Hugh Levick - Composer, writer, producer
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WRITINGS
- Bang For The Buck - An opera in 2 acts by Hugh Levick
- The Trial Of William Blake - A Screenplay by Hugh levick
- The Between - Sketch/Synopsis for a short film by Hugh levick
- The Man Who Disappeared - An opera in 3 acts based on AMERICA by Franz Kafka
- Marking Time - An angel's story
BANG FOR THE BUCK - An opera in 2 acts - Short Synopsis

Act I:

Double D Network's CEO, DICK DUNN, and the Board of Directors—HEFFREN,
HELEN AND HORST—are stoked by a sensational news event that's sending their
ratings through the roof: it's not simply that a young woman has been raped and murdered
while running through Washington Gardens, but the perps have sent a tape of the crime to
Double D!!

However, SARA DUNN, wife of Dick and Double D's star anchorwoman, having
interviewed the bereaved mother of the murdered girl, has been shaken by the experience
and is not as excited by the rape/murder as her colleagues.
A black teenager( LEONARD) meets an elderly woman and helps her up to her
apartment with a heavy load of groceries. The woman is Mrs. BYMAN, the mother of the
murdered girl.

Sara tries to talk to Dick. She wants to find the man she fell in love with, the man who is
now hidden behind an armor of power. Sara wants to tell her husband that she is
pregnant, but she's scared that Dick doesn't want a child. She broaches the subject.
Children will be for later, Dick explains. First, the planetary embrace of his airwaves has
to create a world worthy of having a child brought into it... Sara keeps the pregnancy to
herself.

Sara does, however, confide in Dick's older brother, Julian. Sara is skeptical when Julian
tries to reassure her that Dick will be happy with the prospect of fatherhood. In fact,
neither of them quite believes it. But now, to spread oil on the media fires, Sara has to go
interview a shrink about the rape/murder…

Julian gets into a head to head shouting match with his brother, Dick:

Dick is a power junkie! Julian's a loser! Dick's triumphs are a fortress that can't keep out
the pain! Julian's quirky music is the bleak sound of his own weakness!

Pushed to the limits of his defenses, Julian finally blurts out that Sara is pregnant and
scared to tell her husband!

Suddenly the Board rushes into the executive offices: SARA HAS BEEN
KIDNAPPED!!

End of the first act.

Act II:

Now Sara is gone.

Dick begins to understand how stubborn, foolish and hard he had been towards her. She
had sought the soft, tenderness of the man with whom she had fallen in love. He had
called her sentimental and frivolous.

Dick accepts and heeds his brother, JULIAN's, entreaties for calm and a measured
response…. But fear for Sara, rage, and his ego drill open the wounds… and DICK can
no longer sustain the effort.

Violently he pushes away JULIAN's offer of love and seeing.

Dick's personal friend, the president of the United States, and the FBI, have been trying
to help, so far to no avail.

Dick goes on TV: 2 million big ones for anybody offering info that leads to Sara's
rescue!!

Mrs. Byman tries to help Leonard with his English. Leonard tries to teach Mrs. Byman
some eubonics.

The Board of Directors—Horst, Helen and Heffren--sit Dick down in front of the TV
monitor: it's airing internationally and it's a tape of Sara, captive,. .a hostage.

Convinced that his wife is in grave danger, and deciding that the president and the FBI
are incompetents, Dick vows to track Sara down all by himself.

Leonard, losing it, confesses to Mrs. Byman that he was the one shooting the video as her
daughter was raped and murdered. Mrs. Byman collapses..

Dick encounters FBI Agent, FREELING: "In exchange for 2 million and the price of
some land near Santa Clara, I'll open a drawer in my Bureau-made brain, and tell you
where, you can find Sara."

Dick accepts Freeling's offer.

He finds Sara and discovers: it was his Board of Directors who 'produced' the kidnapping
and, indirectly, the rape/murder of Elizabeth Byman. For RATINGS…

But now that his heart has been opened and Sara is safe, Dick is even ready to forgive his
monstrous partners.

Dick imagines what life with the child and Sara can be.

Sara witnesses Dick's transformation. Now he actually wants the child! For Sara this
understanding is bittersweet. There will be children, she explains to Dick, but not now:
during her captivity she lost the child she was carrying.

