Issue 3 2013
I'm so excited about the opening of Gilgamesh with Constellation Theatre! This adaptation is by Pulitzer Prize poet Yusef Komunyakaa After completing "The Conference Of The Birds" this fall it's amazing to create music for these two epic wisdom literature powerhouses within one year!
Constellation Theatre Company presents Gilgamesh
Collaborating with Allison Arkell Stockman is artistically and personally fulfilling. The rest of the design team is also fabulous to work with. Kendra Rai's costumes, as always, are breathtaking. The set design of Ethan Sinnet's multi-level set, complete with ancient cuneiform figures carved in stone, do a beautiful job of setting the world's most ancient tale. Emma Crane Jaster's choreography and movement work add another dimension to this beautiful story.
For this production I have added several new instruments as well as some new compositional/sound design devises. The Native American flute complements my percussive arsenal. This mellow sound underscores the text in a beautiful and haunting way. I'm experimenting with half fingerings to replicate the sound of various ancient Middle Eastern flutes. I've also added the malletKAT, which is a xylophone synthesizer allowing me to create a world of ancient string, percussion and wind instruments. In accompaniment to all these I've added the African thumb piano or kalimba to underscore much of the piece. These additions bring my total instrumentation including djembe, cajon, dumbed, riq, melodica and many others to about 20! This is in addition to triggering loops and controlling sound!
For this piece drawing on ancient Mesopotamian culture I'm drawing heavily on my recent travel to Iraq. While I was there I collaborated with members of the Iraqi Symphony, Kurdish musicians as well as African/Iraqi musicians in Basra. This experience gave me a very deep well to draw from as I created music and sound design for this piece. I have incorporated the actors playing various percussion offstage to create an acoustic surround sound effect. In addition to being skillful actors they are also wonderful and sensitive percussionists it turns out!
Gilgamesh Press Quotes
..." musical wizard Tom Teasley has again composed an evocative, percussion-heavy score, which he performs live on stage!"-Celia Wren- The Washington Post
" A huge factor in the company's success is the one-man orchestra of Tom Teasley, whose multi-instrument, world-music stylings provide a living score to the stories' proceedings. Gilgamesh is no exception; here, Teasley's music heightens tension and keeps the production moving at a satisfying pace... " -Sophie Gilbert- Washingtonian
"Constellation has enlisted the aid of Tom Teasley, the master percussionist and multiple Helen Hayes Award winner, to help them bring Gilgamesh to life. Providing live accompaniment from the moment the audience enters the theater, Teasley works as hard as any of the actors in the cast, and with fewer breaks. The instrumentation is (if you'll excuse the phrase) pitch perfect, with Teasley's varied influences lending the production a timeless quality. With Teasley's music as a foundation, Constellation creates a language of dance and movement." -Justin Schneider- DCMetroTheatreArts
"Special kudos are in order, too, for composer and musician Tom Teasley, whose love of the Middle East is on full display here. Audiences are treated to music from the moment they enter the Source Theatre space, and he accompanies the dialogue and action on a variety of instruments, with melodies and sounds that are by turns discreet and strikingly original." -Andrew White- broadwayworld.com
" Teasley unleashes a stampede of sounds including drums, flutes, and a magic xylophone that conjure a Mesopotamian dream-world."-Robert Duffley- DCTheatrescene.com
"... this area's most original one-man band, Tom Teasley-who notably set the mood for last year's production of Metamorphoses-provides an evocative and haunting musical background for Gilgamesh by blending percussive elements with brief, reedy motifs whose likely origins in the music of the American Indian seem weirdly capable of conjuring up more ancient spirits."-Terry Ponick- Washington Times
"... the always-skillful Tom Teasley's musical accompaniment adding an important aural dimension." -Bob Ashby- Showbizradio.com
"The show's rich score by Tom Teasley lends Gilgamesh a consistent musical tone throughout and serves as a highlight from beginning to end."-Joanna Castle-Miller Welovedc.com
"Tom Teasley is incredible!"-Robert Aubry Davis- WETA Around Town
"... live sound design from world music guru Tom Teasley. As the exciting exploits unfurl before us, Teasley brilliantly bangs on tribal drums and other percussion and electronic instruments to produce a unique aural experience that resonates throughout the evening."-Jolene Munch Cardoza- The Washington Examiner
I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington DC during this exciting run. I'll be selling CDs at the show and donating 20% back to Constellation Theatre.
Tickets available for Gilgamesh through June 2.
Until next time...Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti,
Peace, Salam, Shalom, Shanti,