Student-written opera comes to Goucher

Brandon Meyers-Orr
Copy Editor

Gil Kline has worked tirelessly on his soon-to-be-performed work, which is entitled Dummy. Kline ‘14, a theory & composition major, will present the story of a young adult named Jane. As a result of her dysfunctional relationships and self-proclaimed deadbeat existence, Jane decides to end her life by crashing her car into a tree. After unsuccessfully attempting to take her own life, Jane falls into a coma, slipping deep into the recesses of her own mind, where she meets her childhood imaginary friend, a boy named Dummy.
Dummy was Jane’s outlet for her frustration with her parents, a pill-popping mother and a father whose post traumatic stress disorder caused him to lash out at his daughter, both of whom referred to Jane as “dummy.” ” Jane’s defective relationship with her parents and her inability to form connections with others has imbued her with an immense need for love and belongingness, which led her to create Dummy to supplant those deep desires. While inside Jane’s mind, Dummy acts as the deuteragonist, a representation of Jane’s desires to give in, to fall deeper down the rabbit hole.
“Dummy is trying to get her to go off and play and explore her imagination, but Jane wants to relive her memories and find peace in childhood, but she can’t,” Kline said. “She’s in a limbo of ‘where do I go?’”
Although Dummy continuously tries to entrance Jane deeper and deeper into a land of imagination and play, Jane realizes that she has to deal with real life. “Even though she’s had these terrible experiences … she has to try to go back and fix it, make connections with real people and not just those inside her head.”
The opera promises to portray genuine, sweet emotion, elements of comedy, and reveal relationships that continue to grow, even when out of sight and mind.
Kline hopes to do this through his expressive music and of course the opera’s actors, singers, and the librettist, to name a few. Professor James Sheehan wrote the libretto for the Opera. “He would take all the raw information and ideas and turn them into a nice story that flowed, had depth, was poetic,” Kline said. “He came up with many of the story ideas and he put in a lot of little details; [he] created unity.”
Kline’s advisor and senior project instructor, Associate Professor Kendall Kennison, also has had a hand in moving the production forward. “We’re going to have a pretty strong team putting on this piece,” Kennison said. “We are assembling a cast that will be primarily students, a labor of love on their part, because there is no recording, nothing to compare to, it is essentially breaking new ground.”
Goucher is great for many reasons, but one not to be overlooked is the immense effort the faculty and staff put in to give composers voice and venue to perform original works. “To say that I appreciate the work that Kendall has put in to this project, and the work I’ve done before, is an understatement,” Kline said.
The opera will be on March 6 and 7 in Merrick.
“Everyone in this project is going to work really hard to make this happen, nothing would make us happier to than have an audience to perform our art for.”



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