Monday, June 26, 2017

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Lyric Book to "Airs - A Rock Opera"

Brockmann/Andrade present

Airs - A Rock Opera
Music Steve Brockmann

Prologue

Owen Doane is returning home by ferry to Manisses Island, a circular deposit of gravel, clay and rock, after serving a 6 year sentence in a state psychiatric lockdown facility for rolling through a stop sign and driving a vehicle carrying two tourists from the road to strike a stone wall.

Ferry Captain:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard the ferry “Manisses”. Our sailing time today will be approximately 50 minutes over calm seas.”

He had been drinking in an island bar at lunch, and was returning to a job site where he was a foreman for his father’s company of stonemason’s – Derrick Doane Stoneworks – when the combination of alcohol and anti-depressants that he had recently been prescribed caused him to drift from consciousness. 

The vehicle carried a mother traveling with her 9 year old daughter, Hannah … and the accident caused the girl to suffer injuries that paralyzed her from the waist down, confining her life to a chair. 

Hannah’s mother sued Owen’s father and his company, winning care for her daughter at “The Center”, an old home converted to comfort and attend to the island’s disabled and infirm.  The building is situated at the highest point of Manisses Island which, ironically, can be seen from the Doane house and property. 

As a result, Derrick suffered the collapse of the company that had been built upon the Doane family heritage of pulling stone from fields before harvest and building walls after milling grain since they had settled Manisses Island in 1664.  In danger of losing the company altogether, he eventually was forced to sell to his oldest son, Craig - a further embarrassment - while Owen was still in prison.

Owen has been released from prison early with time served due to the circumstance that his father is dying.

Now I Know 
(Brockmann/Andrade)

Fateful Days
Paul Adrian Villarreal as Owen

Owen:
When I was a boy I played in fields by the sea
Winds in the grass surrounded me

When I was a boy I watched my father before me
Heirs in the fields surrounded …

Now I know there was no moment’s way to see
What I could have done to change that fateful day
And now I can see what I’ve done to my family
And I know that now I am not …

I can see
An island at sea
I can see now that I am …
What I am

Windmills at sea
Father it’s me
And I can see now what I …
That I am

When I was a boy I learned to fly by the sea
Kites in the air they pulled on me

When I was a boy I watched my father flying free
Airs in the fields they pulled on

Now I know there was no moment’s way to see
What I could have done to change that fateful day
And now I can see what I’ve done to my family
And I know that now I am not …

Hannah:
“I saw it.”

“I can see you.”

“I saw it.”

Ferry Captain:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now entering The Great Salt Pond.  We ask that all passengers with motor vehicles to please go to their cars at this time.”

The ferry settles in and glides through the breakwater separating the ocean from The Great Salt Pond - Owen rises and goes to the rail … nothing appears to have changed, time seems to have stood still; the family home sits on a small rise up from the mouth of the pond, angled on the land in such a way as to bear the brunt of strong winter winds with the long dormant windmill in the foreground by the shore, turned away from him and his return home.

And then Owen notices another, newer construct down by the shore.  He walks the rail back to the stern as the ferry sluices the water easily past … it is most certainly new though weathered, a lookout perhaps - a “crow’s nest” - a post that resembles a lifeguard’s chair surrounded by a stone foundation.  It sits at the very edge of the pond and is turned looking out empty towards the sea, dark under the overcast sky.

Owen:
When I was a boy no mother’s voice called by the sea
She saved her last breath to give to me

When I was a boy I watched my father comfort me
My head on his chest breathing …

No one knows there was no moment’s way to see
What I could have done to change that fateful day
And now I can see what I’ve done to my family
And I know that now I am not …

I can see
Father it’s me
I can see now that I am …
What I am

Winds of change
Lives exchanged
And I can see now what I …
That I am

The ferry throttles down and begins to slowly turn its bow around … and the faces of the bars, shops and hotels hugging the harbor sweep into view.  Some have new paint and there are name changes to be sure but the facades have remained the same, though new lives no doubt walk those halls.

Owen watches the ferry churn the waters of the Great Salt Pond as it backs into its berth.  The smell of brine is pungent.  He breathes deeply and watches the dock workers catch tossed ropes which they hold and pull leaning back to cleat along the dock.

Ferry Captain:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, now arriving Manisses Island … We ask that all passengers with bikes and on foot to remain on the upper decks until all vehicles have exited the vessel.”

