Peter Garland and James Koller: The Bone Show – Excerpt

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The composer Peter Garland says this about The Bone Show: “My aim is to create a music-poetry relationship in that grey area between word-for-word vocal settings and poetry with separate musical accompaniment; likewise, it is a work that is between ‘theater’ and ‘poetry reading.’ The music of the text and its narrative flow are more important than any overt dramatic characterization. To this end, the poet himself must participate in the music making. ”

The Bone Show springs from different sources than most contemporary American theater. Native American performance, Indonesian shadow puppetry, and the West coast music-theater tradition of Harry Partch and Lou Harrison are the main inspirations for the work. Based on the idea of a shamanic oracle, The Bone Show nonetheless uses these ancient traditions to create a totally modern theater experience.