Saturday, July 18, 2015. CALL DOWN THE ANGEL (Readers Theater with Music). Featuring Susan Mashiyama, Kirk Lumpkin, Ed Coletti, Justin Coletti, Steve Shain and David Madgalene. Suggested Donation: $15 (No one turned away). The Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar Street, Berkeley (at Bonita Avenue). 2:00 to 5:00 PM.
WORLD PREMIERE at the BFUU!
Produced by David James Randolph
Directed by David Madgalene
Book, words and music by David Madgalene
Sponsored by the Social Justice Committee
A NEW WAY MEDIA FEST PRODUCTION
Libretto author/director David Madgalene writes:
Straight-up thanks to New Way Media Fest, David James Randolph, who can’t be with us Saturday but he’s praying for us, the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, the Social Justice Commitee, Holly Harwood, Gene, Elane, Vic Sadot, Deborah Hamouris, Susan Macke, David Yandle, our Sound Man, Cynthia Johnson, all the good people that helped us, I want to thank Judy Irwin for doing the video and a million other things…
And as for our CALL DOWN THE ANGEL presenters, let me put it this way…not all talented people are brave, and not all not brave people are talented. Very few people are both talented and brave.
Now I don’t want to say about myself because I’m the crazy guy who wrote this and it comes with the territory. Being crazy and spouting off at the mouth, I mean.
But for Kirk Lumpkin, and Ed Coletti, and Justin Coletti, and Steve Shain and Susan Mashiyama, that they’re very talented is evident to all who know them, but I also think you will agree with me that it takes a certain kind of courage to take on this kind of material, and so they are not only talented, but brave.
Because, for one thing, there’s no plot to CALL DOWN THE ANGEL. If you’re looking for a plot. And, as matter of fact, I don’t know if there’s even any logic to it since we’re talking about religion.
But the milieu, that is to say the time and place, the atmosphere, that informed these songs, poems and stories is that basically 25-30 years ago I was a nontraditional student attending a state college in a small town in the Bible Belt, that’s when essentially all of this material was generated (not including a couple of obvious New York flashbacks). And I wrote these things one at a time when I was inspired to do so. And I’ve read them at poetry readings off and on these past 25-30 years sometimes by myself and more recently often with Steve Shain, but it wasn’t until a few years that I got the idea to get some friends together and try to do a production such as this one.
So, instead of looking for a plot, let’s just say it’s as if the Bible Belt were our prism, and we’ll hold it up to the light, and look at the different rainbow variations. Or maybe it’s a jigsaw puzzle, and we’ll see if we can put these pieces together to form a picture of the Bible Belt, of Jesus, even, that makes sense. Maybe. Maybe not.
And another problem besides not having a plot is that we don’t have any real characters. Most of the time when I write something I try to write from a voice or speaker or a POV that’s special and unique to that piece itself. I mean like that they’re telling their story or maybe the story of someone else and it’s a one-time shot, usually. Something like maybe Spoon River Anthology. Each poem has its own speaker. So you could think of it that way every time one of our presenters gets up Saturday, they’re a different person telling their own unique story. But even so, I thought it might to helpful to at least give our presenters similar kinds of things to do so that we could say that if they’re not quite full-blown characters, they’re at least channeling a certain kind of energy.
For example, with Ed Coletti, as you’re about to see and hear, he’s got this big booming voice, and I thought to myself that’s the voice in the wilderness. The voice of John the Baptist or one of the Prophets. A Patriarch. Now I know the Patriarchy’s been taking a real beating lately, but we’re not trying to join on that or any other wagon. We’re hoping to do some of the yin-yang thing on all of this. Like I said, to try to see what it looks like from different angles and perspectives.
Now because I’m the guy who wrote this, so, of course, I’m going to present myself in the best light as I can. So I’m channeling the Good Guy, the Seeker after Truth. You might even call me Everyman.
So I guess that makes Kirk Lumpkin my evil twin. And you know how it is with evil twins, sometimes you can’t tell who’s the good one and who’s the evil one. And, as much as I hate to confess it, since it isn’t very Christian of me, I admit that I gave Kirk a lot of the hard ones to do.
And, as for Susan Mashiyama, well, let’s see. She has a heavenly singing voice and she plays the harp. So you do the math!
Like I said I got these ideas and I wrote them down as I walked around at night in a small southern town. But, for me, it often felt like I was in a desert in broad daylight. And I was lonely. And I was hungry and thirsty. And I was sick and I was wounded. And I’m lost and I’m wandering around in the desert. That’s what it felt like. And there’s nobody around. I never see anybody. And I feel like I can’t go on anymore. I’m ready to just about lay down and die. And, then that’s when I hear a voice crying out in the heart of the wilderness…
Ed Coletti is a poet, painter, and fiction writer born during the noir war year of 1944. Coletti currently hides under fedora and trench coat on the mean streets of Santa Rosa, California and frequently plays chess at So Co Coffee where he investigates various nefarious types. Recent work has appeared in his books When Hearts Outlive Minds (2011), Germs, Viruses, and Catechisms (2013), and The Problem With Breathing (2015) as well as in fiction journals and anthologies including Crucible (prize winner), Noir Nation, and Romance Magazine. Poetry has been lately published by ZYZZYVA, North American Review, and So It Goes: The Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Ed also is editor of the longstanding online site No Money In Poetry.
Justin Coletti, born and raised in Sonoma County, California, is an avid outdoorsman and musician. While away from his duties of being a financial and accounting manager at an alternative health clinic, Justin spends most of his time fishing, kayaking, and doing an assortment of extreme sports. Most of all, he enjoys singing, playing guitar, and performing with his roots reggae band, Dubtown Dread, which can be seen at some of the popular local venues around the Bay Area.
Kirk Lumpkin is a poet, performer, lyricist, environmentalist, cultural worker, and event organizer. He is the author of two books of poetry, In Deep and Co-Hearing. He has released two poetry/music CDs, The Word-Music Continuum and Sound Poems.He’s done featured performances of his poetry all around the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California, in Los Angeles, New York City, Colorado; Toronto, Canada and readings in England (under the auspices of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). He has been featured on KPFA radio’s Cover to Cover – Open Book. He is on the Board of PEN Oakland. He hosted the Café International Series in San Francisco when it was voted “Best Spoken Word Open Mic” by Bay Guardian readers and has been a pirate radio DJ.
Susan T. Mashiyama is a Bay Area harp player and singer/songwriter whose pieces have nature and mythological themes that are influenced by traditional and Celtic music. She was trained classically in piano and violin, and later became introduced to Irish music and the Celtic harp. Her debut CD of harp and song "Dance of the Fairies" is a collection of original pieces about fairies, elves, and selkies, as well as some classic songs such as "Ave Maria" and "Danny Boy." Susan has played for a number of years in Bay Area churches and local venues and hopes her music will bring some feelings of peacefulness to people.
Steve Shain has been playing the string bass since 1963 in Chicago Heights, Illinois. Currently freelancing with poets, dancers, jazzers, and improvisers in the Bay Area, Steve was a founding member of the Rohnert Park Symphony. He and David Madgalene have been working together since 2009. Currently Steve can be heard at www.bassicsewing.com.