“Everything we don’t understand can be explained in art.” Amiri Baraka
What a delight to spend an evening with reg e. gaines — there’s always energy and wordplay in the air! The occasion? An exploration, from page to stage, of The 88, his heart-and-soulful musical play about love, family, hope and belonging. What an exciting glimpse of a work in progress! With lyrics by Tony-and-Grammy Award-nominated reg and music composed by his brother, Calvin Gaines, The 88 offers a warm, uplifting ride. A few highlights from reg’s creative journey:
Theme of The 88: “A grandmother’s love of musical theater leads her to show her grandchildren where they belong.”
On storytelling: “Story is more important than anything. Tell the story first. You can be derailed by the structure and the format and forget about the story.”
On collaborating: “Someone has to sit down at night with all those ideas that circulate among collaborators – there’s one person who’s going to sit down and put it all together. That collective theater energy — there is nothing in show business that matches that. It’s beyond filmmaking, beyond a sound slogan in TV – people working together. That human energy is so hands on.“
On creative problems: “Go to the problem, don’t let the problem come to you.”
On efficiency and imagery: “Try to make every word create more imagery in the viewer’s mind…. “I work in word pictures, in imagery. If I don’t see it, I don’t have a good idea. If the words I’m saying don’t put pictures in people’s heads, I’m not doing my job. Without imagery and efficiency, I don’t have anything.”
On ideas: “An idea can come from anything”…. “Don’t be so book — be more jazz, more improvisational. Go with your gut…. Osmosis is everything. Stay open. Get out of your own way, no matter what it is. Ego’s got to go. “
On writing: “Writing is rewriting. You have to have concentration and focus.”
What an wonderful way to spend an evening – catching a ride on a bus that’s Broadway Bound! Bravo reg and Calvin – write on!
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So sorry I missed this program–I meant to bring my whole family, but had eye surgery that week. However, I remind myself that a few months ago I attended a fund-raiser for the show and was able to see a workshop version of Act One (maybe more) and loved it. We’ll see it on Broadway some day.
So glad to hear that you’ve seen some of The 88 — I can’t wait for more!
We can never have too many stories about strong, beautiful women who
uplift everyone around them!