After a shocked response of denial, Dick allows himself to be calmed by Sara.

He relents. He accepts the 'what is' of the situation, and he appears to be ready to embark
on a different way of living.

But suddenly Dick pulls a .38, turns on the Board, and kills all three of them.
In turn the FBI opens fire on Dick…. BANG! BANG! BANG!

Trying to get him out of harm’s way Sara takes the first bullet. Then Dick is hit.

As Sara holds him dying, Dick's only comfort is that he wanted the child. Unaware that
Sara too has been shot, Dick reassures her that he now wanted the child who would have
come from her womb.

Sara cradles and caresses her husband. Dick dies.

Sara dies.

Minutes later Freeling emotes. She had signed a deal to take over Double D and would
have liked Sara to be part of the new team!

"No hard feelings/No reprobation/I saw our future/As fruitful collaboration."

THE END

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The Trial Of William Blake - A screenplay by Hugh Levick
Genre: Period Thriller

Logline: This movie bears witness to Blake's pursuit of truth and beauty overcoming injustice, fear and oppression.

Year 1800.

Down on his luck and realizing himself a target of the repressive government, Blake accepts an offer for employment in Sussex. Squire William Hayley, a down-at-the-heels poetaster, hires Blake to do printing for Hayley's biographical endeavors.

British Prime Minister, William Pitt, the Younger, for fear of the American and French Revolutions leaking into England, is suppressing dissidence all over the land. Persecutions, limiting of civil liberties, censored press, and a manipulative, propaganda machine, are in force to keep people patriotic by ratcheting up the threat of a French invasion. (Not unlike the Bush foreign/domestic policies.)

All Blake wants to do is to write the poem, which will become THE FOUR ZOAS. But Hayley, blind to how jealous he is of his 'servant's ´talent, is on Blake's case all the time about illustrating meaningless drivel.

At the same time Blake's wife, Catherine, is doubly terrified: one that her husband's renewed creativity will, by alienating Hayley, ruin them even further financially; two, that her husband's renewed creativity will send him into the arms of another woman, as it did ten years earlier when he was writing THE MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL and screwing Mary Wollstonecraft.

Then there is John Milton, who, dead for over 100 years, keeps visiting Blake with injunctions to ignore all but his vocation as visionary poet.

In 1803 Blake gets into a shoving match with a soldier billeted in Felpham. The soldier brings Blake to trial on charges of treason. The judge, Lord Richmond, hoping to be reinstated in the House of Lords, wants to offer Blake's head on a platter to Pitt.

A jury of the people resists tampering and threats to acquit Blake, who returns to London where he will write his great poem, MILTON.

The 1803 trial brackets the screenplay, which flashes back to the stories which begin in 1800 in London.

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The Between - Sketch/Synopsis for a short film by Hugh Levick:
Scene 1

London

Very modest law office of David Burgess

David Burgess, tall, thin, in his early 50’s, is on the phone with the Immigration Department of the Home Office. He is contesting an injunction ordering the deportation of a Sikh client, KS Chahal.

Burgess has the call on speaker phone as he multi-tasks so we hear the deference with which he is being treated by the official in the Immigration Ministry. What we get is that—despite the modest surroundings in which he works-- Burgess is a very important, respected and even intimidating barrister.

While Burgess is on hold, we see an open and worn copy of the Tibetan Book of the Dead on his desk. Burgess takes a moment to peruse it.

CU of one passage.

VO of the passage from the book:

Hey. Now when the reality of the Between dawns upon me I will let go of the hallucination of instinctive terror, Enter the recognition of all objects as my mind’s own visions, And understand them as the pattern of perception in the between.

The official returns to the phone line. Burgess’ challenge has been vindicated. The injunction for deportation of KS Chahal, recognized as an error, has been rescinded.

Scene 2

A Restaurant

A couple is dining.

Sonia and Brian are enjoying the wine, the meal and each other. They are in a heated discussion about the veracity of the latest news bite that seals and cats – the proof is in the whiskers -- are distant relatives of one another. Reveling in the absurdity of each other’s (and their own) arguments, a wonderful gaiety reigns.

In the middle of all this there are exchanges between Sonia and Brian which indicate that each of them feels the other to be a very special—or, to put it another way, they are saying to themselves, ‘I am in love’.

