Rain Dance

Our 2014 Production was

Directed by David Bass and Kathy Lindsay
Choreography by Rachel Zimmerman

 

Generously sponsored by Cambridge Innovation Center,
Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate, Harvard Summer School,
and Beanfields Bean and Rice Chips

All performances were at:
The Peabody School  (Directions, map, parking)
70 Rindge Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Saturdays, March 29 and April 5, at 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Sundays, March 30 and April 6, at 1:00pm and 5:00pm

SEE WHEN YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS PERFORMED!

Our 2014 family opera was the North American (and NCFO) premiere of Rain Dance (synopsis with demo), inspired by Tish Farrell's story, "The Hare Who Would Not Be King." Rain Dance was commissioned by the W11 Opera for Young People and first performed by them in December 2010. The opera was written by Stuart Hancock (music) and by Donald Sturrock (libretto). It is the tale of animals on the South African savannah facing a drought, the Machiavellian lion whom they elect to lead them, and their unlikely hero, a brilliant but neurotic and politically apathetic rabbit.

Below, read the synopsis, see photos from our performances, and listen to each of the two casts singing (All photos copyright © 2014 by David Rabkin).

The Two Casts (click HERE for full cast and chorus performance schedule):

        SHOWS 1, 3, 6 and 8 (CAST Y)
Maggie LaMaster
Nicole McElhoe
Avani Banerji
Kathryn Fernandopulle
Lia Nachtigal
Margaret Rowe
Isabella Shee
Julia Teller
Glenn McElhoe
Anat Beck
Lisa Ferrante-Walsh
Evie Hartenstein
Ruth Hertzman-Miller
Laurent Lheritier
Lisa Danielyan
Sophia Teller
Yuval Agam
Lonnie Miller
Ian Morse
Liz Morse
Chris Edel
Steve Washington
Dina Gorelik
Mark Bildman
John Kernochan
        SHOWS 2, 4, 5 and 7 (CAST X) 
Erica Jaquith
Chloe Adler
Imogene Botka
Charlotte Brann-Singer
Shayla Gottlieb
Addie Kelsey
Marin Manoach
Miranda Santiago
Jeff Moore
Carmen DeBenedictis
Katie Hamill
Sue Holcomb
Julie Viens
Jackson Fried
Laura Bigler
Kathy Lindsay
Emma Adler
Eloise Botka
Robbie Kelley
Molly Day
Jeff Fried
Tom Hamill
Cooper Kelley
Jacob Klibaner
Jeff Bigler
               ROLE
Roli the Hare
Mandisa, his wife
Roli and Mandisa's Leverets
 
 
 
 
 
Tau the Lion
Tau's Lionesses
 
 
 
Koni the Rhino
Bello the Meerkat
Balosi the Baboon
Kipling the Hornbill
Dikeledi the Drongo
Johnny Jackal
Jackie Jackal
Hobo the Hippo
Thendo the Elephant
Ndanga the Zebra
Humbu the Old Tortoise
Antoine the Wild Dog

 

The animals of the African savannah (zebras, meerkats, hippos, warthogs, elephants, gazelles, hyenas and Humbu the Tortoise) meet to elect a king to lead them through the prolonged drought.

Cast Y Bring Us Rain 1  
Hear/Watch Bring Us Rain 1 sung by Humbu and the chorus, with additional solos by Jessica Avery and Margery Meadow Hear Bring Us Rain 1 sung by Humbo and the chorus, with additional solos by Margaleet Katzenblickstein and Aimee Yermish

 

Bello asks his fellow Meerkats for the weather forecast, which is hot and dry, good for voter turnout but not much else.

Cast Y The Forecast Cast X The Forecast
Hear/Watch The Forecast sung by Bello and the Meerkats, Hobo and the Hippos, Ndanga and the Zebras,  Kipling and Dikeledi  Hear The Forecast sung by Bello and the Meerkats, Hobo and the Hippos, Ndanga and the Zebras,  Kipling and Dikeledi

 

Candidates Hobo the Hippo and Ndanga the Zebra give stump speeches.

Cast Y Democracy Cast X Democracy
Hear/Watch Democracy sung by Bello, Hobo, Ndanga and the Zebras, Kipling, Dikeledi and the chorus Hear Democracy sung by Bello, Hobo and the Hippos, Ndanga and the Zebras, Kipling, Dikeledi and the chorus

 

Tau the Lion enters with his four lionesses and intimidates the Animals into voting for him instead.

Cast Y Wear the Crown Cast X Wear the Crown
Hear/Watch Wear the Crown sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Koni and the chorus Hear Wear the Crown sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Koni and the chorus

 

The Animals are hopeful Tau will solve their desperate need for rain.

