LISA'S ROOM: A Dream
Libretto and Music by Melissa Shiflett
Can you dream "true"? Lisa can --
join her on a journey into the
From a Presentation by
The American Chamber Opera Company
24 & 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm, The Riverside Theatre, 91
Claremont Avenue , NYC)
Lisa’s Room: A Dream
a 50 minute, one-act opera by Melissa Shiflett
Lisa’s Room: A Dream (based on a dream by the composer) was first developed in a composer/librettist workshop at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in California. It was then further developed and produced by Piccolo Productions in Chicago, at the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue with piano accompaniment. It has re-emerged fully revised and orchestrated and was produced by the American Chamber Opera Company in June of 2016, at the Riverside Theatre in New York City.
Directed by Andrew Joffe
Music Directed and Conducted by Douglas Anderson
Cast of American Chamber Opera production, 2016: LISA, Maggie Finnegan (soprano); RAGGEDY ANDY, Bryan Elsesser (baritone); CLOWN DOLL, George Kasarjian (tenor); FATHER, Lars Woodul (baritone); DRUM MAJORETTE, Alexis Cregger (coloratura soprano)
Orchestra: Flute, doubling Alto Flute and Piccolo, Jennifer Chang; Clarinet, doubling Bass Clarinet, Gary Dranch; Violin, doubling Viola, Tina Clara Lee; Cello, Arthur Cook; Percussion, Rey Soriano; Piano, Elizabeth Rodgers
Production Team: Choreography, Jessica Nicoll; Rehearsal Pianist/Assistant Music Director, Elizabeth Rodgers; Lighting Designer, Temishia Johnson; Scenic Designer, Justin Tolbert; Costume Designer, Vicky Butler; Assistant Director, Marguerite Mousset; Assistant producer, Rie Kano; Poster Designer, Rachel Kalina; Surtitles, YMR Productions; Producer, Douglas Anderson
Lisa's Room: A Dream
Lisa dreams that she is 17 years old and has just awoken to discover two Dolls (Raggedy Andy and the Clown Doll—both men) in her bedroom, exchanging images that are sometimes poetic and sometimes just silly. She tries repeatedly to interrupt or join in, feeling vaguely as if she remembers them and this image-telling game from distant times past. The Dolls then carry on a private conversation amongst themselves in which they discuss their origins and their devotion to Lisa’s patch-work quilt country of long ago. Lisa begins painting at her easel while the dolls talk. The Dolls ignore Lisa’s continuous questions.
The Dolls run around like mad and then hide as they intuit that Lisa’s Father is about to come into her room. Lisa continues painting as she and her Father have a huge, melodramatic but emotional fight about the harsh realities of life as an artist. He leaves in a huff. She is distraught.
The Dolls reappear, take pity on her and decide to include her in the next image, an image that pertains specifically to Lisa and not to the Dolls. A Drum Majorette suddenly appears, marching on stage carrying a flag. A mock-serious ceremony begins. The flag is stretched out to reveal a happy, purposeful duck on a sea of blue-green water, swimming towards a red sun. They all sing a chorale about the flag, the Drum Majorette joining in with exotic, coloratura frills. The Drum Majorette exits and the Dolls hide themselves as they sense that Lisa’s Father is about to burst into her room for the second time.
Lisa sees her Father coming down the hallway to her room. He carries what appears to be an ancient cross. It is inlaid with sparkly jewels, and he demands that Lisa assess its value for him. “Is it fake or is it real?!” She looks at it and really doesn’t know—because she is not (yet) the expert he has decided she is. He comes in and out of her room three times always asking the same question, the second time not only carrying the cross but wearing a crown, and the third time he adds a royal robe to his outfit. She is so annoyed by his questions that she asks him if he thinks she’s “King Solomon”. They join forces to re-enact the story about King Solomon trying to figure out which one of two identical flower bouquets is real. After the storytelling she decides to tell him honestly that she believes the cross with jewels is just a trinket and home-made. She asks him why he has kept it. Her Father explains that he keeps everything. He suggests that Lisa should keep something that she likes. Lisa wonders if she could possibly manage to hold on to anything as her own.
When her Father exits, the Dolls and Drum Majorette reappear carrying the flag which they hang on Lisa’s canvas, showing the picture of the duck on the water, as if it has become the picture Lisa was painting all along. Lisa and the Drum Majorette sing about the duck floating on the water and the memory of the rolling sea. The Drum Majorette exits. The Dolls take center stage with an epilogue about their origins. Lisa closes the opera as the Dolls fall asleep.
Lisa's Room: A Dream