(We in no way recognize Sonia as David, but with the camera—e.g., a shot of her hands or wrists—we might plant an unconscious suspicion that this is not exactly a GG (gender girl.) There could also be a shot of Sonia catching herself as she instinctively heads for the loo marked GENTS.)

Scene 3

Sonia’s apartment

Brian puts down his glass of wine.

He can’t drink and at the same time show Sonia yoga poses, which are good for the back: Pelvic Tilt, Standing Forward Bend.

When Brian lays down to show Sonia a simple back stretching exercise that requires the knees pulled to the chest, Sonia abandons her wine glass and lies down next to him to exercise some amorous fondling.

Sonia: You know what would really be good for my back.

Brian (they’ve been here before): Yes, I know.

Sonia (saying it nonetheless): If you were here more often.

Scene 4

The Bedroom

Candles are lit. The music is in the mood. Brian and Sonia are in bed in the initial stages…The phone rings. It is 1 AM!.

Despite his protests, Sonia rolls out of Brian’s embrace and picks up the phone on the night table. Sonia listens to the caller.

She puts down the phone, excuses herself to Brian, gets out of bed, puts on a pink silk robe, goes into the living room for a cordless, comes back into the bedroom to hang up the phone and, closing the bedroom door, returns to the living room.

Brian looks after her, flops onto his back staring at the ceiling. After a moment he picks up a book on the night table, the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It opens to a dog-eared page. A passage has been underlined. Brian reads it.

CU of passage:

Hey. Now when the reality of the Between dawns upon me I will let go of the hallucination of instinctive terror, Enter the recognition of all objects as my mind’s own visions, And understand them as the pattern of perception in the between.

Scene 5

The Living Room

Sonia is on the telephone. Her voice has descended a minor third.

Once (s)he has recognized the caller as David’s client, Karamjit, (s)he won’t let him get a word in edgewise. (S)he cuts him off, reiterating to Karamjit that—AS (S)HE TOLD HIM ALMOST 12 HOURS EARLIER-- the injunction for deportation has been rescinded. There was no need to call at 1 AM.

Sonia is insistent, (s)he’ll call him first thing in the morning. (S)he’s sorry, but there is no need for this. (S)he hangs up.

Scene 6

The Bedroom

Sonia, laughing, comes back to bed. Brian: What was that all about.

Sonia tenderly puts her finger on Brian’s lips. “Please, like in the fairy tale, Brian, when the Princess begs the Prince not to ask all the questions, saying it will be a happy ending so long as he doesn’t ask.”

With a simple nod of the head, Brian accepts her not wanting him to know about the phone call.

But talk about spoiling the atmosphere, Brian says, what about this-- Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Sonia says the philosophy is all right, but what she’s really interested in are the fashions. She thinks the capes, cloaks and shawls that the priests and demons wear could really catch on if they were properly merchandised.

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The Man Who Disappeared
An opera in 3 acts based on AMERICA by Franz Kafka
Adaptation and music by Hugh Levick
THE MAN WHO DISAPPEARED THEME - OUTLINE & SYNOPSIS:

ACT I

Possibly Karl does not regret being thrown out of the house; for it represents a way of escaping from a situation which is secure but stifling. Karl should be cocky, self-assured here. Right and ready. He collaborates in the seduction.

Music: 'authority theme'-menace and power; 'submission in the face of authority'-timidity, hesitation; 'sex theme'-virility, loss of control, escape; 'authority theme' & 'expulsion theme'

I.1

Defending the Stoker, Karl is defending himself against the injustice done to him by his parents. K. can make a good case for the stoker (himself); he is coming to the aid of a weaker man, but the stoker messes up his defense through the runaway emotions that make him incoherent. The Stoker is an image of what Karl will be reduced to by the end of the novel-- afraid of authority and the Last Judgment this represents?….Jacob comes from the outside and saves K. Or so the others wish to view it. Karl can be seen at this time as up to any challenge. Uncle is the reterritorialization of Karl.

Music:'submission in the face of authority'-timidity, hesitation; 'authority theme'-menace and power; 'stoker theme'; courageous,confident confrontation of power; karl's power; salvation . "A movement without end, a restlessness transmitted from the restless element to helpless human beings and their work".