Mothers call out to children running on the upper deck while fathers gather their family belongings.  Lovers stand at the rails smiling and laughing in each other’s arms, amused at the antics of seagulls that appear motionless before them, bawling for treats.  Elderly couples move slowly and easily to the stairs where husbands and wives assist each other down with soothing, encouraging words and gentle hands.

Owen waits to walk last out of the dark cavernous car deck and into the light on island for the first time in six years.  With his head down, he shoulders what little he has brought from prison … and begins the long walk home.

Grounded
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen and Derrick

Owen:
“Why has my father been moved to my room?”
He is no child grounded for life
“Why has my brother moved into his room?”
He could have waited for Dad to die

Consequences move like waves (waves)
Self-sustaining, rolling fate

He is cocooned in my covers - my bed
He looks so fragile, yet so strong
He is turned to the window – the air
The curtains rise and fall with his hair

“I didn’t know” – I want to cry (cry)
I drop and it wells up from inside

The chance to redeem me
I’m by your side
Afraid of just what I’ve become

Owen reaches for his father’s hand and clasps it as he lays his head down.  He looks out past the billowing curtains to the branches of the large tree in the yard and listens to his father’s breathing as he rides the small swell of his chest up and down.  Derrick slowly opens his eyes and smiles … and then he cradles Owen’s head with his free hand.

“I was trapped, Dad - in body and mind”
In prison … the hell was I really?
“I would look in the mirror - see signs”
My past rushing up from far behind

“In the space between the bars (bars)
I saw my life within that car”

The chance to redeem me
I’m dying inside
Afraid of just who I’ve become

As Owen adjusts and smoothes the blankets covering his father, he can feel the disgust for what they have done rising like bile.  Derrick Doane is a large man and this bed – Owen’s twin bed – can barely hold him.  It reminds him of the bed in the cell that he was sentenced to occupy, his world reduced to a rectangular box of cement blocks.

Derrick:
Oh, dear … “Son … the air is just right ….”

Owen:
I think he wants to fly again
He takes the key from the string on his chest
I haven’t seen that room since a boy

Climb to the door at the top of the stairs (stairs)
I turn the key … and I just stare

The chance to redeem me
To turn the tide
Afraid of just where I have come

Kites
Tilman Eckelt as Owen

Owen:
Dust motes float, suspend the wait of hidden years
Floor to ceiling, tissue hung on wooden frames
Designs, materials strewn upon a craftsman’s table
Old tome, leather, turned down called: “The Book of Airs”

Have I come home to meet this kite maker
“A man with his head in the clouds”?
I want to believe what was once lost to me can be …
Found

Dust motes settle, fall the weight of wasted years
I see the kite he asked for, simple, from my youth
The tail is torn, tied fabric taken from the years
I save one last look … resigned, sigh at the door

When Dad rises to meet his own maker
Will the skies claim their tears from the ground?
I have to believe what was once lost to him can be …
Found

When it comes time to meet my own maker
Will the clouds empty, reform all ‘round?
I would like to believe we are fallen tears on the …
Ground

Flight
Cornelius Kappabani as Owen and Derrick

Owen:
I take the kite outside
Through window open wide

Derrick:
“You need to know that I forgive you, son”

Owen:
The string clutched to his chest
The tail our family crest

Derrick:
“Don’t be afraid to forgive yourself, son”

Owen:
I want to change for good
I won’t accept my fate
Out of convenience I am …
I

Derrick:
“The air’s just right.”

Owen:
I take the kite on down the hill

The wind comes off the sea
Sweeps up and surrounds me
I turn around, kite trembles in my hand

I lift my arms up high
I know this is goodbye
I cannot hold this kite down on the ground

I’ve never changed for good
I would accept my fate
Out of convenience I lived …
The lie

Then it’s gone
In the blink of an eye

Rising high
Silent flourish in the sky

The kite shudders as it climbs, vibrating with a staccato rapidity that causes the tissue to buzz and hum on its frame …then it steadies itself with a shake of its shoulders once, twice as it moves through and navigates the currents, much like the gulls that ride the currents along the shelves of the eroding island cliff faces always searching, forever searching …

The sun glints through the tissue of the kite as the struggle to climb diminishes, infusing the frame with diaphanous colors and light.  Once above the conflicting current of airs the kite twists and turns gracefully, playfully dives and swoops and then suddenly rises, soaring higher …

A sudden gust of wind expands and lifts and fills the tree at the top of the hill and then dissipates, dropping branches rushing downwards, the leaves exhaling as it rushes towards Owen warm against the cool ocean breeze at his back.  He looks and notices that the curtains to his bedroom window are blowing outwards.

