Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 Jul, 2015
The Place, 17 Duke’s Road, London WC1H 9PY
LIFE STORIES: Rest in Peace is based on Chekhov’s short story Life in Questions and Exclamations, unusually told entirely through brief utterances, adapted and translated by Tim Benjamin. Sung in English.
LIFE STORIES: Silent Jack is an original short story and libretto by Anthony Peter and Tim Benjamin that loosely draws on the scant known history of highwaywoman and notorious Wicked Lady Lady Katherine Ferrers.
A libretto and complete programme featuring essays, imagery and further background information is available in print and digital form at: http://radiusmusic.org/giftshop.
LIFE STORIES: Rest in Peace
Moscow, 2024. An old man — homeless, sick — wakes and rummages through his meagre possessions, casting out objects that remind him of years gone by.
Nappy packaging: His childhood, an extended family.
A cane: An overbearing father, an ineffectual mother.
Paper bag, dirty mag: As a teenager, the discovery of girls.
Vodka, sherry, beer and champagne: the discovery of booze’s power to numb.
Money becomes a problem.
Health becomes a problem.
Playing cards: gambling becomes a problem.
He loses at cards, he loses his wife, he loses his child, heloses his dignity, he loses his self-‐control.
An old watch: he runs out of time.
There is no interval. Instead, experience time travel, accompanied by J.S. Bach…
LIFE STORIES: Silent Jack
An English estate, 1724. A young woman stumbles, exhausted, into a secret cellar, the faded trappings of past glory decaying all around. Through a haze of pain, self-‐pity and bitterness born of shattered hopes, she relives her life.
The past. Amy lives an easy, comfortable life in a well-‐staffed house. Her father returns from war in France and she meets and falls in love with his dashing comrade, Sir James, whom war has made wealthy.
Amy marries James and life is truly blissful. For her 21st birthday, James presents Amy with a brooch of silver and gold, set with a pearl.
A distant company’s apparently successful business in trading government debt sets off a stock market surge and Sir James tries his hand at investing. The consequences for them both are dire– the crash leaves them financially ruined.
James leaves Amy for one of their servants. Amy, destitute, seizes the initiative and begins a career in highway robbery. She swiftly gains a reputation as the fearsome ‘Silent Jack’, who never speaks, but with a gun, a nod and a bag, relieves victims of the valuables they carry.
The present. Silent Jack has returned from the highway – a final foray, a shocking discovery and calamity
“Strong performances – thrilling – considerable theatrical flair” (The Guardian)
“Shining with energy – vibrant atmosphere – beautifully composed” (A Younger Theatre)
“Refreshing – fluent and well-crafted” (Opera)
“Exquisite – an undoubtedly talented ensemble” (The Upcoming)
Music: Tim Benjamin
Words (Rest in Piece): Anton Chekhov, translated and adapted by Tim Benjamin
Music Director: Antony Brannick
Director: Tim Benjamin
Movement Coach: Bethan Rhys Wiliam
Set & Costume Designer: Amy Westwood
Costume Maker: Alexandra Ware
Lighting Designer: Tom Sutcliffe
Stage Manager: Verity Sturdy
Producer: Jenny Sheldon
Company Mentor: Anthony Peter
Music Director: Antony Brannick
Ezdeyev (Rest in Peace): James Fisher
Amy Beddoes (Silent Jack): Taylor Wilson
Flutes: Lynda Robertson
Percussion: Chris Brannick
Fortepiano: Simon Passmore
Violin: Charlotte Dowding
Cello: Alistair Howes
Radius was founded in 2006, specialising in contemporary classical chamber music. With a reputation for outstanding musicianship and innovative ideas, the high standard of their performances have been critically acclaimed in national and musical press. Since their debut at London’s Wigmore Hall, they have appeared at numerous venues, at festivals and on tour, and have given the first performance of many new works. Today, Radius specialises in the production of contemporary opera and music-‐theatre, having given the world première of no fewer than nine such works. www.radiusmusic.org
Tim Benjamin is best known as a composer of opera, including the critically acclaimed Madame X (2014) and Emily (2013), along with music for film, TV and concert hall. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Radius. www.timbenjamin.com
James Fisher (bass) studied at UCL and the RNCM, funded by D’Oyly Carte and John Connell awards, and was a member of ENO’s OperaWorks. Engagements include Schwarz (The Hallé, Sir Mark Elder), Pistol (Iford), Seneca (Rydale), Sarastro (Opera Venture Tour) and Antinoo, Bottom, Kromov and Barabashkin (RNCM). Plans include: Basilio (Mananan).
Taylor Wilson (mezzo-‐soprano) has studied voice, opera studies and modern languages. She manages a busy career on both international operatic and concert platforms and is also a champion of new music (often written specifically for her voice). Taylor has featured on several albums, film soundtracks and acted in short films.