I.2

Karl is the prince, the heir apparent. His story begins with the fulfilled American dream.The rigidity of the daily schedule Jacob has imposed on his nephew moves Karl to accept Pollunder's –who sees Karl as a good catch for his princess--invitation; it offers a refreshing escape. This can be seen as Prince Karl's 'coming out '; he's displaying his accomplishments in front of Pollunder and Green.

Music: Nervous. Excitement & bustle. Power Theme (uncle);guilt (karl); popular american music

I.3

This is supposed to be the betrothal occasion, but King Jacob—never having wholeheartedly embraced taking Karl under his wing—uses Karl's departure with Pollunder as an excuse to kick his nephew out in the street. Pollunder's is a nightmare: the spooky house; the girl-animal Clara (Karl is scared of sex). He asks to return to Jacob's, but Green hits him with a double deterritorialization: he must leave Pollunders and his uncle has banished him as well.

Music: humiliation by green, pollunder and clara; physical fight with clara;loss of his new-found home;sex with clara; guilt vis a vis Jacob; expulsion: popular american music

ACT II

II.1

Karl begins his American adventure at the point zero, which Jacob had saved him from earlier on. Seeking solace in the image of his parents after being kicked out with nothing but his belongings…Nothing could be further from the parental home than the 2 small-time scammers, Delamarche & Robinson. They perform a reterritorialzation at the same time as they tear him from the contemplation of long lost home. They are going to secure him even while they lead him into a vagabond (deterritorialized) way of life.

Music: loss of parents and family, loss of suit; humiliation and betrayal as D&R sell his suit; karl's innocence, trust and good will

II.2

In the hotel Karl can't get to the food; there is a wall being put up between him and sustenance. This endangers his survival; it also scares him that his new companions will take his having come back empty-handed as a betrayal of his word to them. Karl believes in the symbolic order of the mother: loyalty, honesty,, defense of the underdog. Thus, when the manageress saves his life by feeding him, and offers to take him in (sexually as well as materially). Karl politely refuses her offer to –through loyalty—respect the territorialization he has established with R & D.

Music: popular american music; first choral piece: humiliated by power (the brutal power of numbers); salvation by the manageress(mother); guilt keeps karl from accepting her offer straight off; karl's innocence as inability to read reality.

II.3

R&D have gone through his suitcase, have violated his possessions (him), Now they turn on him; now they’ll do to him what they did to his belongings. They charge him with having territorialized at the hotel, leaving them out, climbing the social ladder without them—the very thing Karl refused to do out of obligation to them. As sure as Jacob saved him in the first scene, now the waiter, sent by the manageress, saves Karl from a beating. But now, instead of good riddance to bad rubbish, Karl is in desperate need of R&D: the photo, the one and only photo, of his parents –his past, roots, identity—is gone. Karl will forgive them, will give them everything else in his possession if only they will return the photo of his parents…But they don't have it. For Karl all that has been truly lost.

Music: humiliated by the violation of his belongings; R& D threaten him with their sheer physical power; salvation comes from the manageress(mother) via the waiter.

II.4

Karl reaches the zenith of his aspirations for happiness. The manageress introduces him to Therese with whom love seems possible. Karl is reterritorialized, and basking in this security he hears Therese's story, a story of her mother's wretched poverty and death that could have been his own. As Karl's defending of the Stoker is a defense of himself vis a vis his parents, so Therese's mother's story is the fate Karl was fortunate enough to escape.

Music: theme of salvation by love; sex; popular American music underlines the romance; violent contrast erupts with the story of therese's mother's suicide, the loss seen through the eyes of the little girl;

II.5

The movement/non-movement of the lift, the vertical circle, stagnant and safe is attacked by Karl's past. Robinson, arriving drunk at the hotel, drives Karl from safety into a new wilderness. Frantically trying to stay in the territory, he manages to get a spittoon under Robinson's vomit. He then puts Robinson in his bed in the bunkroom, further eroding his own identity.

Music: Robinson's return is humiliation renewed, the cocking of the trigger of injustice, the opening power awaits; actual intentions can be obfuscated through ill-will ; any action he takes condemns him to guilt for breaking the rules.