Then Owen sees that the string to the kite has gone limp – it is simply flowing out over the sill.  The end of the long tail soon appears and drops to the ground and is pulled snaking through the grass until it slowly rises, floating up through the air in a long slow sweeping arc until it seems to surface and surf over the blades of the grass as it heads for the tree at the top of the hill …

Owen:
I rush into the tree
To set the tail – caught - free
Carved branches – healed – our hold on history

I untangle carefully
Past slips from my hands and me
The last to go: blue ribbon from my birth

We take the same way up
We can control our fate
We all need some help to be …
Set free

I watch it fly
Kite soars, rises to new heights

Pulls at my heart
String trails away from all sight …

Current Events
(Brockmann/Andrade)

Winds of Change
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Owen: 
Mending walls and fences for my family
My debt to Dad, rebuild his company
Good walls make good neighbors - I’ll start with the fateful site

“Brother, who are you to let me go?
And who are you to clear out all Dad’s rooms?
And where have all his notes and kites gone to?”

Oh my God - they’re just thrown
In the …

The root cellar!”

Heirs
Cornelius Kappabani as Craig
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Craig:
“I’m having a baby – what the hell should I do?
Where should I fuckin’ put him?
A son to carry on the Doane family name
If there’s nothing thanks to you”

Owen:
“You cleared out all of father’s rooms!”

Craig:
“The kites?!  Is that what we’re talking about?
You’ve always had your head in the clouds!
If you would have had your feet on the ground
You wouldn’t have lost your Annabelle

Owen:
“She left and she found someone else –“

I drove her there
I didn’t care
I wasn’t there
And his name is …

Craig:
“What can we do now Owen, Dad is dead
Look - I’m calling all the shots now
You gave that right up when you hit that girl
And I can’t have you on my job sites”

Owen:
“I didn’t hit that little girl …”

Craig:
“Just who the fuck do you think you are?
The house is deeded to the company
Too bad he chose to give it all to me
While you were in that mental prison”

Owen:
“Dad didn’t give you anything!”

He had no choice
I took his voice
You voiced your choice
And his name is …

Winds of Change II
Cornelius Kappabani as The Islanders
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Islander 1:
“He appeared on island when you went away”

Old Salt:
“Married the Kingsley girl and settled in”

Islander 2:
“He gave your brother money - took hold of your company”

Old Salt:
“Rumor is he wants your property”

Islander 3 and Old Salt:
“Like an ill wind brings an early frost
So his presence in our island life”

Islander 4 and Old Salt:
“He is eating away
He is …”

Owen:
Coleman Burke!”

Owen decides that he can no longer sleep in what has become his brother’s house and moves into the old windmill down by The Great Salt Pond.  Along with his meager belongings, he brings with him all that he can salvage of his father from the root cellar.  He also carries with him the “Book of Airs”.

Errs
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Owen:
“I drove her there
I didn’t care
I wasn’t there
And his name is …”

“He had no choice
I took his voice
You voiced your choice
And his name is …”

Book of Airs
(Brockmann/Andrade)

History
Instrumental

Heritage
Gordon Tittsworth as The Narrator and Owen

Narrator:
On the hillocks of history as the countryside changes below
Windmills steadfast through bluster and torrent now standing idle and old
Provided villages of men with daily bread
While parish alms and prayers filled every heart and head

Owen:
The past not dead

Narrator:
The Doanes were millers and stonemasons from mainland shores in 1664
Posts and gears hewn from island woods, sails sewn from ships that brought them ashore
Supernatural resource, self-sustaining winds of change
Power coming from off the sea could not forecast long range

Owen:
Lives exchanged

I sit and read from “The Book of Airs” as aging timbers creak, shift and moan
Chronicles and experiments to harness all the airs that have roamed
My father’s kites adorn the beams up off the floor
Not tossed like skins off fruit - not forgotten anymore

Experiments
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Owen:
From the ink and lead pressings my grandfather he speaks to me (1)
My father’s designs, reworked, the mechanics an oddity (2)

(1)“Wade in to your waist and feel the polar pull of opposite currents;
With your kite still in the air submerge yourself, hold on and feel yourself drawn out –
Serene suspension, rolling … womb-like muted sounds lull your soul”

(2) Inverted flower folds sewn from the sails of either windmills or boats?
My body mass the tail: counterbalance in a parachutist’s harness –
Contrasting construction, resembling dormant tulips or a rose?

