Thursday, September 17, 2009

The play.

A beautifully brainy love letter to the transformative power of love and music, Jordan Harrison’s Doris to Darlene is a soulfully crafted trio of love stories that follows the transpositions of one timeless song across three quite dissonant decades. In the candy-colored 1960s, biracial schoolgirl DORIS is molded into pop star Darlene by a whiz-kid record producer (VIC WATTS) who culls a top-ten hit out of Richard Wagner's "Liebestod.” Rewind, then, to the candy-colored 1860s, where RICHARD WAGNER is writing the melody that will become Darlene's hit song…thanks in no small part to the ardent patronage of LUDWIG II. Fast-forward, finally, to the not-so-candy-colored present, where a YOUNG MAN obsesses over Darlene's music to make sense of the confusing world in which he exists. To the tune of the “Liebestod,” we observe as sweet-natured Doris falls in love with ambitious Vic, fragile Ludwig pines for aloof Wagner, and the naïve Young Man yearns for his jaded music appreciate teacher, MR. CAMPANI. Just as Wagner’s opus dictates, though, love (liebe) cannot exist without death (tod), and, as relationships crumble, the song converts the young lovers’ dreams into disaster, erotically unleashing pain, turmoil and longing across the centuries. In the end, time and music travel backward until the transcendent melody is safely lodged out of the world, undreamed of and unsung.


”Doris to Darlene: A Cautionary Valentine is a quirky and enjoyable love letter to music and its seductive power to make us lose ourselves…Harrison's language is by turns so punchy, poetic and observant.” NY Daily News

“Mr. Harrison’s play has an affectionate, music-loving heart.” New York Times

“Doris to Darlene has much going for it: Harrison’s intelligence, originality and passion.” Time Out New York

“Harrison’s teasing, rapturous chamber opera of a play spins and crackles like a beloved old 78 under a bamboo needle...Doris to Darlene is that rare thing: a rarefied theatrical experiment that has the glow of pure entertainment and the warmth of a folktale.” Newsday

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