Freyda Thomas.com
 

ABOUT THE PLAY

The Creature Concert is a parable which first appeared in a vision to Freyda on the windshield of her car, while listening to Liszt’s 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody, driving up the 405 in L.A. She immediately pulled over and enlisted the help of Patrice Braun, a cohort and friend, and they developed a story about an enterprising group of endangered animals who get together and stage a benefit concert to help save themselves from extinction. When the book was finished it was immediately set to music by Gary Anderson and saw the light of day in 1991 with the Eugene Symphony, conducted by Marin Alsop and narrated by Ms. Thomas. The following June it had its New York debut at Lincoln Center in honor of United Nations World Environment Day. Ms. Alsop again conducted the work with her renowned orchestra, Concordia. It was narrated by Carole Shelley and David Ogden Stiers. Keith Lockhart conducted it with the Cincinnati Symphony in 1994. (see below). In 1996 it was again reincarnated as a stage musical and won the prestigious Dramafest Youth Award.

The stage musical is meant to be performed by a company of 8-12 actors who double in all the animal roles. Costumes are changed right on stage by adding headpieces and other fanciful garments. There are enormous puppet possibilities as well. A full script and demo tape of the songs are available upon request.


SCENE SAMPLE

THE CREATURE CONCERT

(A bare stage. As the lights come up we hear forest noises--music, birds, animal sounds, at first starting softly, then increasing in volume. The actors enter from various parts of the stage. In large cast productions some actors can enter from the house and perhaps sit in the audience. Each actor carries a limb of a tree which is in fact a coat rack, from which hang brightly colored costume parts. During the course of the play the actors will use these pieces to create the animals they play. Puppets are also a good idea, budget permitting. It is left to the individual group of actors and their director to divide the parts. All of the actors stand facing the audience and recite together.)

ENSEMBLE

"The Creature Concert. Scene one. Inspiration.


(The actors mill about the stage, talking and making noises. LA GAZELLE tries to calm them down.Finally, they do.)

 

ONE ACTOR

At the quarterly meeting, when all of the greeting
And talking and shouting was done,
The chairlady protem,-- La Gazelle -- cried--

LA GAZELLE

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Ahem!

Would you please take your seats, everyone!

(The other actors sit on the stage floor.LA GAZELLE speaks toward the audience, withmusic underscoring)

 

Thereís a problem severe to be handled, thatís clear,
And Iím speaking to all within hearing!
From the west to the east, every beautiful beast
In our kingdom is fast disappearing!

 

SONG: TOUGH STUFF

ALL

††††††††††† (Chorus- march tempo)

OH, IT'S TOUGH TO BE AN ANIMAL TODAY
THERE'S NO ROOM TO GROW OR MULTIPLY OR PLAY
EVERY WOOD AND JUNGLE CLEARING INCH BY INCH IS DISAPPEARING
AND WE'VE GOT TO TAKE SOME ACTION RIGHT AWAY!
OH IT'S TOUGH TO BE AN ANIMAL, IT'S TRUE
SO WE'RE HERE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT WE SHOULD DO
WE COULD PROTEST, BEG OR PLEAD, A CAMPAIGN IS WHAT WE NEED,
OH, IT'S TOUGH TO BE ANIMAL TODAY.

††††††††††† (Interlude- soft shoe tempo)

LA GAZELLE

HOW'S THE AFRICAN DOG?

AFRICAN DOG

DIMINISHING FAST.

LA GAZELLE

THE PYGMY HOG?

PYGMY HOG

WE'LL NEVER LAST!

LA GAZELLE

AND WHAT ABOUT THE MONKEYS FROM BRAZIL?

ALL

OVERKILL!

PYGMY HOG

HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE MANATEE?

MONKEY

THE MARMOT AND THE MANGABEY?

BOTH

THEY MIGHT AS WELL SIT DOWN AND WRITE A WILL!

LA GAZELLE

THOUGH I KNOW IT'S DOWNRIGHT SILLY
THERE ARE MARMOSETS IN
CHILE
WHO ARE LOSING ALL THEIR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS

ALL

IT'S A STICKY SITUATION FACING EVERY SINGLE NATION
AND WE'VE GOT TO STOP THESE DISAPPEARING TRENDS!
OH IT'S TOUGH TO BE AN ANIMAL THESE DAYS
THERE'S NO PLAIN TO ROAM NO PASTURELAND TO GRAZE
AND THE WATER THAT WE DRINK
IS FILLED WITH AWFUL THINGS THAT STINK
WE REALLY THINK WE'RE ON THE BRINK OF MASS EXTINCTION!
OH, IT'S HARD TO BE A BEAST ON PLANET EARTH
IT'S AN IFFY SITUATION RIGHT FROM BIRTH
BUT LET'S NOT GET TOO UPSET,
ĎCAUSE THEY HAVEN'T LICKED US YET
OH IT'S TOUGH, YES IT'S ROUGH,
IT'S TOUGH STUFF TO BE AN ANIMAL TODAY!

††††††††††† (After the song, SIDNEY STORK raises his wing)

LA GAZELLE

Sidney Stork from Iran?

SIDNEY STORK

We must go straight to man.
He's a pretty smart species, no doubt.

A TIGER

Yes, but man is the cause of our natural laws
Being broken!

LA GAZELLE

†††††††††††††† Thereís no need to shout!

NEAL (THE CARIBBEAN SEAL)

Let's not argue! I feel, though I'm only a seal,
That it's man who can turn it around
Sure, his headís full of fluff and his heart's kinda tough,
But he does have his feet on the ground.

LA GAZELLE

Mr. Round Island Skink?--

SKINK

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††Do you know what I think?

I think we need to think just like man.

SKINK (CONTíD.)

What would he do in case he was losing the race?
Just what kind of plan would he plan?

LA GAZELLE

††††††††††† (As all the actors begin squawking, squeaking andrunning about the stage)

So they all started growling......

††††††††††† (The actors growl)

††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† And chirping....

††††††††††† (They chirp)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††† And howling....

††††††††††† (They howl)

The roof seemed to lift from the house!

††††††††††† (The leaves shake and rise a bit)

 

Then a voice in the crowd, shouted--

PERCY

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† QUIET!

ALL

††††††††††† (holding their ears)

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Too loud!

LA GAZELLE

And the room got as still as a mouse.

††††††††††† (All actors freeze as PERCY swoops down stage)

PERCY

Iím Percival Powell, the Philippine owl
And Iíve got a brilliant idea!
If the flat headed cat, the kangaroo rat
The rail and the quail and the rhea,
Tuned up with the yak and the stump-tailed macaque,
The snail and the golden coqui,
With their instruments all in a big music hall,
Now that would be something to see!

JAPANESE CRANE

Ah, so very humane! 

PERCY

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††† Said the Japanese crane.

 

JAPANESE CRANE

An orchestra filled with distinction,
A benefit night to point out the plight...

 

ENSEMBLE

Of the species at risk of extinction!

(They mill about more quickly and excitedly, getting noisier and more agitated, higher highs and lower lows, as the lights fade to black)