Out of a job, I’ll have to recycle bottles to live
Off to the pond, I need to trust and try not to misgive

Floating
Instrumental

-Intermission-


The Flyer
(Brockmann/Andrade)

Owen rises early and rides an old childhood bike through the rain into town. He pulls a cart behind him that holds bottles which he has taken from the dumpsters of island bars and which he plans to recycle at Kingsley’s Market for money to buy the necessities to live in the windmill, as well as the materials required to build his father’s kite design from the “Book of Airs”.

Annabelle
Jan Hoving as Owen

Owen:
We traded choices made without a fight
On island winds awaken this old mill
Off island ferry found you Mr. Right
Now I pedal bike and cart up the hill

I would drift drunk through the island nights
Now I sift trash through the pouring rain
I emptied bottles in exchange for flight
Now empty bottles are exchanged for change

Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse
And I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
You shouldn’t have had to choose or lose

“Share Who You Are, Share What You Do,
Share Your Spirit”, the flier said
Stone and mortar, building walls that I did
Though I would rather fly instead

Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse
Now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
No, I would like to fly with you

As rain drums along the shell of the dumpster, Owen sits huddled amongst the trash and flips the hood to his jacket up over his head; rain slips through in rapid drops and patter falls over him.  He folds the flier and puts it into his pocket.  Though the event for the island’s artisans at The Center has already taken place, he decides to ask Annabelle if he might still be allowed to visit and participate, but he wants to talk of wind and air – not stone and mortar … and to fly kites rather than to build walls.

Owen:
“Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse
And I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
You shouldn’t have had to choose …”

“Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse
Now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
Yes, I would like to fly for you”

Owen finds Annabelle at her father’s market and is astonished to see … he’d learned that she had lost an arm to cancer while he was in prison but to actually see his old childhood friend with her one arm …. 

He hands her his redemption slip and the flier, and asks if he might have a chance.  She pays him for his recycling, and agrees to arrange for a visit by him to The Center.  On the appointed morning, Owen collects some of his father’s kites from the windmill, places them into the cart, and rides his bike back up the hill ….

The Center
Floor Kraaijvanger as Annabelle
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Owen pedals up the long dirt drive and glides into the crescent lot.  He has a striking view of rolling farmland down to The Great Salt Pond where he quickly locates the windmill and his father’s house out by the breakwater.  Annabelle walks out from The Center and greets him.

Annabelle:
“I still love you
And I love our island life
But was it so wrong to search for life beyond the sea?”

“I still feel you
In the memory of my arm
And I’m still haunted by the day you left in chains”

I didn’t want to let you go

Owen:
“In prison time stands still”

Annabelle:
“But that’s an illusion”

Owen:
“In fields the seasons change”

Annabelle:
“Nature sleeps and she wakes”

Owen:
“Your garden still grows strong”

Annabelle:
“This island weathers the storms …”

And in the morning I wake and I rise
You drove me there
You drove me there

Owen looks at the group assembled for his demonstration and is taken aback to see that there is a young teenage girl in a wheelchair among the residents waiting for him.  Annabelle takes Owen’s arm and pulls him aside …

Annabelle: 
“Please believe me
You were drowning in yourself
The boy I had known was buried deep beneath your skin”

“Understand me
Though that cancer took my arm
The girl that I know cannot be held and kept inside”

My hold on you is more profound

Owen:
“Is that her in the chair?”

Annabelle:
“I thought that you knew?”

Owen:
“I’m so scared and confused”

Annabelle:
“Consequences for you”

Owen:
“I ask you if she knows”

Annabelle:
“Well … what does it matter?”

And in the morning she’ll wake but not rise
You drove her here
You drove her here

Owen fixes his jaw and releases Annabelle’s hand.  He turns from her and watches the young girl – Hannah is her name (he knows) … she smiles and laughs blithely from her chair in conversation with a woman lying in a rolling bed while wisps of her hair fly in the wind and catch in the corners of her mouth.  She is quite the beautiful young lady.  Hannah turns her heard suddenly and catches Owen’s eye, holding him in her gaze for a moment before turning away.

