Anatomy of Melancholy™: Do-It-Yourself, iPod Opera (2005)

WAIT WAIT WAIT!  A new production re-imagines and re-mixes this as MelanchoLalaland!

NEW!: ORIGINAL LIBRETTO, Links, and Resources— (Anatomy... ) • Interactive Overview of Opera (Flash-based, doesn’t work with iOS)  • DVD • Performance Materials: Soundtrack, Documentation, Vocal Parts

It’s the 21st century, and time to re-invent opera, but in a way that’s more fun, less scary’n’pretentious, and a little effed up. ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY™ is a DVD that gives you what you need to put on your own version of my superneat postmodern opera of the same name—a do-it-yourself kit where you and your friends wear iPods and sing along with what you hear (available as free download) while acting out in front of your widescreen TV! This is not just a DVD you pop into your player and kick back to watch. It collides karaoke, gaming, reality-show performance, live video jamming, and electronic music: you make it with whatever resources you have. It takes time, some study, and a willingness to experiment to put this on, and you really have to perform and produce it to see the full effect. Because this is sorta making opera open-source and wiki-fied. Are you up for this? Cool!

In ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY™, the performance and production is outsourced to you, the audience. We all act and sing for our own little internet videos all the time, right? And since we’ve all been emotionally and psychologically damaged, it shouldn’t be a big stretch for us to work through our own small issues by producing some truly disturbing avant-garde musical theatre in our own homes. ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY™ provides a framework for meaning and loss in the digital age—imagine that!

[NOTE: videos are in glorious circa 2002 SD quality! Yay, low fi!]

About the story: the original Anatomy of Melancholy was a huge mock-medical treatise written in 1632 by Robert Burton that explores the symptoms, characteristics, and treatment of melancholy. It’s often regarded as a great work of comic prose. My version of ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY™ tells the largely static and undramatic story of three aesthetic experience engineers—geeky artists with training in gene, nanotech, and brain chemistry engineering—and their varying triangulations of work, competition, love, and betrayal. It takes place in a thoroughly dystopic yet recognizable future landscape, where life is cheap and lived fast, under the unbearable scrutiny of big, inflexible political structures. Guerilla medical experiments, liquid porn, mandatory class war, courtesy executions, and amateur spiritualism intrude and annoy this brave trio. So, the opera could broadly be described as a comedy, even though all the main characters eventually, uhm, die.

What are you waiting for? Start rehearsing now! Post your scenes on the ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY™ blog and watch as the whole sad work gradually emerges!

Included free of charge: lacunae in the narrative fabric and ambiguity in the performance instructions!  This makes it art, right out of the box!

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