Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Tomorrow I'm embarking on a really exciting two week journey in New London, CT. I'll be a part of The O'Neill musical theatre conference there.

I'll be working on a new musical based on the popular novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock.

The book was published in 1967. It takes place in Australia, at an all girl’s boarding school. On St. Valentines Day, the girls travel for a picnic to a place called Hanging Rock. Although they have been warned not to climb up the dangerous rock, four of the schoolgirls do so. While one of the girls, Edith, returns in hysterics, unable to remember what happened, the other three seem to have vanished. Their teacher, who attended the picnic with them, disappears as well.

I will be playing the character of Michael, a young British man who is visiting Australia. Michael sees the girls at the picnic grounds and is later disturbed by their disappearances. He is particularly drawn to Miranda, the prettiest and most mysterious girl in the bunch.

The novel was turned into a film under the same title in 1975. It was Australia's first international hit. The movie is shot beautifully, unwinding into a slow moving yet haunting story. With both the novel and the film, people were drawn to the mystery of the disappearances (one that remains unanswered). The story is also written in a way that (although entirely fictional) suggests it may be true, sparking a fascination with the tale in the same way Blair Witch Project and similar stories did.

The music for this project is gorgeous. It captures the essence of the story perfectly. It's utterly beautiful, yet somewhat disturbing underneath. The composer, Daniel Zaitchik, may be very new to the scene, but don't judge him too quickly. I haven't heard music that has excited me this much in a while. It is a far cry from the bland pop-rock scores that get commercial backing in New York City (Key word being bland here. Clearly, I love a good pop/rock score.) The music is mostly sung in soprano voices. It reminds me of a cross between Ahrens & Flaherty and Adam Guettel.

But don't take my word for it. You can listen to it here:

My character sings in both "The Attic" and "Whisked Away."

I originally thought that my character was Australian. So, I ran out and bought Australian dialect tapes and had been working on it all week. I was horrible at it. It's a difficult accent, especially if you've been exposed to the British accent at length. It all gets very confusing.

It wasn't until I got the script this week and was sounding out the sentence, "Well, I've only been in Australia for a few weeks now." that I thought.... Oh...Shit...

It's probably better I'm sticking with a British accent...for everyone's sake.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited. I also get to be there while Jake Shears, of Scissor Sisters, mounts his new musical. I am a HUGE fan of his. I'm going to go nuts if I get the chance to meet him.

You can buy tickets to the event here


At 2:42 PM, Blogger emily emazing said...

I'm so glad you're doing something like this. The music is beautiful! Have fun in CT!

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous tessa said...

This show looks and sounds amazing. I wish that I could go see it so badly. The music is incredible, and I have only listened to it a few times and already the songs are stuck in my head. I love it. Let us know how the conference goes!

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - the music in this show is SO PRETTY. GOD. Sounds like it will turn into a fantastic show.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Liz said...

You might want to include the link for people to buy tickets, silly. It's here.

Have a great time with it, I hope it goes well! And your story about the accent made me laugh.

At 8:02 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

This sounds so exciting! Can't wait (assuming I get there; of course this thing happens to take place in NoPublicTransportationvillle, Connecticut)!

By the way, you might want to try making a Youtube video fanboying Jake Shears before you meet him. That way even if you completely forget how to talk, he'll still know who you are.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Diana said...

Argh, I love The Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the music sounds *beautiful* (and yes, the first word that I thought of was "enchanting"). Unfortunately, I have no idea how I would be able to get to the event - so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will come to New York someday. Congratulations on getting to work on this project!

I might just have to console myself by watching the movie again tonight. :)

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Matt Doyle said...

Hahahah thanks Liz. I'll fix that.

At 10:51 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

This makes me happy to live in CT. I'll definitely try for one of the July dates. You with a British accent...this is going to be interesting :)

At 11:00 PM, Anonymous John said...

Matt, I wish you the best of luck!!

I'm sure you'll be amazing, you always are.

The story sounds really interesting, I'm defiantly going to look further into this. I've been looking for a good new read. Thank you so much!

Have a great day, and goodluck!

At 4:53 AM, Anonymous Jaymee said...

The movie is amazing, and the music sounds lovely, so I have high hopes for the musical!