Owen:
“Of course I’ve got no excuse …”

Annabelle:
“You heard her mother’s a drinker.” 

Owen:
“She simply dropped her here?”

Annabelle:
“And since we’ve not seen her …”

Owen:
“My family pays the bill.”

Annabelle:
“The price set for appeasement …”

And every morning I’ll help her to rise
You drove me here
You drove me here

You drove me there
You drove me there

Owen:
I drove her there
I drove her here …

Fateful Days II
Antilla Thomson as Hannah

Hannah:
When I was a girl my mother played by the sea
She saved all her breath when I would plead

When I was a girl I watched my father running free
Mom said: “Save all your breath” when I would …

Now I know there was no moment’s way to see
What I could have done to change that fateful day
And now I can see what’s been done by my family
And I know that now I am not ….

Hannah
Cornelius Kappabani as Owen
Antila Thomson as Hannah

Owen walks up to Hannah and introduces himself.  She looks up at him and tells him how much she has been looking forward to this day.  He drops and sits back on his heels, shocked, and after a moment says, “Me, too.”

Owen:
“I will help you fly
Here … now hold the string
My father wrapped and held me in his hands”

“I will help your arms -
Am I hurting you?
Are you ready?  Now …ok … let go.”

I drifted off went through the sign
Look what I’ve done
I didn’t know - how could I know?
Oh, Hannah

Hannah:
“I feel you lift my arms
You’re not hurting me”
Yes, lay your head and rest it on my chair

“There - why do you fly?
Owen, can I try?
I’ve seen you stand up to your waist in the pond”

I’ve been in chairs more than you know
I’ve been pushed
You didn’t know – how could you know?
Oh, Owen

She had seen him in the pond?  How did she know it was him?  Had she guessed?  Had Annabelle told her?

Owen can feel the excitement coursing through Hannah’s arms as the string is played out and becomes heavy with atmospheric weight and drag. 

Hannah’s arms bob and sway in his hands … and then she begins to laugh most beautifully – explosively - a laugh laced with the breathless giggles of a little girl … a laugh that had been buried away and is resurrected!  Owen looks to Annabelle and smiles.  She takes her hand from holding what remains of her other arm and raises it to her mouth, smiling back.

The sun glints through the tissue of the kite as it struggles to climb in the wiles of island airs, infusing the frame with diaphanous colors and light.  The kite bows and dances and then runs free pulling more string from Hannah’s hands to the massive clouds that sail muted through the afternoon sky, trailing long shadows on the ground that sweep up the fields and swim over them for a moment … 

Owen:
I watched all signs drifting off
Our hearts on strings
She couldn’t know – I’d like to show
Oh, Hannah

Owen asks Hannah if she would like to fly from in the pond as she had seen him – he explains that he has learned how to fly there from a book that has been in his family since they first settled the island. He could push her into The Great Salt Pond in her chair?  She turns as best she can and looks to Annabelle with excitement.

Annabelle asks The Center’s director for permission to take Hannah to visit Owen under the guise of visiting the windmill, and the director tells her that she sees no reason why Hannah shouldn’t be able to see “up close what she’ll eventually own – if there’s a God.” 

For more than the first time, Annabelle begins to wonder if Hannah knows that she is in her chair at the hands of Owen.  And she wonders if she has been told.


Airs
(Brockmann/Andrade)

The Great Salt Pond
Floor Kraaijvanger as The Narrator

Owen is waiting for Annabelle and Hannah at the house, sitting astride his bike as The Center’s van pulls up the drive … he takes Hannah from the attendant at the lift and pushes her into the empty cart.  Annabelle sits on the seat behind him and holds on with her one arm as he pedals them down the hill to the pond. Hannah asks about what appears to be a large round tent in the field beside the windmill and Owen explains that it’s actually a kite design of his father’s that he found in the “Book of Airs”. 

He pushes Hannah into the windmill and shows her the kites hanging from the rafters and the book with the charts and tables scribbled in the margins amidst the flying experiments of his grandfather and his father’s drawings.  He steps out while Annabelle changes Hannah and then he pushes her, takes them down to the pond.

