NET/TEN Shareback: Lightning Rod Special & Alex Bechtel - Twisting the Familiar: How to Devise a Musical

2016-17 Exchange Grant Recipients

Lightning Rod Special (Philadelphia, PA) partnered with Barrymore-award-winning composer and music director Alex Bechtel (Philadelphia, PA) to create an ensemble-generated musical theater piece about the abortion debate in America. This partnership supported a mutual artistic exchange that stretches Bechtel creatively to make music collaboratively with devisers, while empowering and educating Lightning Rod Special in musical theater experimentation.

SHAREBACK:

Lightning Rod Special has been collaborating with composer Alex Bechtel on the creation of a new, ensemble-devised musical called “Unformed Consent” about the state of the abortion debate in America. Whereas Alex has expertise in writing music, his process is generally a solitary one. Lightning Rod Special’s creation methods are all-hands-on-deck but generally text- or body-based and never involved writing music. A shared interest, however, is in innovation and never resting on the laurels of what has worked before. Our goals in this exchange were twofold: first, that each of us (Alex and LRS) would be stretched beyond our creative comfort zones and second, that we would come out the other side with a toolkit for making music as an ensemble.

Over several weeks of development in 2017, we tried many different methods for approaching group-writing. By taking techniques and tools that each of use in our separate practices, bending and reshaping them into something wholly new, we came up with a series of exercises that resulted in the creation of several songs for “Unformed Consent.” On top of that, we were able to find a process that that could be distilled into a communicable workshop format. Herein you’ll find a teaching guide for that workshop.

--Lightning Rod Special and Alex Bechtel

Download the PDF of "Twisting the Familiar: How to Devise a Musical" below:

Play "Bayla's Song" below:

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

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