II.6

Karl is tried and found guilty. His defender (the manageress) abandons him. Only Therese, (holding on to the last shreds of Karl's identity) weeps as she watches. Alone with Karl, the Head Porter hugs him to him under the pretext of searching for stolen goods in Karl's possession. Losing his coat, Karl escapes, but the only way free is to accept the aid of another enemy, Robinson, who pulls Karl into a cab that speeds them away.

Music: power, physical and bureaucratic crush karl; the manageress does not fight for his salvation; love without power—therese—is helpless; guilt and humiliation; the loss of identity—his papers and his coat; flight to escape a fate worse than mere expulsion.

II.7

Trying to save the hotel from association with him, Karl flees rather than answer the policeman's questions. As Robinson (enemy) saved him from the Head Porter, now Delamarche (enemy) saves Karl from the cop. The deterritorialization from the hotel becomes reterritorialization with R&D who, it appears, are slaves and servants of Brunelda.

Music: humiliation at the hands of R & D and the policeman; the loss of his papers makes him suspect; flight to escape the cop; bitter irony that he is 'saved' by Delamarche who wants him as a slave for Brunelda.

ACT III

III.1

Seeming at first not to want him, Brunelda soon accepts Karl as a servant who's been brought to her by Delamarche. Karl , exhausted, without will, collapses on the pile of curtains, only to be awakened by Brunelda hysterically ranting for some salvation from her discomfort. The heat! She must be naked! D. kicks Karl and Robinson onto the balcony.

Music: brunelda simply calls him 'a stranger' ; her aria invokes her desire for delamarche; humiliation; through fatigue and loss Karl has been reduced to nothing.

III.2

Karl learns that he is to lose his identity as a free man. Brunelda & D come on the balcony to watch the political rally below—a kind of democracy-among-the-apes spectacle. With her more than ample body Brunelda has Karl pressed against the balcony railing. Sex as imprisonment and abuse. Karl, nonetheless, is fascinated by what he sees going on below in the street. As soon as he can—as if inspired by the grotesque spectacle of 'free elections'—Karl tries to escape through the kitchen entrance. But Karl can't break the lock quickly enough—obstacles to flight abound—and Delamarche, catching him, beats him unconscious.

Music: Slavery, imprisonment, loss of karl's identity through subjugation to the power of a master; political parody of democracy revolves around power & Humiliation; brunelda humiliates karl through her sexually suggestive gestures; karl is overwhelmed by delamarche's superior strength

III.

The student enthuses over the security of territorialization; deterritorialization can lead to perdition since there are no jobs out there. Karl's imagination becomes his line of flight as he speculates on his eventual apotheosis into an office manager in one of the businesses on the street. Canetti on AMERIKA: "The harshness of life in the new country is compensated for by its greater social mobility. The person humiliated is always filled with lively expectation; every fall can be followed by a miracle which raises a person up again."

Music: The student studies with no end in sight, and this is his salvation; even as a prisoner karl is better off than on the street where there are no jobs; Karl fantasizes his success, his becoming powerful.

III.4

a-karl sees the ad for the nature theatre of Oklahoma on a poster Brunelda, Delamarche & Robinson lift the sleeping figure of Karl and carry him into the street. They exit, and Karl awakens looking at the Nature Theatre call for applicants.

III.5 b-at the recruitment center karl meets fanny.

The trumpets are blaring. This is the entrance to the theme park. Karl reunites with Fanny, fantastically appearing from a nowhere so profound she hasn't even been a character in the novel. It's almost as if the NTOO has materialized her to make appiclant/customer, Karl, feel at home. Fanny calls Karl under her skirt, a proposition Karl can never resist. Desire is the creator of lines of flight.

III.6 c-karl, without papers, gets through the staff manager & the bureau chief

Staff manager is the head priest. He wants Karl to believe, and he wants him in the "Church".Everyone is welcome (as long as they believe, as long as they have money, they can be part of the show. The GTOO depends on its 'customers'. "Nobody cares about being an artist, but everyone wants to be paid"—this is our Ethos , just like it's yours. We understand. You're in the right place." Karl doesn't have his identity papers, but he wanted to be an engineer so it's OK. No problem. Bureau Chief, an apprentice priest, tells him he can go the next step to membership. All the time he is being inducted people are attending to Karl. Bringing him water. Pulling up chairs for him. He's treated like an important customer.

d-bureau clerk goes above the bureau head to engage karl under the name, 'negro'.