Narrator:
Pushing her chair into the waters up to her waist
He sees her legs dead white shimmering below there

She wades out and holds up the kite … then holds the string with her - their fingers laced
Owen wraps his arms around them - her missing arm there

And they fly
Fly for freedom
Currents deep and strong that pull them on

They fly
Fly for freedom
Currents in the air that pull them there

They fly
In the ocean of sky

He says he’s learned of a way to reach the sky from beneath the surface
Will she trust him to help her to fly from out of her chair there?

She watches as Hannah is raised - she looks scared from an awkward embrace
She holds her breath - eyes wide waits in Owen’s hands there

And she dives
Dives for freedom
Owen holds her there, his arms her chair

She dives
Dives for freedom
Currents differing, she holds the string

She flies
In the reflected sky

Bent at the waist he cradles her wrapped in his hands
His heavy breath ripples the water, her hair waves like grass there

She leans in and says “that’s enough”, then sees the string still held clutched to her chest
With her one hand supporting her under, they pull her to air there

And she flies
Flies to freedom
Currents strong and deep, inducing sleep

She rises
Rises to freedom
She laughs and rests her head on Owen’s chest

All:
We fly

Hannah:
You’re my sky

Annabelle:
You’re my sky

Owen:
You’re my sky

Grounded II
Gordon Tittsworth as Owen

Hannah asks Owen if she can visit again so that he can show her how the windmill works.  He says that he would need to learn how to operate it from reading the “Book of Airs” - if it even still could turn in the wind.  Then she asks if she could be present when he tried to fly his father’s kite.  He says “of course” and then pedals her and Annabelle back up the hill to the house where he asks his sister-in-law, Rachel, to call for the van while he waits with them.

Rachel eyes this odd group with curiosity and goes in to place the call.  And then she dials one more number.

Owen:           
I read from the masters how to operate the windmill in the “Book of Airs”
Turn sail and be aware of ever changing fickle face and wiles of the wind
Then the vaguest smell on wisps of white surrounds the wooden gears
Smoke! Thick and hot reserved for only those who are lost and have sinned…

Searching for the truth
Surrounds me in the air

I see father’s kite a ball of fire disintegrating up into the air
Fabric curls in layers like the sneering lips of demons sent to feed upon
Oh no!  The frames in danger of igniting within every flare …
I hear now a boat running off on the waters of the Great Salt Pond

Searching for the proof
Disappears into thin air

Owen rushes up the hill to the house for the phone.  Craig roars into the driveway – he has seen the smoke rising from a growing orange light, as if a pit had been opened up by the Great Salt Pond.  He hauls himself out of the truck and nearly runs into Owen as he bounds down the hill to the mill, both brothers drawn from the dark in the dancing glow of the fire.

Owen:
Craig!  Craig!

Craig:
Owen - what the fuck?!

Owen:
Someone burned the kite – Dad’s kite, Craig!

Craig:
Someone – wait!  What?!

Owen:
I don’t know!

Craig:
What the hell are you talking about?

Owen:
The mill is burning!

Craig:
Okay - okay. They’re coming. I already called. Here they come.

Rachel suddenly appears out of the night.

Rachel:
Oh my God. What’s going on?

Craig:
You didn’t see this?

Rachel:
See-?

Craig:
The mill, Rachel – our mill is on fire!

Rachel:
No.  I had no idea

Craig:
You had no idea?

Rachel:
No.

Craig:
Then why are you here?

Rachel:
I … I just heard the sirens …

Owen:
Craig – help me turn the windmill!  C’mon - we gotta turn the sails away from the fire!

The brothers race down the hill and lean into the long wooden pole sticking out at an angle from the dome of the mill and begin to push against to turn the rusted, deflated wheel on the end.  Slowly the wheel tears away from the undergrowth and rolls along its path, rotating the windmill dome and sail frames away from the blaze.

The Island Fire Department arrives and barrels down the hill.  Owen and Craig watch their friends draw water from the pond and work to save the windmill.  Rachel has disappeared.  The flame roars up in a swirling arm that sways like a tentacle in the air and attacks the windmill, leaving broad black swaths across the stone foundation and threatening immolation of the wooden structure and the dome.

Suddenly headlights sweep up over the top of the hill and hold the brothers in their glare as an engine guns down towards them.  It is Coleman Burke, who gets out of a “Doane Stoneworks” truck with Annabelle.  He waits for her to round the ticking engine and places a hand where her arm would have been, only instead of flesh he grabs her by the fabric at her hip there and pulls her along to them.