Cast Y Vote/Bring Us Rain 2 Cast X Bring Us Rain 2
Hear/Watch Bring Us Rain 2 sung by Bello, Tau and the chorus, with additional solos by Jessica Avery and Margery Meadow  Hear Bring Us Rain 2 sung by Bello, Tau and the chorus, with additional solos by Margaleet Katzenblickstein and Aimee Yermish

 

But local reporters Kipling the Hornbill and Dikeledi the Drongo Bird are apprehensive.

Cast Y Transition to Scene 2 Cast X Transition to Scene 2
Hear/Watch Transition to Scene 2 sung by Kipling and Dikeledi Hear Transition to Scene 2 sung by Kipling and Dikeledi

 

At the home of Roli the Hare, his wife, Mandisa, is telling her six children, the leverets, of how the Baobab tree came to be planted upside down.

Cast Y Baobab Cast X Baobab
Hear/Watch Baobab sung by Mandisa, the Leverets and Koni Hear Baobab sung by Mandisa, the Leverets and Koni

  

They are joined by Koni the Rhino, who is dismayed by Tau's election victory. When Roli enters, Koni asks him why he, the most brilliant animal on the savannah, did not participate. Hares, Roli explains, are libertarians and consider themselves free of any civic duty.

Cast Y Running with Mr. Hare Cast X Running with Mr. Hare
Hear/Watch Running with Mr. Hare  sung by Koni, Mandisa, Roli and the Leverets Hear Running with Mr. Hare sung by Koni, Mandisa, Roli and the Leverets

 

Koni admonishes Roli for his lack of empathy and leaves.

Cast Y Eyes of Old Age Cast X Eyes of Old Age
Hear/Watch Eyes of Old Age sung by Koni and Roli Hear Eyes of Old Age sung by Koni and Roli

 

Alone now, Roli and Mandisa ponder Koni's words and profess their love for each other.

Cast Y What Will Survive Is Love Cast X What Will Survive Is Love
Hear/Watch What Will Survive Is Love
sung by Roli and Mandisa
Hear What Will Survive Is Love
sung by Roli and Mandisa

 

The animals, led by Thendo the Elephant, acclaim Tau as their new King.

Cast Y Hail Tau Hail Cast X Hail Tau Hail
Hear/Watch Hail, Tau, Hail sung by Thendo, Balosi, Tau, the Lionesses and the chorus, with solo by Steve LaMaster Hear Hail, Tau, Hail sung by Thendo, Balosi, Tau, the Lionesses and the chorus, with solo by Jonathan Gilbert

 

Tau promises to solve the drought, but also demands that the Animals build a "climate research center" under the watchful and sadistic eye of Balosi and the other Baboons. The royal chef, Antoine the Wild Dog, announces that he has prepared Tau's chief political rival, Ndanga, as tonight's dinner. All the Animals are stunned except Dikeledi, who desperately wants to interview Tau.

Cast Y I'll Be Watching You Cast X I'll Be Watching You
Hear/Watch I'll Be Watching You sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Thendo and the chorus Hear I'll Be Watching You sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Thendo and the chorus

 

As the Animals labor in agony to build what is, in fact, Tau's palace, the Animals reminisce of happier times before the Waterhole became a dustbowl.

Cast Y Dustbowl 1  
Hear/Watch The Waterhole's a Dustbowl 1 sung by Rachel Cooper, Hobo, Thendo, Heather Barney, Koni, Humbu and the chorus, with additional solos by Aster Vyrros, Polina Danielyan, Maya Moore and Poppy Needham  Hear The Waterhole's a Dustbowl 1 sung by Laura van Melle, Hobo, Thendo, Sara St. Antoine Koni, Humbu and the chorus, with additional solos by Katarina Dvornik and Ilan Balzac

 

The aged Koni is overcome by the heat, but is bullied back to his feet by Belosi's whip. Observing, Roli is unmoved by Koni's tribulation. The Baboons attempt to arrest Roli, but he escapes. Balosi approaches Dikeledi, offering her an interview with Tau if she agrees to write an article critical of Roli.

Cast Y No Rest  
Hear/Watch No Rest sung by Balosi, Koni, Mandisa, Roli and the chorus, with additional solos by Sam Rowe, Julianna Walsh and Rushika Fernandopulle Hear No Rest sung by Balosi, Koni, Mandisa, Roli and the chorus, with additional solos by Popi and Rhea Kokkinogenis and Tom Gould

 

The Animals resume their labor, and Koni collapses.

