grab some popcorn; this might be good!

Posted by Tuning Spork at August 25, 2004 12:17 AM
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