And So It Begins

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Origins of Marie Begins

In 2010, I went to hear a lecture about driving web traffic to performing arts organizations. The presenter did a great job explaining how search engines and web analytics work. As my mind wandered, I began to think about how to write a piece that would be a destination on the Internet and how I would use the interactive capabilities.  Opera seemed to be the best vehicle for enticing viewers to move through a maze of choices. I was fascinated by R Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” series and I thought that a series was a great way to draw in the audience. When I proposed the idea to a few of my opera friends they liked the idea but it was obvious that would need a lot more information to be able to understand how it would work. 

A few years went by and I gathered more experience with interactive performance, and in 2015, I decided to sketch a possible scenario. At the same time, TV was exploding with Netflix and online viewing and I binged watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I loved the humor and I could see myself in the character.  Rachel Bloom became my modern day hero. I decided that I wanted to write an opera that connected through humor with language that was clever and taken from modern life. So now I needed to find someone who could not only write a libretto in a non-linear format but in a very specific style. UGH! I struck out repeatedly as I asked poets, writers and people active in digital storytelling community if they knew anyone like this.  It wasn’t until I mentioned it when reconnecting with a friend in Arizona that I was given the name of a writer in PHILADELPHIA!  I read her short stories and found myself laughing out loud-a good sign! This is when I went to meet Julia in a funky coffee shop in the Italian Market in South Philly.

-Ellen Fishman, Composer

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