Cast Y Dustbowl 2  
Hear/Watch The Waterhole's a Dustbowl 2 sung by Balosi, Koni and the chorus, with additional solo by Eliza Weinberger Hear The Waterhole's a Dustbowl 2 sung by Balosi, Koni and the chorus

 

Two interior decorators, Jackie and Johnny Jackal, apply the finishing touches to Tau's palace.

Cast Y Lightbulb Moment Cast X Lightbulb Moment
Hear/Watch Lightbulb Moment sung by Johnny and Jackie Hear Lightbulb Moment  sung by Johnny and Jackie

 

Tau and the lionesses gloat over their new luxurious accommodations.

Cast Y Luxury  Cast X Luxury
Hear/Watch Luxury sung by Cast Y Tau and the Lionesses Hear Luxury sung by Cast X Tau and the Lionesses

 

Balosi introduces Dikeledi to Tau for her interview, which is cut short when Tau eats her. Antoine then enters with the main course, Koni under glass.

Cast Y What's for Dinner Cast X What's for Dinner?
Hear/Watch What's for Dinner? sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Balosi and Dikeledi Hear What's for Dinner? sung by Tau, the Lionesses, Balosi and Dikeledi

 

Starving and parched, the Animals have all but lost hope and call out for a savior.

Cast Y Iqhawe
Hear/Watch Iqhawe sung by the chorus with solos by Clio Bildman, Madeleine Dickman, Beatrice Jackson, Coco Lheritier, Maggie Needham, Fiona O'Loughlin, Caroline Williams Hear Iqhawe sung by the chorus with solos by Ben Adler, Elke Bentley, Kerri Brann, Nathan Brophy, Oriana McKanan, Ruth Rogers, Paloma Sequeira

 

Back at the baobab tree, Roli has a nightmare about losing a race to a tortoise, which Mandisa interprets a sign that Roli needs to come up with a way to rid the savannah of Tau.

Cast Y Roli's Dream Cast X Roli's Dream
Hear/Watch Roli's Dream 
sung by Roli, Mandisa and the chorus
Hear Roli's Dream 
sung by Roli, Mandisa and the chorus

 

Bello, Roli, Hobo and Thendo stop by and show Roli the morning newspaper, containing Dikeledi's scathing article. There's a bounty on Roli's head, and Tau has challenged Roli to make it rain.

Cast Y The News
Hear/Watch The News sung by Bello, Roli, Kipling, Mandisa, Hobo and Thendo with the Leverets Hear The News sung by Bello, Roli, Kipling, Mandisa, Hobo and Thendo with the Leverets

 

Roli agrees to confront Tau, claiming to know a dance that will make it rain.

Cast Y Rain Dance 1 Cast X Rain Dance 1
Hear/Watch Rain Dance 1 sung by Roli, the Leverets, Mandisa, Kipling, Hobo and Thendo Hear Rain Dance 1 sung by Roli, the Leverets, Mandisa, Kipling, Hobo and Thendo

 

Beneath a cloudy but rainless sky, the trial of Roli commences, with Balosi as prosecutor and Tau as judge. Roli demands to be judged by "the highest authority" on the savannah: Tau the Lion, who lives in the Waterhole, not the impostor on the bench before him.

Cast Y Renegade Hare Cast X Renegade Hare
Hear/Watch Renegade Hare sung by Bello and the Meerkats, Balosi, Roli, Tau and the chorus Hear Renegade Hare sung by Bello and the Meerkats, Balosi, Roli, Tau and the chorus

 

Enraged, Tau attacks Roli, but in the chase catches a glimpse of his reflection in the Waterhole. He lunges in, claws extended, and drowns. The Lionesses depart to collect on the life insurance.

Cast Y I Am Tau
Hear/Watch I Am Tau sung by Tau, Roli, Balosi, Kipling, Bello, the Lionesses and Mandisa Hear I Am Tau sung by Tau, Roli, Balosi, Kipling, Bello, the Lionesses and Mandisa

 

In celebration, the Animals do Roli's rain dance, and, miraculously, it begins to pour. The Animals proclaim Roli the new King, but Roli will have none of it and is gone before the bewildered Animals can turn around.

Cast Y Rain Dance 2 Cast X Rain Dance 2
Hear/Watch Rain Dance 2 sung by the Leverets, Roli, Mandisa, Humbu and the chorus, with additional solos by Susan Fendell and Lena Gorelik Hear Rain Dance 2 sung by the Leverets, Roli, Mandisa, Humbu and the chorus, with additional solos by Patricia Hawkins and Dara Manoach

     Watch the curtain calls, encore and credits