features two classic American stories by Mark Twain and Herman Mellville. Set to 'skillful and unusually thoughtful' (Variety
) music, this musical played to sold out crowds in Los Angeles and was awarded the Kleban Award for excellence.
Act I, The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton
, is from Mark Twain's story of two people falling in love at a great distance with the aid of that brand-new invention, the telephone. Alonzo in Maine and Rosannah in California meet by the accident of crossed wires and each falls in love with an imagined ideal of the other. So complete is their self-deception that even when brought face to face they cannot recognize each other. Love is found, lost, and found again. Played as period melodrama, but the relevance to 21st century dating habits is clear.
Act II, Bartleby, the Scrivener
, is dramatized from Herman Melville's slyly funny but ultimately tragic story. Building on the theme of human connections made and missed, this act takes a darker turn, looking at people who occupy the closest of quarters and yet don't really communicate at all. Bartleby, employed as a copyist in a law office of the 1840s, inexplicably begins to refuse to work, forcing his colleagues to ask themselves the transforming question that ends the play: What do we owe to the people who come into our lives?