Thursday, March 27, 2014

1776 And Then Some!

Cartoon by BALOO!

As a public service, I print the below, which looks like a damned worthy cause:

Funding Freedom and Humanizing History

"You should know that rebellion is always legal in the first person-- such as 'our' rebellion. It is only in the third person-- 'their' rebellion-- that it is illegal."
- Benjamin Franklin, Stone & Edwards' 1776

There are three ways in which one can begin a major creative project.

The first (and most generally accepted) method is to seek so-called "appropriate" government funding, through a grant application or through an ostensibly scholarly program.

The second (and most common) method is to quietly create, seeking no permission, asking no favors, promising no returns... and allowing the project, accomplishment, and finally the very self to fade into obscurity, to be discovered only posthumously.

The third (and certainly riskiest) method is to throw caution to the wind and try-- bucking the system as you go, flipping the metaphorical bird at the establishment, and giving authority the swiftest possible kick in the ass.

Of course, with risks come untold benefits: complete creative control, freedom of association, and the exhilaration of knowing that failure could be only moments away. But in order to prevent failure, one sometimes needs to ask for assistance.

A wild hare attached itself to me a couple of weeks ago-- one that I've been trying to shake for several years-- and I acted upon its commands. I am now in the throes of preparing for a grassroots production of Peter Stone & Sherman Edwards' musical play 1776.

The story is enthralling, unique, and aimed straight at the heart of authoritarian government: it takes place in the summer of 1776, when congressional tensions were as high as the sweltering temperatures outside-- and, as is the case whenever true progress is called into question, Congress has spent years sitting idly by as King George's taxes continually bleed the colonies dry. War has broken out; mothers search the battlefields for their dying teenage sons. Benjamin Franklin has invented the stove-- but Congress refuses to warm to John Adams' fierce cries for American independence.
In an excellently written, well-paced libretto (written in 1969, during a similarly hectic and discombobulated time), Stone and Edwards accurately depicted the two months culminating in the unanimous decision to declare indepence from Great Britain and from King George's pocket-picking.
It is with this in mind that I ask you to consider my request.

In order to give credit where credit is due (and remain decidedly un-sued), I am requesting licensing for this play through Music Theatre International. In addition to licensing and rental fees, we will require costumes, a venue, a musical director, an orchestra, and a very large cast (more than 25 actors).

I've got the cast-- and I've got the time-- and so I ask your help in securing the funding to present this sorely-needed cry for freedom.

We are out to raise $20,000, and we have until April 3rd to raise it all, or receive nothing. If you love freedom, please consider donating to this project. Please also share this project with your friends of any stripe, because music truly is the universal language. It is through music that we share our strengths and our vulnerabilities-- and it is through music that we may once again "see Americans-- all Americans-- free, forever more."

Balls to the wall,
Giovanni Martelli
Producer, Director
HMFWIC, Independency Productions

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