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22 August 2013 @ 01:26 am
Chess - WIP Personal Act 1  
Somewhat large post here. Sorry about that.

So, in that ever-going quest to find the "perfect Chess", I've cut together a mixtape of sorts of a work-in-progress Act 1 I've been tinkering with. Figured I should share it for anyone who wants to take a listen.

Download here!

You'll have to forgive the fact that there's obviously some different casts going on here- I limited myself strictly to studio recordings for the sound quality, and though I tried to keep to the concept album (my favorite recording) as much as possible, some tracks made that impossible (like the "Press Conference"). So there's some mixing and matching going on here. I also tried to cut the existing stuff to fit my plan of the songs, and though some of the cuts are fairly seamless, there's some really awkward and noticeable stuff that got left in. I also mixed in some 'embellishments' on two of the tracks...see if you can spot where they are (hint: one of them is in "Nobody's Side").

So with the recording things out of the way, let's talk about this version, shall we? To start, here's the track listing:

1 - Agadit Till Bergshagen
2 - Overture
3 - Prologue: The Story of Chess/Where I Want to Be
4 - Merano - Freddy's Entrance
5 - The Russian and Molokov
6 - The American and Florence - Nobody's Side
7 - The Opening Ceremony
8 - Chess
9 - Quartet (A Model of Decorum and Tranquility)
10 - Mountain Duet
11 - Press Conference
12 - Florence Quits - A Taste of Pity
13 - Embassy Lament
14 - Anthem

Some general notes. My Act 1 pretty much follows the layout of Chess På Svenska until the Opening Ceremony, after which it more follows London with some pretty obvious differences.The recording as is runs about an hour long- I'm going into this with the assumption that the end result will be a book musical ranging somewhere between 2 1/2 to 3 hours, though most of the real "meat" will come in the second act. The plot basically follows Svenska through act one, with minor changes and deviations to accommodate some of the London songs (most of it should be pretty easy to figure out through the tracks below, though). Act two is a whole other beast (though I'm not close to being presentable there).

Some specific track notes. "Agadit Till Bergshagen" (from the 8-track demo) is included here purely because I really like it. I don't really intend to seriously use it in the story and just kinda like it as a bit of pre-show music, as it were. So feel free to skip that if you're not in the mood for some good 80s pop. The "Prologue" runs as it is in Svenska, with an Anatoly/Svetlana scene leading to Anatoly singing "Story of Chess" to his son. "The Opening Ceremony" runs as is, with the idea being that each member of the event takes the center stage for about two minutes before finally going to the Chess match, but there's something I wanted to do that I can't with the recordings, which is to merge the three numbers together at the end. This would be done with "The Arbiter (Reprise)" as a base, as you here it here, with "No one can deny that these are difficult times" slotted in between the Arbiter's verses. It's somewhat difficult to explain, I may record myself demonstrating it if anyone's interested.

Now, I think the main thing that'll jump out to a lot of people is the placement of "Press Conference" late in the act. The idea here is that Freddy has an interview scheduled at the inn and after seeing Florence and Anatoly together is thrown off his game, leading to the punch-out at the end. Florence and Anatoly come back into the inn, Florence shoving off the reporters and trying one last time to reach out to Freddy, but he completely lashes out at her in anger and grief, leading to her leaving him once and for all.

Script-wise, there's an obvious hole here between "Quartet" and "Mountain Duet". It's tempting to say "oh, I'll just put a book scene there", but a song might work well here. I flirted with including a shortened "Florence and Molokov" leading into "How Many Women", but I couldn't cut it in a way that sounded presentable. But that is an option, as it slotting in something like the bar scene from Svenska (but no "Someone Else's Story") or something like that. But there does need to be space between the two songs there, either through book, song, or both.

One final note- I didn't think to add it at the time, but as I look at it now there really should be another chess match in between "A Taste of Pity" and "Embassy Lament". So those of you who have the Danish cast can just slide in "Chess No. 2" right in between those two.


So, whew. That's basically all I have to say on my mixtape. Any comments, suggestions, critiques, etc.? Any and all comments are welcome- this is strictly a WIP, and I'm always happy to hear some alternate ideas and suggestions thrown about.
 
 
 
docflynn: pic#121685641docflynn on September 8th, 2013 07:38 am (UTC)
Act II is likely going to be very book-heavy and there will without a doubt be at least two or three Anatoly/Svetlana scenes. In terms of songs, I'm almost definitely going to be using the "You and I" reprise bit from Broadway, as I'm quite fond of it and it fits in with the whole "quiet resignation" that I feel defines her character. Though, as you say, having children really does complicate matters and it'll be difficult to really reconcile that and the affair with Florence with any sort of resignation.

I'm also debating resetting "Apukad" as a lullaby sung by the both of them, likely to their child, as a bit of a reconciliation moment for them. Though, naturally, the lyrics would have to be Russian and not Hungarian.
zédille: Pooh and pigletzedille on September 8th, 2013 08:23 am (UTC)
Broadway's Svetlana goes with the "quiet resignation" angle, I agree, and if you're consistent with that take (unlike London with its somewhat angrier Where I Want to Be angle, though I just realized that is a matter of interpretation by the actress, and it's possible to run that "sadly" instead of "angrily") then I have fewer objections.

And hm, I think if you separate the affair (adultery, breaking marriage, an insult to Svetlana personally) from the defection (Anatoly running away from his responsibilities to his family), that might be easier to work with? Like at this point Svetlana is resigned to Anatoly's philandering ways, so she wouldn't mind the affair itself that much, except for the fact that he up and defected, which is a separate thing she's angry about.

And ooh, Apukad as a lullaby sung to the Sergievsky Kid would be a fun twist. And especially if you're cutting the whole Florence's father subplot.... it is a nice piece of music.