Burke:
What the hell is going on?

Craig:
Someone tried to burn down the mill.  Wait - who called you?

Burke:
Well … what does it matter?

Annabelle:
Owen – are you ok?

Owen:

I’m fine, Belle.  I got out in time.

Burke:
Oh?  In time for what?  He’s fine.

Owen:
Yeah, I’m fine.  But the kite is destroyed.

Burke:
Now, who would want to do anything like that?

Owen:
Searching for the proof
Surrounds me in the air

Searching for the truth
Disappears into thin air

The fire is finally put out … and that night Owen spends at the house lying in his old bedroom, in his old bed.  He looks out the window past the tree to the windmill, the acrid taste of smoke still thick on his tongue.

Owen:
I dove and found the book within the smoke and now I clutch it safely to my chest
Annabelle she held me with the strength of her lone arm though she’s still miles away
I can’t be more comforted than when she held me to her breast
I’ll sleep and wake to check for damage in the light of day

Searching for the truth
Surrounds me in the air

Kites II
Instrumental

Owen awakens to a quiet house.  In the distance, the gulls are already riding the currents of air above the surf.  He looks down the hall and sees that his brother’s bedroom door is shut.  He slips out into the hall and closes the door to the room he shared with his father.

He moves quietly within what has become a shell of his old home.  Time moves on – things have changed.  Many of the faces smiling back from the pictures lining the shelves are unknown and alien to him.  He finds a picture of his mother nearly hidden, tucked away on a window ledge behind a curtain … he picks it up and blows away the fine dust that has settled upon the glass covering the woman behind his reflection there: a healthy young woman with thick blowing hair smiling up from beneath a large hat in fields of tall grass.  He touches the glass separating him from the image, replaces it at the window and then goes to inspect the windmill.

Owen notices a hole burnt into the dome of the windmill by the fire.  He raises a ladder, climbs up and peering inside is astonished by what he finds: a fibrous, undulating mass of material hidden up under the dome that trembles in the wind rushing over it, expanding and contracting in small waves that roll back and forth upon itself – tremulous -  like live tissue.  He reaches his hand inside and touches the “entity” and feels that it is actually some sort of material.  A kite?  Had he found his father’s kite?

Owen studies more closely the gears and levers on the underside of the “ceiling” of the windmill and notices one thing immediately: they have been cast from metal, not hewn from wood, which means that they had been added to the original design, probably by the person who placed the material up under the dome.  Could it really have been his father? 

He also quickly sees that they have been designed and machined to connect to the main center shaft and gear system which in turn was attached to the windmill’s sail frames … which meant that all he had to do to engage the system (and thereby discover its purpose) was to … and then he sees it!  All he would have to do was disengage the levers on either side and get the windmill operational for the “ceiling” to drop away… 

Owen sets about repairing the four sail frames to insure that they have the integrity to support the sails once hung in the wind, and then he goes back up to the house and enters the cellar by the bulkhead …

He searches the deepest part of the cellar for the actual windmill sails, hoping that they are still there, and indeed finds them tucked away in a molding, wooden chest under generations of dust and dirt.  He hauls the chest back up the bulkhead into the light and down the hill where he carefully lifts the sails and lays them out on the grass to air – there he inspects the cloth for holes and tears and sweeps away the spiders and earwigs that scuttle over the sails, no doubt having infiltrated them from being stowed away in the dark dampness for so long.

Owen then calls Annabelle to arrange for her and Hannah to visit again … and he explains all that he has found … and he promises a flight to remember.

Flight II
Floor Kraaijvanger as Annabelle
Antila Thomson as Hannah
Cornelius Kappabani as Owen

Annabelle:
“How can we help here?  We’re unable … of what use?”

Hannah:
“Left in my chair here … I feel so small – and of no use.”

Owen:
“Help me turn to the wind … I’ll haul, hang and set the sails”

Annabelle:
“With my one arm, Owen I will hold to you.

Hannah:
“My legs are useless, but I can hold onto you.”

Owen:
“The tail to Dad’s kite ….  Here, hold the rope - please help me fly!”