But hey -- I happen to be a big fan of shows with pop-rock scores! You made your Broadway debut in one of my favorites, in fact. Granted, Spring Awakening is hardly bland, but still. :P

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Matt Doyle said...

I'm definitely not referring to to pop/rock scores that I'm sure you're a fan of. ;)

Trust me...bare...spring awakening. I owe my career to great pop rock scores. Next to Normal was is incredible as well. And you've heard me go on and on about Hair.

I really do mean...the bland ones. Lol.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger blissbubbles said...

I instantly fell in love with the music. It makes me want to watch the show. If, by some miracle, i mysteriously appear in CT on those dates, i'll definitely watch. Haha. ;)

At 2:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've completely fallen in love with cockatoo/saint valentine
haunting :)
makes me wish i didn't live in the UK! x

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I must read the book. Good luck. It looks like a great show.

At 5:56 PM, Anonymous Jaymee said...

Aww, I didn't mean to put you on the defensive -- I was kidding! But you mentioned four of my favorites, so your coolness meter (though already quite high) is exploding off the charts now.

That being said, I really wish I could see Picnic at hanging Rock. The music is deliciously captivating and kind of creepy, and I'm sure it'll be a fantastic live experience. Not to mention that I'm kind of curious about the set, since most of the story takes place in the middle of the woods and on a giant rock. If the backdrop/props/set are half as gorgeous as the movie's scenery, I will be a happy camper.

Or actually, as I listen to "Whisked Away" for the twenty-eighth time? With music this gorgeous, they could pretty much push two chairs together and call it a tree. I'd love it anyway. ;)

At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Karlie C. said...

This looks and sounds amazing. Congrats. I've never heard of the book or the movie before but I'm definitely going to check both out. It sounds very interesting. Thanks :)

Break a leg in CT. I wish I could make it!

At 5:38 AM, Blogger chiroro said...

Oh man. I love that movie. That movie was, like you said, just stunning. I loved the way it was filmed and the score.

Congratulations! Looking forward to seeing this :)

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVED this movie when I first saw it, definitely not something that I would've thought to make into a musical.

Good luck with it, wish I wasn't in CA and could see it.

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Dylan said...

Everyone did such a great job on this and to think I started crying within the first 10 seconds of singing. If I could I'd buy the cd for this, everyones voices are just remarkable. And it was amazing getting to meet everyone after wards too! Although I only did get to personally talk to you and Laila Robins. I'd love to see it again. and I hope to see you in more to come.

At 2:29 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

You were fabulous in the show! The music is wonderful - haunting and intricate, I really enjoyed it. My friend and I saw it Saturday night. (Thanks for the pictures!) We're both in Urinetown right now and it was nice to take a break and hear music so refreshing. Hope you enjoy CT!

P.S. You have fantastic movie/music taste.

At 2:45 PM, Anonymous Tayler said...

Wow this music is stunning and haunting at the same time, I feel like this would be a really great show. Good luck and have a great time!!!

At 11:09 AM, Blogger ~Shannon~ said...

I'm so excited! I'm coming to see it tonight. Hopefully I'll get to say hi. Break a leg!

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say Hi to my friend Ryan Tymensky...he has an internship out there =)

At 8:41 PM, Blogger ~Shannon~ said...

Beautiful job last night and great talking to you after. Who know you'd be a fellow BI lover (no that's not a sexuality reference to anyone else reading)? If you're headed out again, let me know. If I'm visiting my aunt maybe we could meet up for a drink. :)

At 2:16 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

Have a great last show, Matt. I was actually going to go, but tickets were sold out. Bummer. I hope you had a great time in CT and I'm sure you did an excellent job! Unless I run into you before then, see you when Bye Bye Birdie starts up!

P.S. This is the same Shannon as the first Shannon that commented. Just thought I'd clarify because there were other Shannons commenting on this post. ;)

At 12:55 AM, Blogger Danny said...

Hey Matt! It was great to meet you at the O'Neill, and although I've said it already, 'Picnic' was amazing.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Hope you enjoyed the Corona!

Best of luck with 'Birdie' and here's hoping i get to see it!

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Bimbo Boy said...

Cool! We love almost the same movies! I can't get enough of classics.

From Sweden with love. :) <3

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