Here's where Karl meets the reign of the Modest and the Just. The bureau clerk (Christ) overrules the bureau chief (the 'Emperor') and accepts Karl into the community of the believers (consumers). They transport Karl to a modest throne amidst a semicircle of other modest thrones (where newly recruited members have been seated).

e-karl is interviewed by the 10th squad leader

The 10th squad leader approaches Karl as a petitioner, a counselor. Karl modestly responds to the leader's questions. The leader reassures 'Prince Karl' that he will find his way, as actor or engineer. Once he's arrived in Oklahoma "The Promised Land", all will be peace and light (death).

f-karl joins the banquet, but before he can eat, the recruits are hurried off to the train

Food, a great feast , is brought to the newly-accepted recruits, each seated on his/her modest throne. Piping hot platters of delicious victuals and goblets of wine. But before they can dig in, an attendant rushes up to announce that they have no time to eat, the train is leaving for Oklahoma. They must go at once or be left behind. The recruits complain that they have to fetch their belongings. Nothing to be done. There is no time for that. New belongings will be found in Oklahoma. Karl and the others are dragged from their 'thrones' and herded towards the train.

CODA -Karl rides through the vast , cold american west in a train on his way to the great theatre of Oklahoma

Loss, humiliation, guilt, expulsion and flight all come together in Karl as he sits in the train, carried by forces beyond his control, towards what can oly be unknown.

The end

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Marking Time - An Angel's Story
Choreography & Dance—Choreographer

Conception—Hugh Levick & Choreographer

Music—Hugh Levick

  • 1 dancer
  • 1 violinist
  • 1 cellist
  • electronics

For an idiosyncratic and highly personal choreography and the singular musical imagination of Hugh Levick, a polyphonic, contrapuntal drama for darkness, light, sound and movement: MARKING TIME.

MARKING TIME is built around Angelus Novus, a watercolor by Paul Klee which Walter Benjamin bought from his friend in 1920. Benjamin kept the painting with him for most of the remaining twenty years of his life.

Angelus Novus

Angelus Novus

SOURCES

- An angel seems about to move away from something he stares at.[5] His eyes are wide, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how the angel of history must look. His face is turned toward the past. Where a chain of events appears before us, he sees one single catastrophe, which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it at his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise and has got caught in his wings; it is so strong that the angel can no longer close them. This storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows toward the sky. What we call progress is this storm. [Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History, thesis IX, 392] --Sometimes the wind brings music to us in the world of the dead, and sometimes to you in the world of the living light brings appearances.[Pascal Quignard,“Tous les Matins du Monde”]

THE CONCEPT

The Angel of History wants to get back to Paradise. The idea of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the idea of redemption, and reaching Paradise-- ‘making whole what has been smashed’--is a gift it wants to bestow upon the world.

Driven back by the storm we call Progress, the dancer/Angel is unable to regain Paradise. Blown backwards into the future by these relentless winds, she has conceived a choreography of ruptures, junctions, bifurcations, explosions, cataclysms, and crises. These fissures break the continuum of the ‘storm’ in which we live. Thus allowing the now-time to be shot through with splinters of messianic hope—or, glimmers of light in the dark.

Up against it the dancer/Angel marks time, i.e. fractures the continuum of the incessant storm, in the hope that something improbable, some form of salvation now absent from every visible horizon might nonetheless come to pass.

THE DANCER DANCING THE ANGEL

The Angel is called towards Paradise by the string players’ music. Already the dancer has had trouble getting her wings on right. And the storm blowing from Paradise pushes her backwards. The Angel can’t reach Paradise.

(THE BELOW WILL, OF COURSE, BE TRANSFORMED INTO DYNAMIC DANCE BY THE CHOREOGRAPER.)

Thus unsuccessful in the Angel’s latest attempt to reach Paradise, the dancer takes off her wings and goes ‘home. Turns on the TV news: Images of innocents suffering, the buffoonery of the powerful, etc.

Daily tasks await her. The dancer has a household to maintain. She is lonely, is seeking a partner on the Internet. Has a hard time making ends meet and is getting older.

All this part of her dance is accompanied by electronic music and/or the strings played through digital filters and transformers.