Annabelle:
The windmill dome splits, opens wide
Fabric folds fill with a massive sigh
Kite tugs on tethers, trembling
Long dormant petals open and they sing

With a flourish Owen is pulled away
Into the sky

Owen throws back his head and laughs – he can’t help braying like a little boy! The island falls away becomes a giant play set of toy boats sitting in the harbor and winking cars that crawl past businesses, homes and properties … all so many rectangular boxes and plots that recede beneath his feet.

Annabelle:
“Owen, I can’t hold you - I can’t hold onto you!”

Hannah:
“My arms are lifting - I’m being pulled from my chair!”

Owen:
“Now I can see it all …!  Belle it’s ok - please let me go!”

Rising on the current of errs
Staccato bursts - and blooms full of heirs
No longer owing alibis
Diaphanous against the deep blue sky

Owen / Annabelle:
Rope trailing disappears from all sight
Pulls at our hearts …

Owen
Paul Adrian Villarreal as Owen

Owen:
When I was a man I watched my father flying free
He saved his last breath to give to me

When I was a man I held the girl I hurt to me
She gave all her strength to set me …

Now I know there was no moment’s way to see
What I could have done to change that fateful day
And now I can see what I’ve done to all around me
And I know that now I am …

Free …

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Lyrics to Brockmann/Andrade songs


Lyrics to "Annabelle" from Airs - A Rock Opera
released as a video single by Fencesound Music, February 15, 2012.

Annabelle
Music by Steve Brockmann
Lyrics by George Andrade
Jan Hoving as Owen


Owen rises early and rides an old childhood bike through the rain into town. He pulls a cart behind him that holds bottles which he has taken from the dumpsters of island bars and which he plans to recycle at Kingsley’s Market for money to buy the necessities to live in the windmill, as well as the materials required to build his father’s kite design from the “Book of Airs”.

Owen:

We traded choices made without a fight
On island winds awaken this old mill
Off island ferry found you Mr. Right
Now I pedal bike and cart up the hill

I would drift drunk through the island nights
Now I sift trash through the pouring rain
I emptied bottles in exchange for flight
Now empty bottles are exchanged for change

Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse
And I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
You shouldn’t have had to choose or lose

“Share Who You Are, Share What You Do,
Share Your Spirit”, the flier said
Stone and mortar, building walls that I did
Though I would rather fly instead

Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse
Now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
No, I would like to fly with you

As rain drums the shell of the dumpster, Owen sits huddled amongst the trash and flips the hood to his jacket up over his head; rain slips through in rapid drops and patter falls over him.  He folds the flier and puts it into his pocket.  Though the event for the island’s artisans at The Center has already taken place, he decides to ask Annabelle if he might still be allowed to visit and participate, but he wants to talk of wind and air – not stone and mortar … and to fly kites rather than to build walls.

Owen:

“Annabelle, don’t leave me inside with this refuse
And I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
You shouldn’t have had to choose …” 

“Annabelle, I’m grounded inside from my excuse
Now I know that money can’t buy the one thing up to you
Yes, I would like to fly for you”

Owen finds Annabelle at her father’s market and is astonished to see … he’d learned that she had lost an arm to cancer while he was in prison but to actually see his old childhood friend with her one arm …. 

  He hands her his redemption slip and the flier, and asks if he might have a chance.  She pays him for his recycling, and agrees to arrange for a visit by him to The Center.  On the appointed morning, Owen collects some of his father’s kites from the windmill, places them into the cart, and rides his bike back up the hill ….


***************************


The Moment’s Eye
Music Steve Brockmann
Lyrics George Andrade

He’s wondering ‘bout this new deal
It’s not the engine that he bought
Bent under hood up on the highway
Driven image more than thought

She’s wondering ‘bout this new dress
It doesn’t fit the way she thought
But she’s a smile upon the highway
Enchanting gift that can’t be bought

Every day we make it
Every moment take it
Can’t you see it all the while?
Headlights sweeping cross the sky ...

The moment’s eye

They are wondering ‘bout this new way
It hasn’t gone the way they thought
But they inspire upon the highway
Passing vision that is sought

Every day we make it
Every moment take it
Can’t you see it in their smile?
Lighthouse sweeping cross the sky ...

The moment’s eye

(solo)

Every day we make it
Every moment take it
Can’t you see it all the while?
Headlights sweeping cross the sky ...

Everyday we make it
Every moment take it
Can’t you see it in their smile?
Lighthouse sweeping cross the sky...

The moment’s eye


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