REDCAT NOW FESTIVAL: the Who, the What, and the Word Zoophilia

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Sibyl O'Malley

When Daniel Corral approached me to write a libretto for a puppet opera based on the Daedalus myths, I had only a passing familiarity with the stories. I knew there were failed wings made of wax and feathers; I knew of the Minotaur and the maze; but to tell the truth, the story had never interested me much. Still, I said an immediate yes.

While the material didn’t make my heart flutter, Daniel and the team he assembled make me swoon.  I’d worked with Daniel on my first full-length musical Oh My Tiger. I love his ambitious, genre-bending compositions and am a big fan of his work with the (hugely talented) band, Timur and the Dime Museum. Caitlin Lainoff, who is Daniel’s partner in the Tandem production company, and Dan Rae Wilson, known for their otherworldly inventions, would be designing the visual score (scenic elements, puppets and movement) for the show.  I’d happily write an opera about a box of thumbtacks for any of these people. But it wasn’t just that I admired their art; there was also the matter of the baby shower.

Labyrinth with Minotaur

Co-hosting a baby shower is potentially much harder than collaborating on an experimental puppet opera. If you co-host a baby shower with people and don’t end up with a resentment toward any of them, you have discovered some very good people. I had thrown such an event with Daniel and Caitlin and found them creative, generous and hard working. So, I knew that our production meetings would be fun, that grommeting 100 square feet of fabric enjoyable and that creative difference could be worked out without histrionics. As a writer for a highly collaborative art form, who I make work with has become as important as what we make.

Queen

That said, it’s still critical to find a way to engage the “what.” The first thing that delighted me in these myths was the love story between queen and horned animal.  While I haven’t experienced that particular pleasure, I am drawn to characters who have done something unforgivable.  My writing often explores the things we humans do because of the impractically sized hope in our hearts.  Stories like this seem especially compelling at a time when public discourse is comprised of a morality (or at least rhetoric) that is short on compassion.  In the best of these tales, people’s hearts lead them to do epically stupid or outlandish things.  When you are really lucky, the stories include a type of awkward sex described by terrific words like zoophilia.

Then there was Daedalus himself, the unappreciated inventor and hero of the story. He gets called in to engineer the Queen’s unusual love affair and, quite rightly complains about this misuse of his creative talents (ah, the plight of artists). But, in the end he suffers from equally impractical hopes. As a playwright, I am well-versed in the desire to make something impossible possible, and I am glad to share this effort with such a bold group of collaborators. In his vision for the adaptation, Daniel has invited us to engage not only the daring aspects of the myth, but also those of making a show.  We relish the comedy involved, and also pause to consider the transcendent power of hopes so large.

Click here to view the “Zoophilic Follies” libretto.

Music by Daniel Corral; Libretto by Sibyl O’Malley

Design and Direction by Caitlin Lainoff and Dan Rae Wilson

Performed by Timur and the Dime Museum with some very special guests

Singers: Timur Bekbosunov, Dorian Wood, Abby Travis, Maesa Rae

Puppeteers: Nicole Emmons, Miriam Jones, Catherine Strecker

Daniel Corral and Caitlin Lainoff are Tandem

***All production photos by Dan Rae Wilson

Zoophilic Follies is presented in Week Three of REDCAT’s 8th Annual New Original Works Festival, September 8-24 with performances Thursday through Saturdays at 8:30 pm.

WEEK TWO | September 15-17

Robert Cucuzza: Cattywampus, Rosanna Gamson/World Wide: Layla Means Night

WEEK THREE | September 22-24

Tandem & Timur and the Dime Museum: Zoophilic Follies, Michel Kouakou/Daara Dance: Sack, Victoria Marks: Medium Big Inefficient Considerably Imbalanced Dance

SINGLE TICKETS: $18 general, $14 students; FESTIVAL PASSES: $36 for all 3 programs

FOR TICKETS & INFO: Visit: www.redcat.org, call 213 237-2800 or drop by the REDCAT box office

LOCATION: REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater), 631 West 2nd Street, LA.

Sibyl O’Malley is a Los-Angeles based playwright. Humor, visual poetry and spectacle are hallmarks of her work. She looks for opportunities to write plays for specific places and people or occasions. Recent credits include: Ten Seconds in the Water (East LA Rep), Yes is a long time (Bootleg Theater), Lear’s Wild Rose (Betalevel), Alice and the Majestic Guts (Toy Theater Festival/ Walt Disney Concert Hall), Full Tilt Float (REDCAT, Plaza de la Raza), Oh My Tiger (Highways) and Stall (Celebration Theatre). O’Malley won a merit scholarship to CalArts, a MacDowell Residence, the Altvator Fellowship with Cornerstone Theater Company and has been commissioned by the Community Arts Partnership and Center Theatre Group. She is the communications director for the California Alliance for Arts Education

Sibyl O'Malley

Sibyl O'Malley