But the mundane is also pierced by interruptions, by eruptions of the divine. The mop is plunged into a bucket full of light. Always there remains a chance to introduce transformational change into the present.

For marking time is--even for a moment-- rupturing the continuum of the ‘storm’, or, to say it another way, rupturing the continuum of the world as ‘always the same’.

ELEMENTS

The dance must take place in light to be seen, to exist.

Music, on the other hand, can be performed in the dark and its full effect is still experienced.

Darkness/Music. Light/Dance. This dialectic plays an important role in the experiential impact of MARKING TIME.

MARKING TIME is the angel’s story, but it is significant that it is being told in a concert of light, movement, penumbra, shadow, music and dark.

For in Paradise hearing and seeing were very much the same. Returning to Paradise is a metaphor not only for Peace, but also for a non-dualistic, common Being, a Being within which the separating, subject-object ‘storm’ has ceased to rage.

At times as the music unfolds in the darkness a spot focuses attention on the bow drawing across the strings, on the fingers pressing down the strings, or on a part of the dancer’s body…For instance, we see and hear that the simple friction of horsehair on silver and steel done in a practiced way can create moments that set the ‘storm’ in abeyance… we call this ‘music’.

At pivotal moments in the piece the music takes over in the dark and develops. We sense that the dancer is there, but we can’t see her. She is like a secret which would explain everything but which is being withheld. Then gradually the lights fade in and dance and music continue together.

At other moments on a lit stage the dance will take place without sound.

THE MUSIC

The music is a dancer, the dancer is an ensemble of instruments. ‘Accompaniment’ might grow out of the unfolding construction of MARKING TIME, but it is not a foundational concept.

The music itself follows a general but not a linear trajectory:

Acoustic > Acoustic/Electronic > Electronic

In Paradise the violin and cello play exclusively acoustic music.

When the dancer is in her daily, mundane life, the violin and cello sounds are distorted, and/or the acoustic music is mixed with electronic sounds.

As debris accumulates in the path of the Angel, who is now struggling more and more to advance, electronic sounds representing the storm explode from Paradise driving the Angel backwards towards the future.

CODA

Catastrophe portends. With a few beats of its wings the dancer/Angel holds off the rush of history and makes discontinuity and rupture into the possibility of salvation...however slim

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Pittsburgh - by Hugh Levick
Above the clouds the sky
Has fallen asleep

Only asleep or watching
Television
Does the sky cease to worry.

This is a secret.

A plane takes off
And slants upwards
Into the neurosis of the sky
Which suddenly awakens
To watch the aircraft
Clear its left shoulder

In the past the plane
Flew through one sky
But now the sky
Realizes that it is watching
A plane disappear into the distance

This plane will fly
Through the sky state
Of Minnayork
The sky state
Of Virbama
And the sky state
Of Arkanjersey
To reach its destination:

Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh
The passengers will deplane

The passengers are trees.
They expect to betransplanted

But in fact they will be made
Into timber

This is a secret.

The kind of secret
That torments the sky
As planes take off
Slant upwards
And power
Power forward
Tearing to shreds
Heaven’s sleep.

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Yellow Hibiscus - by Hugh Levick

Everyone knows now

There is no disagreement

What had been
Had torn us apart

Now the shoes
Stand peacefully
On the old woven rug

Rain falls
On the dry
Bewildered earth

The insects
Are finally dead

The pump groans
The cat squeaks
And the moon
Dresses up
Like a pumpkin
For a visit
To the market

Who know the names?

It doesn’t matter.

She no longer
Has to urge him
To be positive

Everyone knows now

A harmony of despair
Has brought us all together

Our hero
Our brilliant vibrant
And supreme hero
Wins every battle
And glows
Futile and magnificent

There is no disagreement

The queen stands
At the window
Of the provincial church
Showing off
Her earrings

Is there more?
Is there something else?

