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The Man Outside
Music by Brendon Cassidy
Based on the Play by Wolfgang Borchert
Adapted and Translated by Richard Cassidy

April 2004 - University of Pittsburgh
Directed by Michael Cassidy
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Finally completed for this production, The Man Outside underwent significant revision and re-conceptualization from its workshop form. Michael Cassidy (the composer's brother) presented a ambitious and stirring vision of the piece inspired in part by the work of contemporary Japanese theater companies such as Ku'Nauka. The actor playing Beckmann was accompanied on stage by a troupe of dancers/puppeteers. All other characters were represented by puppets ranging from small, handheld creations to ten-foot tall monstrosities. The vocalists (who provided the sung voices for the puppets) were separated from the action and placed at the back of the stage on a raised platform. Three large distressed screens were used for the projection of shadow puppetry that spanned the entire production, rising to positions of prominence at key moments. Lighting also played a key role as Michael used a solitary beam of light to represent "the Other."

Alienation and disassociation were major themes of the production. Michael balked convention and alienated the puppets from puppeteers and, further, the voices of the puppets from the action altogether. The production was performed in three-quarter round with the floor-action taking place below the audience. Musical accompaniment was provided by a pre-recorded underscore for reasons of space and budget.

February 1998 - Modular Theater - California Institute of the Arts
Workshop Production

In its initial form, The Man Outside was less an opera and more blending of music and theater. While many full-composed sections and melodies remain in the piece's current form, much has changed. In this incarnation, the work was more forgiving about time and was more integrated with the ebb and flow of traditional theater. It relied on aleatoric techniques to relate pre-recorded sonic worlds (generated electronically) with the drama. A continuum of singing and speaking persisted on stage, with the Beckmann character on one side and the Elbe on the other (fully sung operatically).

Cassidy conceived, composed and directed the work while studying with Stephen "Lucky" Mosko and Morton Subotnick at California Institute of the Arts. Its style was a continuation of theater work that Cassidy had been involved with around Southern California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana for the mid and latter-half of the nineties. Moving music beyond traditional underscore and integrating it more fully with the dramatic proceedings was the fundamental goal of his theater work during this period.

©2006 by bpcmusic