Saturday, November 22, 2008

About the Librettist

I hadn't mentioned it until now, but I met my librettist, Marija Simona Šimulynaitė, back in October. She's a graduate student in the theater department at the Academy and focuses mainly on theater direction, but she's also a writer and an accomplished dancer (check out this video of her routine in the Lithuanian semi-finals of the Eurovision Dance Contest!). Not only did she enthusiastically agree to write a libretto, but she also offered to direct the production when the time comes.

To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I was able to find someone willing to work with me. My only real preferences were that he or she speak English to some degree and not be in the midst of a well-established (and hence, hectic) career. After unsuccessfully chasing some leads through my teacher, the Composers' Union, and some of my new friends, I got an e-mail from Marija. She was recommended to me by the head of the Academy's theater deparment, Dr. Algis Mažeika, who was once himself a Fulbright scholar at the University of Kansas.

After getting to know each other a little better during our first meeting, I gave her a copy of the final product of the reasearch I did over the summer: the story of my grandfather's life and a brief history of Displaced Persons Camps after WWII. Because the document has so much important and detailed information and is written in English, I was delighted to discover that Marija speaks English quite well.

But more importantly, I was excited by the energy and enthusiasm she injected immediately into her work. Only a week after our first meeting, she sent me a draft of the first half of Act I (after which I spent two days straight reading it with a Lithuanian-English dictionary in my lap), and today I am writing with the first draft of the entire libretto sitting next to me. What's more is that despite the speed at which she delivered her work, it shows evidence of great consideration of the details decribed in my original document while making light of them creatively through her writing.

Since we have not yet made final any cuts, additions, or edits, I won't give away any details about the libretto just yet, but I can say with confidence that this collaboration is off to a great start.


Zeejay said...

Miss Šimulynaitė appears to be as passionate about her creative work as you - what a great team you are! The dance video is amazing. What good fortune for your project that she is so talented in theater, dance and writing. Can't wait to learn more.

Chris and Nan together said...

Hey Chuck! It sounds like you are making awesome progress! Congratulations on everything!


Chris and Nan said...

We're going to be in the Portland area for xmas. Are you guys coming back for the holidays? We would love to have you guys in Fiji. We can have visitors anytime after August of '09.