The man wanders
The edge of the cliff
Overlooking the sea

Lightening bejewels the sky

The dogs are in a frenzy

Like the hare
Between the teeth
Of the hunters
What had been
Had torn us apart

But now we are free
Of all disagreement

And on a terrace
Facing everywhere
We all sincerely enjoy
The beauty

Of a yellow
Hibiscus

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Benares is not Varanasi is not Kashi - by Hugh Levick

It is only the eyes
It is only the eyes
That see the streets
That see the streets
Filthy

It is only the probes
It is only the probes
That find the river
Toxic

The Ganges receives
The city's offal
Day in day out

Polluted are the eyes
Polluted are the probes

Varanasi is not on the earth
Benares is not in heaven
Kashi sits atop the trident
Of Shiva

The eyes can't see it
The probes can't find it

But Kashi
Neither on earth nor
In heaven
Is the fire
Is the fire of faith And as you burn
You may bathe
In these waters
As you burn

You may drink
These waters

Consumed you see
Invisible to the eyes
You see the river, God
Pouring down
Pouring down
From the heavens

Listen!

It is not music
It is the river, God,
Making time and space
Into salvation

Listen!

Salvation is a sound
The ears cannot hear
Salvation is a sound
The ears cannot hear

The wind shreds
To let the exquisite
The wind shreds
To let the exquisite
Nowhere of Kashi
Into your heart

Now the exquisite nowhere
Of Kashi
Is in your heart
Kashi is in your heart.

Do you feel it?
Can you feel it?

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Paradise - by Hugh Levick

I am in Paradise
But I cannot go outside.

Through the windows
I can see It!

The lion has laid down
With the lamb.

Naked human creatures
To nourish themselves
Have only to smell
A fig, an apple
Or a melon.

I see that they communicate
Without uttering a sound.
A simple glance passes
Meaning understood
From one to the other.

It is a torture
To be Here without
Being allowed outside.

I can be naked.

I can gambol.

Perhaps they could
Even teach me
The non-language language,
And the inhalation method
Of nourishment.

But then again perhaps
Arriving from the 21st century
I am prohibited
From Paradise

Because these first human beings
With all their extraordinary sensibilities
Would see through me
To how the story ends,

And the melancholy and gloom
That would cloud over Paradise,
As even before it is lost,
The loss is recognized,

Would further darken
The existence of mankind
For all the millennium to come.

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Massimo Dutti - by Hugh Levick

One music plays all
We have never waited for
The measures folded
In stacks of different colors
Four four blugrey
Three four mauve with rows of smooth
Bass notes hanging from shakers
You can touch and try on
An ephemeral concrete
Go ahead dream “Love
Is in Your Heart” size seven
The upbeat on sale
At unheard of minor
Jackets scherzo boots and
And adagio fade in fall
Colors promises…

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A Round White Face - by Hugh Levick

This is the oldest temple,
Built several hundred
Years from now
By the god
Who took the nation in his mouth
And chewed and chewed
Until all the pain was his: The honking and sirens of hunger,
Dying cows and blind children,
Skeletal and begging women,
tear drop posters announcing
The death of the young,
Viciously corrupted leaders,
men living in shit
Drilled into the gums of the god.
It was as if he were being consumed by fire
After having been flayed alive.

In pain beyond all bearing
The god saw a Face
Staring at him.
A round white Face was staring at him
When a trumpet, shrill yet deep, sounded
And the Face was lifted
Onto a litter and borne
Towards the god who was as if being thrust through
With bursts of molten metal.

But above all else the god
Feared the approaching Face.
So he took the form
Of his most horrific expression
And violently convulsed
To repel the advancing assault.

Starving, plagued, widowed,
Deformed and disfigured,
Homeless, foodless, run over
And abandoned humans
Had been released from their suffering
By a god who was now collapsed
At the feet of a small white round Face,
A small white round Face that disdainfully
Looked down and spat
On the fallen god,
Hitting him in the holy spot
Between his eyes.

The spittle became a diamond.

The god rose.

He called his enemy, the Face, to battle.

For two hundred years
The god and the Face that was his own
Were locked in a struggle
That would determine
The fate of all men.
In the end the god prevailed
And hurled his own and foreign Face
Into the sky
Where it became a second moon.

To commemorate the victory
The god built this temple,
Locking inside the blocks
And sculptures and friezes
Of granite and basalt
The pain he had borne
To redeem mankind.

Thereby we look at
The oldest temple built
200 years from now
And comprehend why
From that day forward humans
Will have happily lived out
Their lives…
Humans will have happily
Lived out their lives in equanimity, peace and abundance…
We can comprehend
Why from that day forward
Humans will have happily
Lived out their lives
And suffered naught.

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